Dancing Home

Ada, Alma Flor

Publication date: 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Book, New York




This is a fiction book about Margie and Lupe are two cousins living in different countries. Both have Mexican parents but Margie being born in the United States is proud to be American and always tries to fit at school. When Lupe leaves Mexico and comes to live with Margie’s family things change. Lupe only speaks Spanish and when she enters school in Margie’s classroom starts to draw the attention she has always tried to avoid. Margie is asked by her teacher to move back in the classroom, and be sitting beside Lupe translating for her what she says. Two boys in the classroom started to be mean on her when they realized that Lupe does not speak English and Margie could not translated to Spanish to her. At home, Margie feels jealous, as her parents seem to enjoy conversing with Lupe. When Camille invited Margie and Lupe to visit her home they meet Camille’s father, an American who speaks Spanish. She realizes that people should not be judged by its appearance or nationality. Margie comes to love Lupe as a sister and with her help to appreciate the Mexican part of their shared Hispanic heritage. Margie even realizes the beauty of her name in Spanish, Margarita, which is the name of her mother’s favorite flower, the daisy.


This book was given a 5.7 grade in the Flesch-Kincaid Grade analysis. I think this is accurate and 5th grades will be able to read and understand the story. The book has twenty-one chapters and being not to long can be assigned as a weekend reading. It has an interesting narrative that easily captures the students’ attention to make them keep reading until the end.

The book contains Spanish phrases and symbols followed by its English translation. This will reinforce my Spanish classes as the students will practice what I teach them in class, like being able to distinguish between the way English and Spanish questions are structured.

Use in Class

This book will be very useful for my Hispanic students to promote the acceptance of the student’s own language and traditions. I will use this book for those students who have been forgetting their mother tongue. I will ask them to read this book and to write an essay about the moment in which they stopped speaking Spanish at home, sharing their feelings when they are in Hispanic celebrations in which everybody speaks Spanish. Asking them if they feel connected with their family.

I know many students that speak in English to their parents and the parents speak back in Spanish to them. I think that this book will motivate my students to speak again in Spanish to their parents and to make them feel proud of being bilinguals. I think this story will help them to develop an appreciation for their own culture and background.

I will incorporate this book on the third week of November because I plan to make a performance of our Lady of Guadalupe. First, the students will learn the tradition of the folk dances by reading the book independently as the readability of the book is 5.7. Then, they will learn a practice a folk dance themselves and will perform during the celebration.

Unit Focus

Language Arts

Submitted by Yenni Leon

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