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In his first year of school, Francisco understands little of what his teacher says. But he is drawn to the silent, slow-moving caterpillar in the jar next to his desk. He knows caterpillars turn into butterflies, but just how do they do it? To find out, he studies the words in a butterfly book so many times that he can close his eyes and see the black letters, but he still can't understand their meaning. Illustrated with paintings as deep and rich as the wings of a butterfly, this honest, unsentimental account of a schoolchild's struggle to learn language reveals that our imaginations powerfully sustain us. La Mariposa makes a subtle plea for tolerance in our homes, our communities, and in our schools.
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Francisco Jiménez emigrated from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, to California, where he worked for many years in the fields with his family. He received both his master’s degree and his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is now the chairman of the Modern Languages and Literature Department at Santa Clara University, the setting of much of his newest novel, Reaching Out. He is the award-winning author of The Circuit, Breaking Through, and La Mariposa. He is also the recipient of the John Steinbeck Award. He lives with his family in Santa Clara, California.From School Library Journal:
Grade 2-5-Francisco is excited about going to school-until he gets on the bus. The cacophony of voices all speaking English, a language he doesn't understand, leaves him apprehensive and headachy. He fares no better in the classroom. Though he tries to listen, he is often overwhelmed and his mind drifts. His only solaces are drawing and watching a caterpillar in a jar on the science shelf. At recess, he plays with a child who speaks a little Spanish, only to be scolded by his teacher for not speaking English. During the winter, seeing that Francisco has no jacket, the principal gives him one from the lost and found. It proves to belong to a classmate who wrestles Francisco to the ground and accuses him of stealing it. The child withdraws even further. However, by the end of the year, he, like the butterfly, unfolds from his cocoon and begins to gain confidence. The story is open-ended, with no real resolution, and the episodic plot does not make for a compelling narrative. The strength of the book lies in its ability to capture the frustration and isolation experienced by children who do not speak the dominant language. Potent as a discussion starter, La Mariposa helps readers identify with and build empathy for the protagonist. Silva's acrylic illustrations, using strong lines and bold colors, are a bit overwhelming for the quiet story at times, but are eye-catching nonetheless. Especially suited for schools with an ESL population, this is an excellent choice for raising awareness and creating an opening for dialogue.
Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description HMH Books for Young Readers, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110395816637
Book Description HMH Books for Young Readers, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0395816637
Book Description HMH Books for Young Readers. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0395816637 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0140733
Book Description Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0395816637