cover image Carmen Learns English

Carmen Learns English

Judy Cox, illus. by Angela Dominguez, Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2174-9

The frustrations of starting school as the only Spanish-speaking student come through clearly in Cox's tale of a girl who slowly gets a handle on English with the help of a compassionate teacher. In first-person narration, Carmen doesn't mince words about her tumultuous emotions when she can't understand her classmates or is teased about her accent ("For a moment I wished I was back in Mexico, where all the people speak Spanish and no one makes fun of me"). Dominguez's mixed-media paintings can feel wooden—she's at her best with closeup images of Carmen that convey her trepidation, anger, and growing confidence. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)