Miguel and his younger sister Juanita live in Vermont with their mother and tia Lola. Lola moved from the Dominican Republic to help look after the kids after the divorce. Miguel and Juanita both go to Bridgeport elementary. Miguel is in the fifth grade. Juanita in third.
Lola's English isn't every good but the family convinces her to volunteer at the school, teaching Spanish. I really enjoyed this story, it was such a pleasure to read. All the characters voices are very realistic. I loved feeling connected to whole Guzman family through the short chapters.
Only 132 pages and it's a very well layered story. Besides tia Lola, getting the confidence to teach, Miguel's getting used to his father's new girlfriend, Juanita is discovering the joy of reading. There is much more to this story, including a little unexpected magic of imagination, which I loved.
"Juanita's head is in the clouds. She sits in her third grade classroom, riding a unicorn from medieval times. She tries to add all the numbers on the board and ends up going down a sixty foot rabbit hole. She gets up to anwer a quesiton and is suddenly airborne on a magic carpet, headed for the sultan's court. But wait someone is calling her name."
The chapters alternate between brother and sister. Tia Lola loves Dichos - Spanish sayings. All the chapter's are dichos, written in Spanish and English. Alvarez easily blends in the dichos and the lessons learned by Miguel and Juanita into the story.
This is the second book in the Tia Lola series. I haven't read the first one, "How Tia Lola came to (visit) stay", but I didn't miss a beat. This one works very well on its own. Though I enjoyed it so much I now want to read the first one. Ages 8 up
Check out this great guest post by Alvarez @ Amoxcalli and do leave a comment to enter the book giveaway Three people will win a copy of How Tia Lola Learned to Teach.