Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya - ADVISABLE

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya 249 pages. Viking Books for Young readers 2018 $17

Language: G (0 swears, 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.



Marcus Vega is the biggest kid at school, but he isn't a bully - in fact, he uses his size to start a business protecting the other students from the bully, Stephen, by walking them home (for $10 a week). He also enforces the school rules, charging kids a "tax" when he see them violating the trash rule or the cell phone rule. He's helping out - his dad left the family for Puerto Rico years ago, and mom is struggling to make ends meet. He's a nice guy, but when Stephen calls Marcus' brother Charlie, who has Downs Syndrome, the "R" word, Marcus loses his temper and punches Stephen, getting himself suspended. Since mom works for the airlines, and the suspension coincides with spring break, she packs up the two boys and takes them to Puerto Rico to visit with family, and possibly find their elusive father.

Cartaya weaves in a lot of Spanish, but it's all in context and translated by the characters when necessary, so it feels natural and it's ok that I don't understand everything, neither did Marcus. The look at beautiful Puerto Rico, it's culture and people was marvelous! I really like the sense of family being more than just your parents and siblings - Marcus found so many welcoming relatives, even distant ones. A great read for kids whose culture may be different from their parents, and I know my Spanish speakers with love it!

Lisa Librarian

No comments: