Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

By: Mitali Perkins

Illustrator: Sara Palacios

It's almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico. For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven't seen in years. But when Juan's gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea.

Here is a heartwarming tale of families and the miracle of love.

Author’s note. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780374303730

JLG Release: Jan 2020


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Gifts , Grandmothers , Brothers and sisters , Mexican Americans , Christmas , US–Mexico border , Fences , Walls , Family

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Grades 2-6

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Awards & Honors

2020 Charlotte Huck Award Honor
CSMCL Best Books - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly*, Booklist, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

A story of family strength and unity overcoming fences along the Mexican/United States border. Las Posadas (Spanish for inns) is a celebration in Mexico and some Latin American countries that takes place over the nine days before Christmas. The holiday commemorates the search for shelter by Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus’s birth. On one of t A story of family strength and unity overcoming fences along the Mexican/United States border. Las Posadas (Spanish for inns) is a celebration in Mexico and some Latin American countries that takes place over the nine days before Christmas. The holiday commemorates the search for shelter by Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus’s birth. On one of those nine days, La Posada Sin Fronteras takes place on the Mexican/United States border between San Diego and Tijuana. Friends and families gather on both sides of the forbidding double fence waiting to catch a glimpse of each other and hopefully exchange some words. In this fictional account, the author makes the heartbreaking event accessible to young children. Two children and their mother prepare to go to the celebration. They haven’t seen their grandmother in five years, and the children have made presents for her: Maria has knit a scarf, and little Juan has made a cardboard drawing. Unfortunately, when the time comes, the children are unable to give Abuela her presents. The spaces in the fence are too small, and, besides, it’s forbidden to pass anything through the fence. Maria solves the problem by tying the drawing up with her knitting yarn and flying it over the fence like a kite, all with the guards’ permission. Another poignant piece to add to the current national discussion about the border. A must for any collection.

Horn Book

María, her brother Juan, and their Mamá take the city bus to the U.S.–Mexico border in San Diego. Once a year, in December, is La Posada Sin Fronteras, when friends and family members come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus, albeit on different sides of the border fence. The subdued, warm-hearted, sand-and-sea-toned illustrations show the María, her brother Juan, and their Mamá take the city bus to the U.S.–Mexico border in San Diego. Once a year, in December, is La Posada Sin Fronteras, when friends and family members come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus, albeit on different sides of the border fence. The subdued, warm-hearted, sand-and-sea-toned illustrations show the family members able to see each other and touch hands through the links—and María longs to give her abuela the gifts she and Juan brought. But: “We can’t let anything through the fence,” says a border guard. María comes up with a clever solution, one that may stretch the laws of physics (and readers’ credulity regarding tolerance for rule-bending at the border), but allows for a heartwarming, culturally specific, and hopeful family holiday story. Perkins’s lyrical text, with occasional words in red or blue for emphasis, incorpo¬rates some Spanish words and phrases. An informative author’s note adds context. elissa gershowitz

Book Details

ISBN

9780374303730

First Release

January 2020

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

E

Trim Size

8 1/2" x 11"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Gifts, Grandmothers, Brothers and sisters, Mexican Americans, Christmas, US–Mexico border, Fences, Walls, Family,

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Book Genres

Picture Book

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