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Love, Amalia Hardcover – July 10, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-Amalia is upset when her best friend announces that she is moving from Chicago to California. When Martha leaves, Amalia turns to her grandmother for comfort. It is in her kitchen and at her table that the child learns not only about her family and her Mexican heritage, but also about herself. As Abuelita shares her Christmas-card ritual with her granddaughter, Amalia is given glimpses of her aunts and uncles and her mother, and notices the care that Abuelita takes in her communication and responses with everyone. It's quite the the opposite of how Amalia treated Martha at the time of her move. When her grandmother dies suddenly, the child feels lost. Her extended family, whom she has heard so much about, is suddenly around, but instead of making her feel better, she feels worse. Through flashbacks, readers see just how close Amalia was to Abuelita and how much she relied on her for comfort and advice. Over time, with the help of the cherished Christmas-card box, she begins to heal, and by recalling Abuelita's words and deeds, she begins to reach out to her family members, and to Martha as well. This story utilizes a special intergenerational relationship to introduce Mexican culture and traditions within the themes of changing family and friendships. Spanish words and phrases are woven into the text. While it does not break new ground, this quiet story may provide a different perspective on the loss of a loved one.-Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

“Ada and Zubizarreta (Dancing Home, 2011) reunite to focus on a young Latina girl coping with loss…. The authors tackle issues of love, loss and familial ties with a sympathetic, light hand and blend Spanish words and Latino music and recipes into Amalia’s tale. A charming story, especially for children facing the loss of grandparents.”

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2012

“With sensitively drawn characters and a low-key story moving between present and past, the authors construct a portrait of a multigenerational immigrant family. The Latino culture of the family is reflected in the cooking the two do together, the memories Abuelita passes on, and all the letters she has kept from distant loved ones.”

Horn Book Magazine, July/August 2012

“Ada and Zubizaretta’s (Dancing Home)…collaboration focuses on the deep bond between Mexican-American sixth-grader Amalia and her grandmother…. The authors successfully depict family love and closeness across generations and distances…. In the final chapters…the book…takes on an authentic emotional poignancy, bringing a closing richness to this story of a girl’s first experience of loss.”

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2012

“Amalia is upset when her best friend announces that she is moving from Chicago to California. When Martha leaves, Amalia turns to her grandmother for comfort. It is in her kitchen and at her table that the child learns not only about her family and her Mexican heritage, but also about herself…. This story utilizes a special intergenerational relationship to introduce Mexican culture and traditions within the themes of changing family and friendships. Spanish words and phrases are woven into the text…this quiet story may provide a different perspective on the loss of a loved one.”

School Library Journal, August 2012

“Latina sixth-grader Amalia is so upset by her best friend Martha’s move from their Chicago neighborhood to California that she can’t even say good-bye. When her beloved abuelita passes away suddenly a few days later, she doesn’t even have the chance to say good-bye….Sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, this quiet story charmingly emphasizes the importance of both friendship and intergenerational relationships. It concludes with simple recipes for making some of Abuelita’s favorite desserts.”

Booklist, August 1, 2012

“A touching portrayal of love and loss…. The emotions ring true, with Amalia’s raw pain of loss and resentment respectfully and vividly depicted.” (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 2012)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442424028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442424029
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,085,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Amalia had been going to her grandmothers every Friday since she was very small. Her friend Martha had been going with her since they were in the fourth grade. But now Martha is moving away to California. Her father has a new job and she won't be able to spend time with Amalia any longer. Amalia is sad and hurt by this abrupt news. What will happen to her when Martha leaves?

Amalia remembers the fun that she had with Martha. They would hang out at the park together. They rode bikes on the weekends, visited the library, played soccer and fun word games. Together they shared a lot of interests and learned from each other. Amalia is now left with a feeling of abandonment and anger. Her Grandmother explained to her the value of friendship. She told her the story of how she would write cards and letters to family and friends and the ones she received she would keep. She advised Amalia to consider keeping in touch with Martha by sending her letters.

Grandmother shares a family history and traditions which were woven throughout her lifetime and provided a loving warmth and inspired in Amalia a longing to learn more. But, Amalia experiences more pain, her grandmother passes and she is devastated. Amalia was left a box filled with letters that her grandmother had kept over the years. She learned so much about her family. Now she must decide if whether or not she will follow in her grandmothers footsteps and connect again with Martha.

Alma Flor Ada has created another tremendous story of family and tradition. The Hispanic culture is full of glorious traditions and tasty foods. Young girls will come to love Amalia. A quick fun read, this story and its colorful journey will have young readers wanting to connect with their own families.
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Format: Hardcover
Love, Amalia is well-written and young readers will be able to identify with Amalia's problems, including her best friend moving away and getting into trouble in school. And it's a good way for young readers to learn more about the Latino Culture.

But, most important in my opinion, this book is a wonderful resource for kids dealing with grief, or who know someone who is.
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Format: Hardcover
Love, Amalia is a very thoughtful account of a child that was hurting due to the loss of her beloved grandmother and her best friend that moved away. The synopsis of the book is as described by the other reviewers, so I will not repeat that.
I really liked the way the author included the culture of the Latinos throughout the book and uplifted it. It made me want to enter the house of "Amalita" and smell the cake that her grandmother baked, and hear the soft music. I think that this book will speak to the heart of a school age child that is hurting from the loss of someone dear.
The only thing that I wondered about was the use of Spanish phrases that were sprinkled throughout the book, considering some people reading it might not understand them. I understood them because I speak Spanish, but I don't know how others might feel, particularly children that do not understand Spanish. I think that in most parts of the book, the author mostly rewrote in English (within that sentence) what the translation of the phrase was, but I am not sure that she did it every time. I know that this is a common practice in literature to be read by adults, but I personally have not seen it used in literature to be used by children that are still learning to read. It would probably be enjoyed by bilingual children, but I don't know about children that speak English only.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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