Amada Irma Pérez, illustrated
by Maya Christina Gonzalez,
My Very Own Room / Mi propio cuartito
Childrens Book Press, 2000.
Virgina Woolf had one. A small pig named Poinsettia
in Felicia Bonds Poinsettia and Her Family
wanted one. And now a girl with five young brothers
wants one, too. What is it? A place to be alone. "A
little space was all I wanted, but there wasnt
much of it. Our tiny house was shared by eight of
us, and sometimes more when our friends and relatives
came from Mexico and stayed with us until they found
jobs and places to live."
For someone "almost nine," a corner behind
a curtain would be the perfect place to read, write,
and dream. A place for solitude. But lots of things
are stored there - a sewing machine and garden tools
and furniture and clothes! However, "like a mighty
team of powerful ants," the family pitches in
to clear the space. Paint goes up, a bed is found,
a crate becomes the table. That night, two little
brothers - former bedmates - hesitate outside. Their
sister asks them in and reads them a story before
they say good-night and leave. No one feels put out
by the change of arrangements.
Its a simple tale - no miracles, no twists
- told bilingually, with glowing illustrations of
a family "making do" and filling every inch
of life with love, security and joy. At the edge of
things, a thoughtful mother notices her daughters
changing needs and lends an all-important hand.
Mary Lou Burket