A Special Gift from Viola Canales!

Viola Canales, author of our featured book for the month of November, has graciously sent us a signed copy of her novel, The Tequila Worm, for our book giveaway this month!  The hard cover edition includes a dedication in the front cover:The Tequila Worm Signed

“For the reader participating in the Vamos a Leer November 2014 program-the month of The Tequila Worm-I dedicate this book to you with my affection AND the hope that you (like Sofía in the book) seek your dreams, with books as your friends and guides. Con cariño, Viola Canales.” Continue reading

¡Mira, Look! Featured Author: Viola Canales

Viola CanalesViola Canales is the author of the award-winning  The Tequila Worm, a young adult novel published in 2007 by Random House. The novel has received considerable acclaim for its positive portrayal of Mexican-American culture, including being designated a Notable Book by the American Library Association, winning the Pura Belpré Medal for Narrative, and receiving the PEN Center USA Award. In 2012, the Spanish language version, El Gusano de Tequila, was released by KingCake Press. Continue reading

Book Review: The Tequila Worm

Tequila Worm - low bright-high contrastThe Tequila Worm
Written by Viola Canales
Published by Wendy Lamb Books, 2005
ISBN: 9780375840890
Age Level: 12 and up


Sofia comes from a family of storytellers. Here are her tales of growing up in the barrio, full of the magic and mystery of family traditions: making Easter cascarones, celebrating el Día de los Muertos, preparing for quinceañera, rejoicing in the Christmas nacimiento, and curing homesickness by eating the tequila worm. When Sofia is singled out to receive a scholarship to an elite boarding school, she longs to explore life beyond the barrio, even though it means leaving her family to navigate a strange world of rich, privileged kids. It’s a different mundo, but one where Sofia’s traditions take on new meaning and illuminate her path.

My Thoughts:

I needed this book. It was a pleasant break from the heaviness of the last two books we’ve featured, which isn’t to say that it’s insignificant or unimportant in any way.  It’s certainly not a ‘fluff’ book. It’s incredibly moving and meaningful, yet there’s still an air of lightness to it.  It’s infused with humor, even as you read some of the more serious sections.  This is the kind of book that you find yourself smiling through, or maybe even laughing out loud. Continue reading