Mango, Abuela, and Me (English With Some Spanish)

by Meg Medina (Author) Angela Dominguez (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
A 2016 Pura Belpré Author Award Honor Book
A 2016 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor Book

When a little girl's far-away grandmother comes to stay, love and patience transcend language in a tender story written by acclaimed author Meg Medina.

Mia's abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English ("Dough. Masa"), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it's still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. Then Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window and has the perfectoidea for how to help them all communicate a little better. An endearing tale from an award-winning duo that speaks loud and clear about learning new things and the love that bonds family members.

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Kirkus Reviews

Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree.

Booklist

Starred Review
Pura Belpré Award winner Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, 2013) and Pura Belpré honoree Dominguez (Maria Had a Little Llama, 2013) have created a poignant tale of intergenerational connection, transition, and patience. The language and vivid illustrations (a colorful blend of ink, gouache, and marker) are infused with warmth and expression, perfectly complementing the story's tone. Abuela's adjustment to her new home is sensitively portrayed as she and Mia bond over their different cultures and shared heritage. Pair with Matt de la Peña's Last Stop on Market Street (2015) for another look at urban multiculturalism. Heartfelt, layered, and beautiful--a must for library collections.

Horn Book Magazine

Medina (Tía Isa Wants a Car, rev. 7/11) tells a heartwarming story about intergenerational relationships, finding common ground, and adapting to change. Dominguez's (Maria Had a Little Llama, rev. 11/13) digitally adjusted ink, gouache, and marker illustrations capture the various emotions and moods of the characters, from shyness to frustration to happiness...Young readers will enjoy seeing the relationship between Mia and her grandmother develop--with the help of Mango.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Abuela has left her house in a sunnier place and moved to the wintry city to live with Mia and her family in their small apartment. Even though Mia and Abuela share a room, the older woman still feels like a "far-away grandmother" because her English is "too poquito" for Mia to speak with her. But Mia won't give up; embracing the role of teacher and enlisting the help of a bilingual pet parrot (the "Mango" in the title) she and Abuela are soon "full of things to say." With its emotional nuance and understated, observant narration--especially where Abuela's inner state is concerned--Medina's (Tia Isa Wants a Car) lovely story has the feel of a novella. Dominguez's (Knit Together) broader, more cartoonlike art initially seems like a mismatch, but she captures the doubt in Abuela's eyes, and her sunny colors and simple characterizations keep the story from sinking into melancholy before it bounces back to its upbeat ending. A Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Jennifer Rofe, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)

Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—Mia is unsure of what to think when her grandma, Abuela, comes to live with her. She must open up her room to share with Abuela, even though the two don't even share a common language. "Abuela and I can't understand each other" Mia confides to her mom. "Things will get better," she tells her, and indeed they do. Through some trial and error, persistence and even a feathered friend, Mia and Abuela find new ways to communicate. "Now, when Abuela and I are lying next to each other in bed, our mouths are full of things to say." In this tale, Medina blends Spanish and English words together as seamlessly as she blends the stories of two distinct cultures and generations. Dominguez's bright illustrations, done in ink, gouache, and marker, make the characters shine as bright as the rich story they depict. The glowing images of Mango, the parrot, a nearly silent star of the book, will win over audiences of all ages but the real magic is in the heartfelt tale of love. Everything about this book will make readers want to share it with someone they love. VERDICT A timeless story with wide appeal.—Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Medina artfully weaves a few Spanish words and phrases into her mainly English sentences in a way young Latinos take for granted, and most English speakers should understand..."
—The New York Times 

"This uplifting and affirming tale makes clear that connecting with someone sometimes takes work and ingenuity, but the payoff is priceless."
—Shelf Awareness (starred review) 

"Medina honors the beauty of holding onto one's history while also making room for new traditions. She demonstrates the richness to be gained by bridging two generations through the language dear to each. Her deceptively simple story models a way to close the communication gap and respect two languages and ways of life...This uplifting and affirming tale makes clear that connecting with someone sometimes takes work and ingenuity, but the payoff is priceless."
—Shelf Awareness 

"Dominguez's easy- going 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 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."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Family stories warm the heart and help to remind us about our own family memories. The colorful artwork is much like the relationship created in this story."
—School Library Connection

"Medina pays careful attention to what it means to live in a new language."
—Literacy Daily
Meg Medina
Meg Medina (megmedina.com) is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author who writes for children and teens. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Ezra Jack Keats Writer Award as well as the Pura Belpré Award and Honor. She is the 2019 Newbery Medal winner for her novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears. When she is not writing, she works on community projects that support Latinx youth. She lives with her family in Richmond, Virginia. You can follow Meg on Twitter @meg_medina and on Instagram @megmedinabooks.

Chelsea Clinton is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World; She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History; She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game; Don't Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe; It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!; Start Now!: You Can Make a Difference; with Hillary Clinton, Grandma's Gardens and Gutsy Women; and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives, including those that help empower the next generation of leaders. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their children and their dog, Soren. You can follow Chelsea Clinton on Twitter @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at facebook.com/chelseaclinton.

Gillian Flint (gillianflint.com) is an illustrator who has a passion for painting in watercolors. She has been drawing and creating characters for as long as she can remember. Her work has been published in the USA, the UK and Australia. In her spare time she enjoys reading and gardening at her home in the UK. You can follow her on Instagram @gillianflint_illustration.

Alexandra Boiger (alexandraboiger.com) has illustrated nearly twenty picture books, including the She Persisted series by by Chelsea Clinton; the popular Tallulah series by Marilyn Singer; and the Max and Marla books, which she also wrote. Originally from Munich, Germany, she now lives outside of San Francisco, California, with her husband, Andrea; daughter, Vanessa; and two cats, Luiso and Winter. You can follow Alexandra on Instagram @alexandra_boiger.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780763669003
Lexile Measure
560L
Guided Reading Level
M
Publisher
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
August 20, 2015
Series
-
BISAC categories
JUV002040 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Birds
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV009080 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Words
Library of Congress categories
Grandmothers
Families
Grandparent and child
Parrots
Communication
Intergenerational communication
Pura Belpre Award
Honor Book 2016 - 2016
Cybils
Finalist 2015 - 2015

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