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The Tequila Worm Paperback – March 13, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Sofia, 14, lives in McAllen, TX. What she lacks in material possessions, she makes up for in personality and intelligence. When she is called a taco head by a student at her school, she decides to kick that girl by getting better grades and being a better soccer player than her tormentor. As a result of this determination, Sofia is offered a scholarship to the elite Saint Lukes school in Austin. Now she must convince her family and herself that she is up to the challenge. Canales includes vivid descriptions of life in a Mexican-American community. Her prose is engaging and easy to read, making this novel a good choice for reluctant readers. The momentum slows a bit after Sofias arrival in Austin in contrast to the portion of the book set in McAllen. Still, the story is a good addition to most collections.–Melissa Christy Buron, Epps Island Elementary, Houston, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. From an early age, Sofia has watched the comadres in her close-knit barrio community, in a small Texas town, and she dreams of becoming "someone who makes people into a family," as the comadres do. The secret, her young self observes, seems to lie in telling stories and "being brave enough to eat a whole tequila worm." In this warm, entertaining debut novel, Canales follows Sofia from early childhood through her teen years, when she receives a scholarship to attend an exclusive boarding school. Each chapter centers on the vivid particulars of Mexican American traditions--celebrating the Day of the Dead, preparing for a cousin's quinceanera. The explanations of cultural traditions never feel too purposeful; they are always rooted in immediate, authentic family emotions, and in Canales' exuberant storytelling, which, like a good anecdote shared between friends, finds both humor and absurdity in sharply observed, painful situations--from weathering slurs and other blatant harassment to learning what it means to leave her community for a privileged, predominately white school. Readers of all backgrounds will easily connect with Sofia as she grows up, becomes a comadre, and helps rebuild the powerful, affectionate community that raised her. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Tequila Worm begins with the colorful stories hidden in exuberant Dona Clara's traveling bag. As all the children from the colonia gather around to listen to the stories of donkey teeth and lockets of hair said to belong to each child's distant relatives. And so begins the story of native Sofia's journey into discovering herself, her culture, and what being a comadre is all about. The book depicts a lot of valuable life lessons that the little Sofia along with her cousin Berta and little sister Lucy learn along the way into Sofia's teenager-hood. All the while Sofia learns to "kick with her brain" in school. When Sofia is just 15, she is offered the opportunity to apply to a predominately white boarding school in Austin, Texas. The book depicts the struggle Sofia faces when you family discovers this news. And how family can lift you up but may sometimes hold you back.
The Tequila Worm is filled to the brim with characters you love, hate, and maybe even love-hate. Viola has details scattered across the pages of each and every character. From the head-strong Sofia to the loving and supportive Papa Viola has excellently executed giving life to all her characters with their actions, speech, and appearance.
This has been the first time a book has related so much to me. I caught myself reveling in the cultural significance reflected in the book. It brought me back to my childhood. Back to a time when cascarones were handmade ever Easter season. The tradition of saving up the eggshells to decorate and fill with the most colorful confetti and that one egg that held the super-secret special stuff that the other kids and cousins would cower away from.
The book deserves to be read in schools across the RGV. It provides the connection to books that so many students are not experiencing at the moment. It reminds us of all the traditions that our culture as border folk has developed for hundreds of years. This book is a must read for any and all Valley native. It's also an important book for other cultures to read to learn more about what it is like to live in a border city. The Tequila Worm has a well-deserved 10 out of 10 from this valley native.
The Tequila Worm is about a young Mexican American girl named, Sofia. She comes from a long line of storytellers and in this book you will read tales of her as she grows up in her Barrio (her neighborhood). She is starting off her life as a little child whose coming into the age of adulthood. Sofia is trying to find her way into becoming a comadre just like her mother and her grandmother’s did. Through out the story she has several challenges that she tries to overcome; some of them are getting bullied in school, getting a job, and moving away from home.
In the text Viola Canales does a beautiful job of bringing in her Mexican culture and sharing it with the world. When reading this book it feels as though you’re emerged into her life. She brings you into the world of Hispanic culture, cuisine, language and tradition all rolled into one in this wonderful book.
The reading The Tequila Worm connected me to an experience of my own, just Like Sophia who connects the bottle of tequila to when her father had her swallow the worm. I have a connection of my own, whenever I see pointy black heels. It takes me to a story that my mother once told me about my grandmother. When she went on a ride the zipper with my sister before I was born. Her heels poked out of the cage as you heard her scream to the stars. My mother was pregnant with me and laughed so hard that she peed herself. So every time those pointy black heels are seen those stories rush back into my head. I also connected with the language she used. In this text Canales uses her tex-mex language that pulled me in.
After reading The Tequila Worm I give this book Two Thumbs- up! I really enjoyed the way the author wrote the book. The author Viola Canales makes you feel as though you were in her home. Going through all the same problems that Sophia is going through. This book is also great for teachers to include in their lesson plans. It will introduce students to a different culture. This will also show them how there is racism in this world, and how the poor overcome problems. By giving the students a different perspective on the way of life. I believe that they will learn a life lesson by reading this book.