Ana Patino is adjusting well to her new life in the United States, but her mother is having a difficult time because she doesn’t speak English. When Ana’s baby brother falls ill, Mama tries to get hel
Ana Patino is adjusting well to her new life in the United States, but her mother is having a difficult time because she doesn’t speak English. When Ana’s baby brother falls ill, Mama tries to get help, but no one can understand her. Now convinced of the need to learn the native language, Mama agrees to take English lessons. As her knowledge of the English language grows, so does her sense of confidence and belonging.
Susan Middleton Elya’s sympathetic tale of a mother-daughter bond and overcoming adversity is brought to life by the vivid illustrations of Felipe Davalos.
"[Susan Middleton] Elya departs here from her usual format of teaching Spanish to explore the difficulties faced by immigrants in a new land. Ana's family, just arrived from Mexico, must adjust to foreign surroundings and a different language. Ana is delighted with her teacher in school and picks up English quickly. Her father's job in the canning factory affords him the opportunity to learn English, too. But her mother, who mostly stays in the apartment with Ana's twin brothers, feels homesick and overwhelmed with the prospect of learning a new language. Not being able to communicate at the grocery store is bad enough, but when one of the twins becomes ill and Mama cannot make herself understood by the neighbors, she knows it is time to learn English. With the family's encouragement, she enrolls in a class in the evening and makes steady progress, acing her first test. Mama finds that her newfound language skills make life easier, enabling her finally to think of the new place as home. Appealing illustrations in oil convey the warmth of Ana's family...A well-told story of triumph and family solidarity." -KIRKUS REVIEWS
"...[T]his highlights a problem many immigrant children must deal with-the inability or unwillingness of a parent to learn English. The sturdy illustrations, handsomely executed in oils, are most successful when depicting the expressions of the characters: fear, pleasure, and eventually, hope." -BOOKLIST
"A story about new beginnings. The Patino family relocates from Mexico and must adjust to all the changes that living in the U.S. brings. Ana starts school, her father finds work with Uncle Luis in the canning factory, but her mother has a more difficult time with the transition. It is only after one of her children becomes ill that Mamá is willing to learn the new language. The text contains Spanish questions and phrases that are repeated in English. The oil paintings support the text and show Ana's adjustment as well as her mother's unhappiness. The characters' growth and new experiences show how a family pulls together and makes its new surroundings 'home'." -SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Although the tale focuses on Mama, it plays out through Ana's point of view, and the child's frustration with Mama's stubbornness and her own inability to help in any direct way are powerfully conveyed. Davalos captures much of Mama's pain and dignity in her expressive doe eyes.The text, though a trifle long, is smooth and well paced, and listeners who take communication for granted will readily sense the vulnerability of a newcomer who has left her language at home." -BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS
"Ana Patino is adjusting well to her new life in the United States, but her mother is having problems because she doesn't speak English in Home at Last. When one of the babies falls ill, Mama tries to get help, but no one can understand her. Now convinced that she needs to learn English, Mama agrees to take lessons. As Mama gains new language skills, she also develops a sense of confidence and belonging. Susan Middleton Elya's sympathetic tale of a mother-daughter bond and a spirit that triumphs against the odds is enhanced by the vivid art of Felipe Davalos." -THE READER'S EDGE, THE BOOK BAG
"With unsentimental grace, "Home At Last" tells a realistic, personal story of a Mexican family adjusting to new surroundings when they move to the United States. This picture book for older children is all the more moving when it reveals-through the eyes of their young daughter-the obstacles that adult non-English speaking immigrants face every day. Mama misses the love and support of her extended family back home, is afraid when she and the children are alone in their American apartment. Papa works long hours, and cannot be there when medical help is needed for the baby, so she finally musters up enough bravery to enter an "English as a Second Language" night class. Little Ana's progress in school boosts Mama's spirit and confidence too, and so together the family discovers the true meaning of home. It's a touching story that speaks to both immigrant and non-immigrant families without guise or pretension." -THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"Elya masterfully combines bilingual elements in this engaging and thoughtful family story. Felipe Davalos's oil paintings are detailed and thoughtful, showcasing the characters' emotions and the book's settings." -THE READING TEACHER
"Elya and Davalos have successfully put together a story that accurately depicts what life may be like for newcomers to the United States. Davalos's double-page spread paintings are colorful and appealing. Useful, especially for teachers." -BAYVIEWS, ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN'S LIBRARIANS
"This is a delightful book about a Mexican family learning how to cope in America. I highly recommend this book for elementary age students. This touching story is a true, heartfelt look into the problems that newcomers to America face. The main character, Ana, reminds me of some of my own students. Everyone-old and young-should read this book.." -LIBRARY MATERIALS GUIDE, CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS INTERNATIONAL
"Home at Last by Susan Middleton Elya is a touching story about a mother from Mexico who relies on her 8-year-old daughter to translate for her. Not until she's cheated at the grocery store does she bend to her daughter's wishes and begin to learn English. Colorful illustrations by Felipe Davalos of Sacramento capture every nuance of the family's isolation and struggles to adapt to their new land." -THE SACRAMENTO BEE
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