There is much Juana is going to miss as she moves from Mexico to New York, but nothing more than her abuelo. Through letters to her grandfather, Juana details her flight, new apartment, and her first days of school where everyone speaks a language she barely understands. When Juana makes her first friend, though, things begin to change.
Moving to a different city is difficult, but moving to a new country is even harder, especially when you do not know the language. Juana is an elementary school–aged girl who relocates from Mexico to New York City where she experiences snow, the huge park near her apartment, and her new school. Even though the children around her appear happy, she is concerned about her English language skills and her name, which her teacher cannot pronounce properly. Dominguez offers a picture book based on her own experience when she moved to New York at age 10. This fictional narrative chronicles Juana’s adjustment to her new life using epistolary form, which connects both the main character to her grandfather in Mexico, and readers to Juana. The soft illustrations provide a fresh and inviting ambiance with smiling children and adult characters who interact, and pictorial elements that support the text. This book could be used in a storytime activity supporting social studies units on diversity and immigration. VERDICT A thoughtful and age-appropriate look at a timely and much-debated subject.
Simi Valley Public Library, CA