From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-In a rather lengthy text, the story of Xochitl Flores, whose name means "flower" in Nahuatl, unfolds. Transplanted from her native El Salvador to San Francisco, the girl and her parents struggle to make the transition from one culture to another and from a rural to an urban environment. Remembering their previous home and their flower business inspires the child's mother to begin selling flowers in the city. Xochitl helps, loving the joy they bring to others even when her feet are tired. Then her father finds an apartment with a garden and the family builds a nursery. The bulk of the story is concerned with its fate at the hands of an unfeeling landlord and the community support that helps the Floreses keep it. Based on a true story, Xochitl's tale is well written in both languages, with the English text on the verso facing the Spanish text on the recto. Angel's acrylic, colored-pencil, and photo-collage artwork is vibrant and energetic, fleshed out by the bright colors and individual faces. Pair this story with Mary Hoffman's The Color of Home (Penguin Putnam, 2002) for tales of how immigrants adjust to new surroundings.
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K-Gr. 3. Xochitl misses El Salvador, especially her family's flower business. She and her mother start selling flowers in the U.S., but Xochitl doesn't feel that she really belongs until her new community comes to the rescue to save the family livelihood. Basing his bilingual picture book on a true story, Argueta (A Movie in My Pillow
, 2001) infuses his work with Salvadoran culture, writing of life in poetic language: days move like turtles, smiles bloom like flowers, and snails, like immigrants, carry their homes upon their backs. The Spanish text, likely the original, is particularly expressive. Although the story's conflict is far too easily resolved, the message about community is strong, and this is one of only a few books that deal with the Central American immigrant experience. Angel's rather flat depictions of the characters weaken the story; but his background images, including photo collages that often recap Xochitl's memories of El Salvador, are striking and very colorful. Julie KlineCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved