Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Wind Called My Name

40644601Sanchez, Mary Louise. The Wind Called My Name.
September 18th 2018 by Tu Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Margarita's family has a pleasant life working on their farm in New Mexico, but the drought conditions of the Great Depression have led to decreased crops and a huge tax bill. Her brother and father have spent most of the year in Wyoming, working for the railroad and sending money home. When conditions do not improve, the rest of Margarita's family moves to join them. While Margarita is glad to be with her father again, she misses her one abuela who stayed behind, and has trouble finding friends. She does meet Evangeline Hesse, the granddaughter of the local store owner, who is the only other student in her grade in the one-room school house. Evangeline means well, but frequently hurts Margarita's feelings by wanting to call her Maggie, not understanding that the family is from NEW Mexico, and not liking the family's food. Other members of the community are even less fond of having Hispanic workers in the town, even if their families have been living in New Mexico for over three hundred years. Mr. Hesse is very kind, allowing Margarita to work off the cost of a lantern that she broke by selling him eggs and vegetables. He even arranges for her to get paid to deliver the newspaper to people in town. When one of the railroad workers starts to harass the Hispanic workers in town, Margarita and her family almost decide to go back to New Mexico, but instead stand firm and fight against the accusations.
Strengths: My copy of Doris Gates' Blue Willow completely fell apart and can't be replaced, so another treatment of the Great Depression is welcome. Unlike that 1940 book (which has irreplaceable details about daily life, since it was written at the time), this new book deals realistically with the challenges that Hispanic families faced. Evangeline is well-meaning, but an unfortunate master of the micro-aggression. This is, however, a very realistic portrayal, and it is good to see that Margarita is able to stand up for herself and try to explain why Evangeline's actions are wrong while still remaining friends. There are lots of good descriptions of food, holidays, and even some Spanish phrases.
Weaknesses: I would have enjoyed more details about the clothing and housing, and perhaps a few mentions (tied in with the newspaper the family reads) about events in the world. There is one mention of the abuela in New Mexico meeting an artist named Georgia, but there was no more elaboration. What I really think: Definitely purchasing, since it is not only a good historical document but a good portrayal of middle grade characters learning to accept others' differences in a very productive way.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for purchasing my book and for the kind words.