cover image I Speak English for My Mom

I Speak English for My Mom

Muriel Stanek, Mauriel Stanek. Albert Whitman & Company, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-3659-9

With tact and poignance, this book confronts the problems of a non-English-speaker who needs her daughter's help in almost every aspect of daily life. Lupe's widowed mother, Rosa, came to the U. S. from Mexico to fulfill a promise to her husband that their daughter would be educated here. Lupe quickly learns English, and so acts as interpreter for her mother, whether they are shopping in stores where Spanish isn't spoken, or going to the doctor for check-ups. Lupe usually doesn't mind, but there are times when she gets tired of being called on for help. Rosa hopes to get a job that pays better, but knows that she will need to speak English for almost any new endeavor. When she enrolls in night school to learn English, she worries about filling out forms, and keeping up with her studies. But Lupe encourages her mother, and when they begin to hold rudimentary conversations in English, Lupe admits she'll miss helping Rosa. Black-and-white illustrations, bordered in brown, depict the loving relationship between these two protagonists, and show a classroom scene of people of many cultures trying to learn a new language. The book displays an emotional honesty, from which it gains its strength. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)