Monday, May 25, 2020

Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros - ESSENTIAL

Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros, 272 pages. Harper Collins, 2020. $17. 

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


Efren Nava is in 7th grade. He is a great kid; always completes his homework, never in any trouble, he's working on his best friend David's campaign to be president of the student organization. But, he has a big secret - his parents are undocumented. His Ama is amazing - always makes sure he looks his best, and she is the best cook ever.  The worst thing happens - when Ama goes to apply for a better job, she is caught in a raid by ICE and Ama gets deported.  Now Efren is taking care of his twin siblings - kindergartners who are a handful, worrying about Ama, and helping at home as Apa is now working a day job and a night job to try to get enough money to try to get Ama over the border and back home. This takes a toll on Efren - worry keeps him from sleeping, his homework is suffering and he's desperate to help where he can - but is keeping the house clean and caring for his brother and sister enough? They need their mother!

Author Ernesto Cisneros has based his characters on his own life, his students and others. Perhaps this is why it feels so real - so authentic.  My heart aches for my students who may be in similar circumstances and must keep it a secret, or who feel helpless. An engaging read with lots of Spanish - there's a glossary included at the end, but the context is so well constructed that I didn't use it much at all. A must-have for your middle school library.

Lisa Librarian

No comments: