2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
SFC 5 star review,
This review is from: No English (Hardcover)
Blanca from Argentina joins Diane's second grade class. When she is spoken to, be it teacher Mrs. Bertram, or a fellow student, her response is always "No English". Blanca knows nothing in the English language, and of course, she is thrust into a class of all English-speaking children! Diane is at first very jealous that Blanca is allowed to sit there drawing pictures instead of working like the other students, so she raises her hand and complains to the teacher. All the kids start staring at Blanca and she's feeling bad. The teacher that's helping Blanca learn English walks in and takes Blanca with her for her lesson. Diane is ashamed of herself when she sees how afraid Blanca looks as she encounters the hostile stares of her classmates.
Mrs. Bertram opens a discussion about being from a foreign country and not knowing the language in your new home. She encourages the children to think of ways to help Blanca adjust. The class decides to learn more about Blanca's country, Argentina. There are many differences that the class feels are "weird", but Mrs. Bertram points out they're not weird, just "different".
Diane is determined to befriend Blanca and somehow bridge the language barrier. Finally, Diane comes up with a terrific idea and puts her plan into action. Find out her solution by reading this fantastic story!
Jacqueline Jules wrote this book with a depth of feeling often missing from books for children on a difficult subject. Jacqueline is the child of an immigrant herself, so I'm sure her parents were a good role model for her to know how to approach this modern-day situation our immigrant children face every day in our schools. Also, as a school librarian, Jacqueline faces the language barrier and cultural differences her students encounter every day since a large population of the students in her elementary school speak English as a Second Language. This book is a way to reach out to them all, and to teach American-born children to have empathy and more understanding for children not born in America that are struggling to overcome the difficulties of adjusting to life here. Accompanied by the outstanding, lifelike illustrations of Amy Huntington, this quiet book is a keeper for any parent who wants their child to grow up appreciating the differences among the people that populate this world. A downloadable Teacher's Guide is available at the Mitten Press website.