Under the Mesquite by: Guadalupe Garcia McCall


undermesquiteAge: 12 & up | Grades 7 & up


When Papi gives us the news
at the breakfast table,
Analiza and Victoria
stare at him wide-eyed.
Its been a year and a half
since Mami had her last
chemotherapy treatment,
and although most of Papi’s
money has been spent
on the hope of saving her life,
the cancer has returned.


What can I say about this novel that has not already been said, other than I LOVED IT!
A novel told in verse is a powerful piece of literature.  It is a piece of literature that can reach all readers.  Mix that with a strong and hopeful message and you have yourself a notable book, a book that won five awards in its short release.

In Under the Mesquite, we meet Lupita, a teenage, Mexican girl who lives in Texas.  Life is good for Lupita until tragedy strikes her family in the form of cancer.  Lupita has a big family and with seven siblings, being the oldest means she had to grow up quick.  With her mother now sick, she needs to step up as caretaker of her kin and help her father raise her brothers and her sisters. All this while going to school and dealing with life as a young girl in high school.

Overcoming her obstacles, Lupita survives what life has thrown at her and helps her family get through their heartache and hardships while instilling hope in them all. Winner of the Pura Belpre, a prestigious award given to a Latino writer  whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth, McCall’s contribution to Latino Literature is remarkable, and Under the Mesquite is an unforgettable story that will resonate with all readers and cultures alike.  It is about a human experience and one we can all relate to. 



* Original review posted October 3, 2012 on MHS Bilblio-Files

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