- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press; 7.2.2013 edition (July 30, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0545489458
- ISBN-13: 978-0545489454
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 86 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gaby, Lost and Found Hardcover – July 30, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–When Gaby Ramirez Howard's mother is deported back to Honduras, the sixth-grader's life is anything but stable. Her father often forgets to purchase food, but worse, neglects his daughter emotionally. She is an outcast at St. Ann's where classmates tease her about her family life. With everything falling apart, the protagonist finds strength and self-confidence in the class service project at their local animal shelter. She showcases her writing skills, creating individual profiles for each animal. Although her life parallels many of the abandoned pets, Gaby takes on the role of protector and defender. Her profiles and hard work help many animals find a new home and a true family, something that Gaby is lacking. The plot and tone are spiced with Spanish words along with tidbits of Honduran culture. The author humanizes the controversial issue of illegal immigration and paints an emotionally compelling story. The short chapters and simple plot will keep readers engaged. Kids will be initially attracted by the animal-shelter theme but ultimately maintain interest due to Gaby's absorbing story. The novel provides a glimpse into the lives of young people growing up in modern society, and is a welcome addition to middle-school collections.–Mary-Brook J. Townsend, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City, UTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gaby’s mom, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, was swiftly deported after her factory was raided. Now Gaby clings to the notion that her mother is on the way home to her again. Meanwhile, she tries to navigate life with her newly custodial dad, who had left the family years before, and face down a couple of classmates who taunt her over the deportation. On a happier note, Gaby enjoys the support of many others from the school community, and she derives immense satisfaction from her class-service project with the local animal shelter. She identifies with the pets’ abandonment issues and writes them up in individual profiles guaranteed to melt hearts and pull readers in. Cervantes tackles immigration issues bluntly in this affecting novel. Youngsters will feel Gaby’s despair as she ponders her mother’s options and the possibility of their future together. No sugarcoated or quick-fix endings exist in this politically sensitive coming-of-age story, a thought-provoking look at the human face of immigration policy. Grades 4-7. --Anne OMalley
Top customer reviews
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Recently, we hosted author Angela Cervantes, via Skype, at our elementary school. Our 4th grade students read her book, Gaby, Lost and Found, ahead of time to prepare for this virtual visit. Our experience was beyond expectation. Ms. Cervantes is throughly professional and extremely personable. Her love of the writing process and sharing that process with students was evident from start to finish. Ms. Cervantes started with a slide show about her life and work, and spoke about how personal experiences influence her writing. She made the presentation interactive by asking students to read passages aloud from her book and encouraged questions from the audience. Ms. Cervantes answered each student question thoughtfully and although our Skype session was supposed to last 30 minutes, she ensured every student with a question had a chance to ask it, bringing our session closer to 40 minutes. If you are looking for a way to incorporate a virtual author visit into your school's reading program, Angela Cervantes is a terrific choice.
Gaby describes her interactions with her best friend Alma, plus a pair of rambunctious neighborhood boys, and even peers who bully Gaby due to her mom's undocumented status. Along the way, Gaby learns good intentions aren't always carried out correctly, and while she maintains long-distance communication with her mom, her expectations are given a dose of reality. The novel's English text includes bits of Spanish, reflective of Gaby's community which apparently is predominantly Latino, and of Gaby's mom who introduced her to foods and songs from her home country.
Since her mother has been deported to Honduras, Gaby must live with her father, who is ill-equipped to raise a sixth-grade girl. Gaby would much rather live with her best friend Alma and her family. Better yet would be if her mom were able to come back home, but this trip is expensive and dangerous.
Cervantes parallels Gabyâ€™s situation with the sixth-grade class community project at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter. Both the animals and Gaby have less than ideal living arrangements are in need of new permanent homes. During the community service project, Gaby has the special job of writing descriptions of the animals on fliers that will be displayed around town and on the shelterâ€™s website.
Eventually, Gaby writes a flier for herself. In part it reads:
Gaby Ramirez Howard: â€¦Three months ago, my mom was deported, and now I live with my father, who looks at me like Iâ€™m just another job he wants to quit. Iâ€™m seeking a home where I can invite my best friend over and have a warm breakfast a couple times a week. Waffles and scrambled eggs are my favorite!
GAH! My heart, Angela Cervantes!!
In between the chapters that caused me to clutch my heart and give my daughter random hugs, I literally laughed out loud. Scenes with the four friendsâ€“Gaby, Alma, Enrique, and Marcosâ€“are hysterical. In one, Alma, who is trying to train a spirited shelter dog named Spike, tests the commands on the boys. â€œBack! Down! Sit and stay!â€ In another scene, three firefighters arrive at the shelter to adopt a dog for the firehouse. Alma says to the other girls, â€œLetâ€™s go see whatâ€™s smoking,â€ and then the girls nickname each of the cute firefighters: Hottie, Smokey, and Sizzler. Very funny.
If you are a middle school teacher, librarian, or parent, you should have a copy of this book on your shelf.
The writer had the right balance of action and introspection with an original but believable voice, especially with the young teenage boys. I enjoyed reading the story, which is a quick read, and becoming immersed in the novel. This is a book I'd give to my nieces or nephews, or any child or teen who has suffered loss.