Cuba 15

Osa, Nancy (2003). [Kindle 2.0.3 version] Retrieved from New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN: 0385730217

Violet’s Abuela is visiting from Miami, and she has a surorise for Violet—Abuela is plaaning a quincenero for Violet. A big, traditional Latin coming of age party—for a girl who hasn’t worn a dress in years, and doesn’t have any ‘womanhoods’ to speak of yet! During the freshman year of planning the party Violet gets involved with the Speech and Debate team, and through her friends becomes more politically active, which causes some conflict with her dad, who, as a refugee, has a very strong point of view about Castro's Cuba. There are lots of fun details about the theme, clothes, and arrangements for the party also.

Reader’s Annotation
The quince itself is almost beside the point as Violet Paz, while planning her not-so-traditional traditional coming-of-age party with her large, diverse group of family and friends, has a year of growing into herself.

I was looking for Chica Lit for my romantic language learner reluctant readers, but this book was more than I was expecting. First, I am always looking for Speech and Debate related lit or films, and this book was very authentic and detailed on the Midwest-style Interp competitions. Next, the book had a very unusual and high-quality sub-plot, in which Violet begins to awaken politically, and considers a different position on the Cuba question than that held by her strong-willed Cuban exile father. Also, the milieu of this culturally blended family, with the Polish working-class mom and the Cuban, domino playing family of the dad, is recreated with wonderful details of image, smell, and sound. The characters are rounded people full of contradictions , and Violet is a good observer.

About the author
Nancy Osa went to Reed College and credits the school with teaching her to write and break rules. She still lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Multi-cultural Fiction (Genreflecting)

Curriculum Ties
Excerpts—Speech and Debate!

Booktalking Ideas
a similar Humorous Speech about our families?
How does politics connect to personal growth—for Violet?for people we know?
How does Violet’s relationship with her friends help her to grow?

Reading Level/Interest Age
Grades 6-10 (SLJ/Booklist)
Middle through high school (Genreflecting)

Challenge Issues

Why Included?
Genre presentation; looking for more diverse Chick Lit for students and presentation

Selection Tools
ALA Notable Book; Sonoma County Library Top Teen Reads

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