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Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer

Call Me Maria

by Judith Ortiz Cofer

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Living in Puerto Rico depresses Maria's father who grew up in New York City. Maria's mother however has a teaching job she loves on the isla she grew up on. Papi moves to Manhattan and Maria decides to go with him, to get an American education and improve her English. In Manhattan, Maria keeps busy with her studies, assisting her father who works as the super of their apartment building, and hanging out with best friends Uma and Whoopee. Through her poems, narration and letters to her mother, Maria describes being caught between the two worlds of Puerto Rico and America. Sometimes she's "Maria Alegre" and other times "Maria Triste." She observes, too, the Puertoriquenos who long for a land that they've never been to. And she sees her father blooming in the comfort of his native city.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I was not a big fan of the writing style of this book. It is composed of poems and mini narratives. While the writing style of this is interesting and surely unique I did appreciate the story line. The book is about a young girl named Maria who lives in Puerto Rico with her Mami and Papi. Papi wants to go back to New York and Mami wants to stay in Puerto Rico to become a teacher. Eventually after being unhappy for too long Mami gives her husband a plane ticket to New York and tells Maria that she has to choose where she would like to live. Since Maria has always wanted an American education she has chosen to move with her father. The story continues with what it is like for her and her family being in America. It's a touching and with dividing the book into poetry it does give the book a certain kind of emotion which I think is valuable in this book. It was just hard to get used to reading in that format. I would recommend this book, it's not a long read and it's an easy read. ( )
  jessotto | Apr 2, 2014 |
Maria was born in Puerto Rico, but has moved to New York. While her mother remains on the island, Maria lives with her father, the super of their building. As she struggles to lose her island accent, Maria does her best to find her place in her new home. ( )
  rrossi1 | Nov 21, 2013 |
Middle School Realistic Fiction

Characters: Maria a 15 year old Puerto Rican girl who lives with her Dad in New York city she misses her Mom who an English teacher who lives in Puerto Rico.

Setting: The Puerto Rican barrio in New York city.

Theme: Adaptation, immigrant children, the American Dream and cultural diversity

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Audience: 12 year to Adult girls

Summary: Maria a Puerto Rican girl lives in conflict between two worlds: Puerto Rico and New York. She was born in Puerto Rico and just recently moved to New York city with her father leaving her mother behind in the island. Maria struggles to lose her Spanish accent, she does her best to lose it. She does her best to find a place in the unfamiliar culture of the barrio. Maria soon finds her inner poet as she finds her self in the Spanglish world of the barrio. She falls in love with the poetry of the Chilean Pablo Neruda.

Curriculum Ties: History- Students can conduct research on the relationship between the U.S and Puerto Rico. Language Arts student can read poetry by Pablo Neruda and then write their own like the character of Maria.

Personal Note: I really like books that relate to adaptation and immigration issues because students in California face the same issues. I feel if they can relate to a book they will find it more interesting to read and will engage in reading other books. I like the way the author writes this book in short stories making it easier for anyone to read.
  daisycisneros | Mar 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439385784, Paperback)

A new novel from the award-winning author of AN ISLAND LIKE YOU, winner of the Pura Belpre Award.

Maria is a girl caught between two worlds: Puerto Rico, where she was born, and New York, where she now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio. While her mother remains on the island, Maria lives with her father, the super of their building. As she struggles to lose her island accent, Maria does her best to find her place within the unfamiliar culture of the barrio. Finally, with the Spanglish of the barrio people ringing in her ears, she finds the poet within herself.

In lush prose and spare, evocative poetry, Cofer weaves a powerful novel, bursting with life and hope.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:54 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-old Maria leaves her mother and their Puerto Rican home to live in a barrio of New York with her father, feeling torn between the two cultures in which she has been raised.

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