- Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina
ISBN 978-0-7636-6900-3 $15.99 R 5-8 yrs
“I still feel shy when I meet this far-away grandmother,” says Mia, whose abuela has left her home behind to join Mia’s household. Struggling with a language barrier—initially Mia speaks no Spanish and Abuela no English—the two slowly get to know each other as Abuela cares for Mia after school. When Mia spots a parrot in a pet store, she’s reminded of the wild parrot who roosted in her grandmother’s mango tree back home, and she and her mother bring the parrot home for Abuela; Mango, as he’s named, turns out to be a chatty model for Abuela’s own English skills and a lively point of connection to the neighborhood and Mia. It’s the subtle details that make this gentle tale of adaptation so successful. Abuela, for instance, is a capable lady who’s clearly a boon to the household (illustrations make her a contemporary grandma sporting a sleek bob and cropped skinny jeans), and Mia’s mother reminds Mia that her best friend Kim started out with little English too, matter-of-factly framing Abuela’s transition as a common one. Dominguez’s easygoing illustrations (in ink, gouache, and marker) have a casual yet precise style; there are touches of humor in Mia’s English labeling of nearly every object in the apartment, and the occasional perspectival shift (looking down on a wistful Abuela as she sits in the park with her granddaughter) adds emotional resonance. There are [End Page 156] a lot of families negotiating language and cultural divides, especially with extended family, so plenty of kids will sympathize with Mia’s situation and appreciate her growing relationship with Abuela.