by Emma Otheguy (Author)
A poignant, coming of age story about a Cuban-American girl trying to figure out where she belongs--both in her ballet-loving family and the wider world. Perfect for fans of Front Desk and Merci Suárez Changes Gears.
It's a good thing Sofía Acosta loves dreaming up costumes, because otherwise she's a ballet disaster--unlike her parents, who danced under prima ballerina Alicia Alonso before immigrating to the suburbs of New York. Luckily, when the Acostas host their dancer friends from Cuba for a special performance with the American Ballet Theatre, Sofía learns there's more than dance holding her family together. Between swapping stories about Cuba and sharing holiday celebrations, the Acostas have never been more of a team.
Then Sofía finds out about the dancers' secret plans to defect to the United States, and makes a serious mistake--she confides in her best friend, only to discover that Tricia doesn't want outsiders moving to their community. Now Sofía wonders what the other neighbors in her tight-knit suburban town really think of immigrant families like hers. Sofía doesn't want to make a scene, but if she doesn't speak up, how will she figure out if her family really belongs?
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In a Cuban American family brimming with ballet talent, 10-year-old Sofía Acosta feels obligated to dance well. But unlike her 13-year-old sister, Regina, and younger brother, Manuel, she's drawn not to movement but to costume design. As her family and community prepare to perform The Nutcracker, Sofía attempts to master the hop-step and helps her classmates plan a surprise party for an Irish teacher who recently became an American citizen. Juggling activities, Sofía learns that while best friend and fellow Cuban American Tricia Rivera is happy to assist with their teacher's fete, Tricia responds otherwise to a Cuban dancer's invitation to American Ballet Theatre, saying "immigrants shouldn't just sneak into our country." Soon, Sofía begins to truly notice how subtly her privileged, largely white suburb excludes her family, painting their concerns as about "the character of our community." Otheguy (A Sled for Gabo) centers an immigrant diasporic experience through the lens of a girl working to fit in, and struggling to square her privilege with experiences of intersectional discrimination. Ages 8-12. Agent: Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary. (Jan.)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.