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Under the Mesquite
Cover of Under the Mesquite
Under the Mesquite
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Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's long illness. As the oldest of eight siblings, Lupita is used to taking the lead-and staying busy behind the scenes to help keep everyone together. But when she discovers Mami has been diagnosed with cancer, Lupita is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit Mexican American family. Suddenly Lupita must face a whole new set of challenges, with new roles to play, and no one is handing her the script. In the midst of juggling life as a high school student, testing her wings as an actress, and dealing with friends who don't always understand, Lupita desperately wants to support Mami in whatever way she can. While her father stays with Mami at an out-of-town clinic, Lupita takes charge of her siblings. As Lupita struggles to keep the family afloat, she escapes the chaos of home by writing in the shade of a mesquite tree. Overwhelmed by change and loss, she takes refuge in the healing power of words. Told with honest emotion in evocative free verse, Lupita's journey is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Under the Mesquite is an empowering story about the testing of family bonds, the strength of a young woman navigating pain and hardship with surprising resilience, and the kind of love that cannot be uprooted.
Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's long illness. As the oldest of eight siblings, Lupita is used to taking the lead-and staying busy behind the scenes to help keep everyone together. But when she discovers Mami has been diagnosed with cancer, Lupita is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit Mexican American family. Suddenly Lupita must face a whole new set of challenges, with new roles to play, and no one is handing her the script. In the midst of juggling life as a high school student, testing her wings as an actress, and dealing with friends who don't always understand, Lupita desperately wants to support Mami in whatever way she can. While her father stays with Mami at an out-of-town clinic, Lupita takes charge of her siblings. As Lupita struggles to keep the family afloat, she escapes the chaos of home by writing in the shade of a mesquite tree. Overwhelmed by change and loss, she takes refuge in the healing power of words. Told with honest emotion in evocative free verse, Lupita's journey is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Under the Mesquite is an empowering story about the testing of family bonds, the strength of a young woman navigating pain and hardship with surprising resilience, and the kind of love that cannot be uprooted.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.7
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    4

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • GUADALUPE GARCIA McCALL was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Trained in theater arts and English, she is now an assistant professor of English at George Fox University in Oregon. Her poems for adults have appeared in more than twenty literary journals, and she won the Pura Belpré Award for her first novel, Under the Mesquite.
Reviews-
  • DOGO Books pa-5235 - Under the Mesquite, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, is the well descriptive story about Lupita and her family and all of the new challenges and barriers that are introduced because of her mother’s recently diagnosed cancer, and how the group tries to deal and overcome these barriers within their lives. To start off, a majority of Under the Mesquite takes place in Mexico, Lupita’s home country, however, as a six year-old, she and the rest of her family had to move to los Estados Unidos, or the United States because of her father’s newfound job there. In this novel, the most important character of the plot is Lupita, first born out of the eight children conceived by her papí and her mamí, is the one who will be the narrator of the story, telling all of her experiences, both good and bad, in a manner that will make you feel very close and connected with her. The other characters, as previously mentioned are her mamí and papí, who are Lupita’s parents and will also end up being very important to the book’s plot. Finally, the rest include Lupita’s seven younger siblings which are (in order by age): Analiza, Victoria, Paco--all born in Mexico, Tita, Juanita, Rosita, and her baby brother Benito--all of which born in the United States. The plot of the book, Under the Mesquite, is about Lupita, and her brand new challenges that she and her family members must face, all because of her mother’s cancer slowly developing within her. Overtime, she will have to learn how to overcome these decisions and how to accept change within the world and the events that are taking place, and soon will have to take on a new responsibility. McCall’s writing style is very unique when compared to many run-of-the-mill books, as it takes the reader through the massive journey that is of Lupita, with freeform poetry. With this unexpected decision, it still makes the best of it, with McCall, the writing is very descriptive, generating a nearly perfect atmosphere for every single event that takes place, all while giving us a good look at a majority of the main characters’ personalities. Overall, McCall is a very well experienced writing, taking us on a wonderful, descriptive journey through her writing. Here are some quotes from the book to show how well written this novel truly is: “The mesquites listens quietly-as if the poems budding in my heart, then blossoming in my notebook, are Scripture-and never tells a soul the things I write” “All the girls around me dropped their scarlet mouths wide-open, like a circle of Venus flytraps, and laughed hysterically at me” Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, is a very well made novel. Just by how simply lovely the description is in each part of the book makes it seem as if you are right in Lupita’s shoes and experiencing how she feels, all of the conflicts within her life, and the way Lupita and her family deals with her Mother's newfound cancer. The novel made me feel as if I was facing all of the hardships she’s facing, sometimes making me filled with glee, others with pity, and sometimes even sorrow. Overall, this book is nearly flawless, having amazing description of the situation. To conclude, her are some extra bits of fact that you might not of known about the author, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and the simply stunning novel that she has thought of: The novel’s plot is based of McCall’s real-life experience during her teenage years and all of the difficult barriers and challenges that came with this time in her life Under the Mesquite won the Pura Belprė Award in 2012 for creating a novel that best portrays, affirms, Latino cultural experience.
  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2011

    Gr 7 Up-This stunning debut novel in verse chronicles the teenage years of Lupita, a character drawn largely from the author's own childhood. Poised to enter her freshman year in high school, Lupita comfortably straddles the country of her birth, Mexico, and that of her family's adoptive country, the United States. She and her seven siblings live with their Mami, a gifted gardener and tender of her brood, and Papi, a hardworking construction worker. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, the disease begins to sap the family's lives both emotionally and financially. The simplicity of the story line belies the deep richness of McCall's writing. Lupita, a budding actress and poet, describes the new English words she learned as a child to be "like lemon drops, tart and sweet at the same time" and ears of corn as "sweating butter and painted with chili-powdered lime juice." Each phrase captures the essence of a moment or the depth of her pain. The power of Lupita's story lies also in the authenticity of her struggles both large and small, from dealing with her mother's illness to arguments with friends about acculturation. This book will appeal to many teens for different reasons, whether they have dealt with the loss of a loved one, aspire to write and act, are growing up Mexican American, or seeking their own identity amid a large family. Bravo to McCall for a beautiful first effort.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2013

    Gr 6 Up-This autobiographical novel in verse chronicles Lupita's coming of age set against the backdrop of her mother's cancer diagnosis. I love the way that the author begins with the diagnosis, and then follows up with a section of poems about her memories of growing up. She then returns to the present, and the final section deals tenderly with the loss of her mother, and the way her father helps the family through the crisis with quiet strength. This novel rightfully won the Pura Belpre Author Award and it deserves wide exposure. I particularly appreciate the glossary of names, Spanish words, and cultural references, which ties readers to the world of South Texas and the Latino culture that is so prevalent in that region.

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from August 15, 2011

    A resilient Mexican-American girl copes with familial obligation and loss in this free-verse novel.

    Drawing from her own teen years for inspiration, McCall highlights life in the borderlands: "En los Estados Unidos / I trained my tongue / and twisted syllables / to form words / that sounded hollow, / like the rain at midnight / dripping into tin pails / through the thatched roof / of our abuelita's house." Lupita's first-person tale captures pivotal moments of her high-school years in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, with glimpses back at her first six years in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. During her freshman year, Lupita discovers that her mother has cancer. While her mother fights the disease and her father struggles to support the family financially, Lupita sometimes becomes the de facto parental unit for her seven younger siblings. As she worries about food and money, Lupita experiences the typical troubles and triumphs of a teenage girl; her drama teacher, Mr. Cortez, helps her find an outlet for her talent and her pain. Meanwhile, family members continue to draw strength and support from each other on both sides of the border. With poignant imagery and well-placed Spanish, the author effectively captures the complex lives of teenagers in many Latino and/or immigrant families.

    A promising, deeply felt debut. (Spanish glossary) (Verse fiction. 12 & up)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Booklist

    October 1, 2011
    Grades 7-10 Like the mesquite tree of the title, Lupita is sturdy and able to survive harsh climates with great potential for recovering from stress. Told in verse sprinkled with Spanish terms (a glossary is included), this story of Lupita's high-school years details her increasing responsibility within her large Mexican American family after Mami is diagnosed with cancer. Caring for seven younger siblings, keeping up with schoolwork and her drama roles, and staying connected with her classmates and friends while the worries gnaw at her take their toll, but she is strong. There are also moments of intense vulnerability. As high-school graduation nears, Lupita sees that her mother may not be there for it: Suddenly I realize / how much I can't control, how much / I am not promised. The close-knit family relationships, especially Mami and Lupita's, are vividly portrayed, as is the healing comfort Lupita finds in words, whether written in her notebooks or performed onstage.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

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    Lee & Low Books
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Guadalupe García McCall
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