Canales, V. (2005). The tequila worm. NY: Wendy Lamb Books/Random House
Sophia is a Hispanic, young girl living in McAllen, Texas (which is only forty minutes from where I live) and tells a story about love, loyalty to your family, and sheds a little light into the Hispanic culture. Each chapter tells a different story of Sophia’ life and family’s traditions. Sophia’s life comes to a crash when she must decide to attend a boarding school is Austin with a full scholarship. Accepting means going against everything that her family has taught her, but she accepts her scholarship only to discover that she is very discriminated against by the people around her in her new home. During a visit home for Sophia’s cousin’s quincenera (15th birthday party where in the Hispanic culture a girl becomes a woman) her father dies of cancer.Sophia learns to balance going back and forth between Austin and home to be a comadre (family friend) to those who need her. At the end of the story, Sophia tells how she became a civil rights lawyer and builds her mother a new house and helps with her family’s old comadres and forms a comadre family of her own. I think this book would be great for students in middle school, both Hispanic and not because Hispanic students can relate to the story and see how someone from their barrio (neighborhood) becomes successful and others can learn a little about our culture. It is also a great coming of age story and I would follow it up with The house on Mango Street.