Love, Amalia by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta. This story is about loss, hope, finding meaning and purpose, traditions, family values and traditions. It's about sharing and holding on to the things that matter. The story starts with Amalia's best friend Martha moving away. Amalia feels sad, angry, overwhelmed and lost. The girls have been friends since preschool. She doesn't know what life at school is without Martha. Amalia, not knowing how to deal with this change, tells her grandma, her abuelita all about it. In abuelita's kitchen is where Amalia finds herself, confesses and realizes what to do next. Abuelita fills her kitchen with amazing meals, and shares with Amalia her love for cooking and baking. Amalia's afternoons are filled with abuelita's wisdom, coconut flan, family's stories, cards, writing and secrets.
But one day the unexpected happens and Abuelita is gone leaving a big hole in Amalia's heart. How is Amalia going to cope with these last changes? Who is she going to talk to? How is she going to keep her abuelita's memory ALIVE? Questions are all there are in Amalia's head and heart. Amidst her sorrows, she finds the answers.....in cards, in love letters....in writing.
A wonderful story filled with love, recipes, and love cards, and loud family members....a wonderful portrait of a Latino family who comes together to find meaning in life in the most unexpected moments.
I appreciate the sense of purpose that these love letters give Amalia highlighting the importance of keeping words alive, saying what you feel, and leaving your mark for posterity....in words. A celebration of writing is part of this sweet chapter book geared for children ages 8-12. And may I just say how excited I was to see that this book is avaliable in Spanish as well? Oh viva el Español! As we are ready to embark another school year, I always try to remember what Lucy Calkins said at one of her Reading and Writing Institute, "All children in our classroom should see themselves in your read alouds in the first month of school." I think I found a great one to share this year!
Alma Flor Ada the 2012 recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award and author of numerous books including a special beloved one: My Name is Maria Isabel. I'm looking forward to bringing Alma Flor Ada to my writing workshop time this year, and standing on her shoulder to reach young writers and readers.
Happy Reading and Enjoy the Journey!