Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco is the story of Jacinta, a 12 year-old Mexican-American girl finding herself immersed in a cross-cultural and social status conundrum. In a funny, yet sad twist of fate the lives of a White reporter Kathryn Dawson Dahl and Jacinta’s are intertwined.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!
“Miss, will you be my Amiga?”
Amiga means “friend” in Spanish, but at the youth center, it meant a lady to take you places.
I never asked myself if two people as different as Miss and me could ever really be amigas.
The White reporter (referred to in the novel as Miss) unexpectedly becomes a mentor for Jacinta. This is where the doors of another world, unbeknownst to Jacinta make way through her life. She’s caught in the middle of emotions, and longing of her own life in the barrio; and the excitement and newness of opportunities to come.
The novelist Judith Robbin Rose does a wonderful job of portraying Jacinta in a way that she can connect with either children in her same situation, or even with children who have never experienced these types of challenges.
I highly recommend this book.
The novel will spark many questions in middle-grade readers, and will provide for a great topic of conversation in today’s news on undocumented immigrants and their American-born children, whom often find themselves in situations just like Jacinta’s.
Thanks so much for sharing your great book recommendation at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I wish this book was written by a Mexican American or a Mexican national rather than a white author to give Jacinta’s point of view more authenticity.