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My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada

My Name Is Maria Isabel (edition 1995)

by Alma Flor Ada (Author)

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5283634,017 (4.18)1
Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher's writing assignment "My Greatest Wish" gives her that opportunity.
Title:My Name Is Maria Isabel
Authors:Alma Flor Ada (Author)
Info:Perfection Learning (1995), 57 pages
Collections:Your library

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My Name is María Isabel by Alma Flor Ada


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This brief chapter book is one of Alma Flor Ada's notable works, and for good reasons. The recurring issue in this story is how Maria Isabel's slightly ignorant teacher prefers to call Maria by "Mary," simply because there are already two other Maria's in the classroom and it is easier to say. There are three reasons I resonate with this book and would recommend reading to upper elementary students. First, it has instances of rich vocabulary and good length. Enough chapters to differ the book from a simple story but not too long where the student will struggle to persevere until the end. Secondly, the novel provides the perspective of the new girl in the classroom who has anxiety to a degree, a desire to please her teacher and make new friends, and have a Hispanic family. As the reader, we are able to hear Maria's thoughts on being called "Mary" and how it makes her feel insignificant. Such a novel can teach empathy to young readers. Third, this novel can teach young girls how to find their voice. Multiple themes arise from this book: standing up for yourself, finding yourself, work hard for what you want, and family. Many positive takeaways can be made from this story. A very interesting fact is that there is Spanish translation of this novel, "Me llamo Maria Isabel." ( )
  broda1 | Apr 6, 2019 |
In the novel, "My Name Is Maria Isabel," is about a young girl named Maria, who is the new girl in school. Although Maria is nervous about going to a new school, she faces it with bravery. As she meets her teacher, she learns that there is already two other girls with the name Maria in her class. Her teacher suggests, "Why don't we call you Mary instead?" But her name isn't Mary, it's Maria. Maria was named after her grandmothers, which made her name, Maria, even more special. When her teacher addressed her as Mary, she failed to respond since she wasn't used to being called Mary. This led to problems, causing Maria to not get a role in the pageant, since she didn't recognize the name her teacher was calling her by. Maria doesn't tell anyone about the issue that she is having at school, and instead, lets her parents believe that she has a role in the pageant. Fortunately, a writing assignment in which the teacher assigned gave Maria the courage to explain her greatest wish to her teacher; “Greatest wish is to be called María Isabel Salazar López,” is what she titled her paper. Maria explained her reasoning throughout the essay, and now her teacher understood why she valued her name so much. Now, her teacher understood why she wasn't responding to Mary, and the issue was resolved. She wasn't Mary, she was Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez; one of a kind.

The themes presented to us through the book, "My Name Is Maria Isabel," are self-idenity and biculturalism. Self-idenity is defined as, "the recognition of one's potential and qualities as an individual, especially in relation to social context." To Maria, her name has a great deal of meaning because of the fact that she was named after her grandparents. This is one of the most important qualities about Maria. The story broadens Maria's hispanic culture and shows readers how important one's culture may be. In my opinion, the point in which the Author is trying to make is that it is an important key factor to value a student's name and cultures. One should show respect and understanding in each and every individual and realize that each student is different in the sense of self. There are several different elements of writing I could teach when introducing this novel, including, character analysis, self-idenity, text to self connections, and reading comprehension strategies. I really enjoyed this book, and when my daughter gets older, I would like to read this book with her to show her the importance of others' names and cultures, and explain to her that these aspects of an individual should be greatly respected and accepted. ( )
  baucoin | Sep 18, 2017 |
My Name Is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada is a sweet story about a young Puerto Rican girl who struggle's after she starts a new school. Because there are two other girls in her class named Maria, her teacher decides to call her Mary Lopez. This bothers Maria Isabel because she is very proud of her name and struggles to recognize when the teacher calls on her during class. After a misunderstanding occurs and Maria Isabel's teacher is upset with her for not answering to her new name, Maria is not given a role in the Winter Pageant. She becomes very sad; however, Maria Isabel's feelings are brought to the teacher attention after she assigns the students to write an essay entitled "My Greatest Wish." Maria reveals her feelings about not being called by her real name, her difficulty to recognizing herself as Mary Lopez, and her desire to participate in the Winter Pageant. After reading the essays, the teacher announces the last-minute change to the play, and allows Maria Isabel to start the class off by singing her favorite song during the Winter Pageant. ( )
  nfernan1 | Sep 11, 2017 |
When Maria Isabel has to change schools she goes through the normal "new kid" troubles like shyness, meeting new friends, and other difficulties a young child might have. Not only does she have these anxieties to deal with, but her teacher has informed her that she's going to go by the name of "Mary" instead of her real name Maria Isabel Salazar Lopez and this caused even more stress for her. She doesn't pay attention when she's called on and her new teacher thinks she has behavioral or learning issues because of this. Maria is very proud of her name because she is named after some of the most important people in her life but she is afraid to speak up for herself. Eventually, she uses some inspiration she got from reading "Charlotte's Web" and gathers up the courage to tell her teacher what she wants and explains why. The theme in the book is about family and taking pride in your name and Maria Isabel used her bravery to let her teacher know. ( )
  alan.greenwald | Sep 8, 2017 |
What a beautiful story that many young readers will benefit from its value. Maria Isabel is not the only child who has been in her situation and felt the same way when her teacher decided to change her name. Maria Isabel left her old school when his dad found a better job. Her family has to adjust to their new life, and she has to adjust to her new school too. Even though she was scared to meet new friends, it was not as bad as changing her name to “Mary” instead of Maria. Her new teacher thought it would be easier to call her Mary because there was already another Maria in the class. But wait? Did she ask her if she wants her to change her name! Did she ask this poor child who just had moved from another school to school what she if she likes the new name or not! Unfortunately, there are many teachers like Maria Isabel’s who do not care about their students’ feeling, or how might doing something such as changing a name, which some teachers think it is normal, emotionally affect their children.
Maria Isabel’s teacher was upset at her all the time. That was because Maria could not recognize her new name when her teacher called her. Maria wanted to participate and be a part of the Winter Pageant and sing her favorite song, but her teacher thought she does not want to when she called Maria Isabel “Mary” and she did not respond. One day before the Winter Pageant, the teacher asked her students to write an essay about their greatest wish. This assignment was Maria Isabel’s opportunity to express her feeling and reclaim her name. After reading “charlotte web," Maria Isabel believed that there is always a solution for any problem, and she can solve her problem by herself. Maria Isabel was so proud of being Maria like her dad’s mother, and Isabel like her grandmother who she loves so much. After writing the essay and allowing her teacher to read it, she then was allowed to be herself and feel comfortable at school. Children can learn many lessons from this book, and the first important one is to be yourself and proud of your heritage. A conscious teacher can use this book for the beginning of the school year especially if she has students who have just transferred. ( )
  aalhomed | Sep 8, 2017 |
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Third grader Maria Isabel, born in Puerto Rico and now living in the U.S., wants badly to fit in at school; and the teacher's writing assignment "My Greatest Wish" gives her that opportunity.

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