81. The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
Retell: Sophia is an intelligent, hardworking girl from McAllen, Texas. When she receives a scholarship for a boarding school 400 miles, she must learn to live in two different worlds. She longs to explore and be accepted by the people at St. Lukes, but she also wishes to be a good comadre and participate in her family’s traditions.
Topics: overcrowding, barrios, family, traditions, Mexican-Americans, friendship, ambition, choices, siblings, Day of the Dead, boarding school, scholarships
Units of Study: Social Issues, Character, Talking and Writing About Texts, Realistic Fiction
Tribes: appreciations/no put-downs
Habits of Mind: thinking flexibly, thinking interdependently
Reading Skills: inference, synthesis, interpretation, envisionment
Writing Skills: bringing out the heart of a story
Thoughts: Though I believe this book is probably most appropriate for middle school students, I wouldn’t hesitate reading sections of this book to my fourth graders. There are great examples of how writers collect stories from their lives and how people become the change they want see in the world. I love Canales’ description of the various rituals and traditions of Sofia’s family. The relationship between Sofia and Berta is interesting. They made very different choices. Sofia chose to move far away and attend college. Berta married young, stayed in her hometown and had two children. Readers could have an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of both characters’ choices.
Entry filed under: Chapter books, Female Authors, Latino Authors, Pura Belpre Award Winners. Tags: ambition, appreciations/no put-downs, barrios, boarding school, character, choices, Day of the Dead, developing the heart of a story, envisionment, family, friendship, inference, interpretation, Mexican-Americans, overcrowding, realistic fiction, scholarships, siblings, social issues, synthesis, talking and writing about texts, thinking flexibly, thinking interdependently, traditions.