Marisol by Gary Soto
Marisol by Gary Soto is the story of a happy young Latina girl who has to deal with unexpected change. She lives in an apartment in the city of Chicago with her parents and cat Rascal. From her bedroom window she tells the reader why she is content with her interesting life that includes her wonderful neighbors and friends. She especially loves all kinds of dancing and practices as much as possible in her room. She takes dance lessons and dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
One day after dance class, her parents tell her that she is moving to the suburbs. They want to live in a house and be away from the city. It is quite a shock for Marisol who finds out that they are leaving in a week. When she goes to see the house, it is quite nice. She meets a new friend Karen who tells her the worst news possible. The new town does not have a dance studio!
This book is entirely written in Marisol’s voice making it a realistic read for girls. There are Spanish, English and French words interspersed with a glossary in the back with definitions of Spanish words and French dance terms. Marisol is a likable character that knows what she likes and needs. She has no problem telling her parents her feelings, which shows they have good relationship. She is able to cope because though, she may be hurt or angry she feels secure in her family life.
There are a few problems with this book. We are never told Marisol’s age and the few pictures are inconsistent. Some of them make her look like a kindergartener, where others make her look slightly older like a second or third grader. That being said, I think Marisol is enjoyable read for elementary school girl because it is a story that could happen to anyone. Many elementary girls love dance. This book teaches some dance terms and Spanish words opening new ways of life to the reader.