|Marcus Vega doesn't speak Spanish
Author: Cartaya, Pablo
After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus's mother takes him and his younger brother, who has Down syndrome, to Puerto Rico to visit relatives they do not remember or have never met, and while there Marcus starts searching for his father, who left their family ten years ago and is somewhere on the island.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 3.90
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 196042
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 74976
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (06/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/18)
The Hornbook (00/09/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2018 Gr 4–7—This middle grade story, set in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, pulls together important themes of family, identity, bilingualism, friends, and bullying. Marcus Vega navigates his six-foot-tall, 180-pound frame through middle school while also caring for his younger sibling, Charlie, who has Down Syndrome. Because of his large size, some of his peers consider him to be a monster, or even a bully. When a real bully uses the "R" word in reference to Charlie, Marcus punches him in the jaw. This begins a series of events in which he is expelled from school before spring break, causing his mother to take the boys to Puerto Rico where they are introduced to their father's extended family for the first time. Marcus decides to locate his long-absent father and over the course of five days, readers travel the island with him as he is introduced to its rich flora and fauna, foods, community life, music, and friendliness. Marcus eventually comes to terms with his life challenges, including his own identity. VERDICT An excellent choice for upper elementary and middle grade libraries given its multiple, age-appropriate themes and the window it provides to life in a Puerto Rico before Hurricane María.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, Lisle, IL - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2018 Marcus Vega uses his size to his advantage, collecting fees from fellow students who hire him to walk them to and from school, keeping them off of bully Stephen Hobert’s radar. The money goes in his mom’s emergency stash, which comes in handy when bills pile up. Then Stephen insults Marcus’ younger brother, Charlie, with a derogatory term and Marcus gets in serious trouble. For a reprieve, his mom takes Marcus and Charlie on a trip to Puerto Rico to spend time with family; but instead of seeing it as a break, Marcus thinks it’s the perfect chance to find the father who abandoned them. There, he meets a supportive community of family, who give him space and encouragement and see him for who he really is. Cartaya does a nice job of portraying Marcus’ growth, as well as the importance of his family. In a vivid, frank voice and a rich cast of characters, this warm coming-of-age story offers a loving portrayal of Puerto Rico through the eyes of a relatable boy. Thoughtful and thought provoking. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.