Book Review: My Name is Jorge On Both Sides of the River

Poems in English and Spanish by Jane Medina.

A very nice book with poems (either side by side or one after the other) in English and Spanish.

Grade 3-7-A collection of 27 insightful poems that limn the migrant experience from the point of view of a grade school child from Mexico. Jorge doesn't want to be called George. He thinks the name sounds strange. "What an ugly sound!/Like a sneeze!" His struggles to fit in result in a friendship with a boy named Tim; a tentative coming to terms with American society; and some degree of sadness when, upon his grandmother's death, his family must cross the river again. The poems, and the accurate English translations, are well laid out on the page and neatly complemented by primitive-looking scratchboard illustrations. While not as sprightly as Francisco X. Alarc-n's Laughing Tomatoes/Jitomates Risue-os (Children's Book Press) or as deeply moving and celebratory as Alma Flor Ada's Gathering the Sun (Lothrop, both 1997), this book does carry significant emotional poignancy. An excellent choice to pair with Francisco Jim?nez's La Mariposa (Houghton, 1998), it depicts the sometimes painful experience of adjusting to a new language and a new culture.  (School Library Journal)

I really liked this book - one of the poems is called "The Busy Street"

I'm holding Mimi's hand very tight, again...

As tight was I held it when we crossed the river to come here...

I was so afraid...

Another book I would recommend, it tells of having to try to "make the grade" in a new school, with a new language, when you are used to being the "smart kid".

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