In this age, it is not uncommon for people to constantly migrate. Whether it be from town to town, city to city, state to state, or country to country, it is a fact that many people are migrants. Thus, we want to kick off our immigration theme with a book for middle grade (grades 3-7) readers that discusses how migration, even if it is just one’s family or friends that leave, can impact one’s identity. This week, we will be discussing Alma Flor Ada’s Love, Amalia (or Con cariño, Amalia).
In this book, Amalia is a young girl who lives in Chicago. One day, she learns that her best friend, Martha, will be moving to California with her family. Amalia, who is already close to her grandmother, develops a closer relationship with her Abuelita. She learns a considerable amount about her family and Mexican heritage from her. Most importantly, she is Amalia’s biggest source of comfort. When Amalia loses Abuelita, she is sad. However, she begins to realize that she was lucky to have been able to know her grandmother as well as she did.
While this book describes how Amalia adjusts to losing her friend and what happens in the wake of a tragedy, this is a good way to open dialogue with many of our students. Many of us have migrated here, and in that process, we have left behind family, friends, and sometimes, our own sense of identity. This provides a good chance to discuss what it means for people to move away. While people are sad that they must relocate, those left behind are often just as upset that their loved ones have gone.
Furthermore, this book emphasizes the significance of one’s heritage. We always maintain our heritage and cultural roots even once we have moved. Most often, our elders (specifically our grandparents) are the ones who tend to impart this type of wisdom upon us. Ada’s use of Abuelita showcases the dynamic of an elder disseminating culture to a member of the younger generation. Most importantly, Ada promotes the idea of these generational ties to culture and how we can adapt our notions of heritage regardless of our current location. As an added bonus, this book is available in both English and Spanish. Also, there are discussion questions provided in the book to follow along with each section.
I hope you will take the time to check out this book. Next week, we will continue with our immigration theme. This is such an interesting theme because there is so much literature that concerns how immigration impacts young people. I look forward to discussing this theme over the coming weeks!
Until Next Time,