Abuelita and Me
Abuelita and Me
Sometimes I want to show grownups how to listen.
It's not too hard to hear what Abuelita is saying.
Abuelita and Me is a book inspired by the racism many people of Latinx cultures have experienced, living outside of their home countries. The book starts off with the main character enjoying a happy life inside her home with grandma. As soon as they venture out to the real world to complete the various chores of the day, there is a big shift in the way the world sees them. Themes like feeling invisible and adults being mean and angry show readers how painful it is to experience racism. The main character wants the world to see how her “Abuelita” is the best grandma in the world, and she doesn't understand why the people around her treat them differently. At her lowest, the girl feels like she is shrinking and that she and her Abuelita are all alone in the world. Not wanting to face that again, the girl decides she doesn't want to go out. Realistically, it is impossible to stay inside forever, and so she must deal with her emotions and prepare for the next day.
In the end, through the hardships the pair face together, she learns the power that her Abuelita has and how they can contend with racism day by day. Even though she might feel sad and angry, she can be proud. Even if it was the two of them alone in the world, her Abuelita is enough and they are strong.
The book itself is very powerful and deals with many strong emotions that are realistic. Throughout Abuelita and Me, the artwork helps to convey when the emotions are light and happy or dark and angry. Readers see things from the perspective of the child, with one of the bullies, a bus driver, towering over her and taking up more than half of the page. It will be easy for kids to connect with the main themes of Abuelita and Me and understand the need to be kind to all people.
Dayanara Fruhbrodt is an English teacher of Latinx descent residing in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia.