Grades PreK - 3
Grade level Equivalent: Not Available
Lexile Measure®: Not Available
DRA: Not Available
Guided Reading: Not Available
- Family Life
- Hispanic and Latin American
- Social Studies through Literature
About This Book
This tender story of the enduring bond between mother and daughter introduces 4- to 8-year-old readers to the beauty and hardships of Mexican life in the 1950s and the personal sacrifices the poor often have to make to survive.
Erandi and her mother are native Tarascans who live in a fishing village in the Mexican hills. Erandi, whose long, black, waist-length braids are a prize among the women in her village, is looking forward to her upcoming birthday, and Mama is planning a surprise. But when Erandi's birthday comes, Mama must find money to buy a new fishing net to replace the old one filled with holes. Without the fishing net, Mama and Erandi cannot make ends meet.
Mama learns that the hair merchants have come to town to buy hair for wigs. Mama and Erandi go to the barber, but Mama's hair is too short to bring in any money. Will Erandi cut her long braids to sell to the merchants?
dePaola's warm colors reflect the depth of the characters' love for each other, the richness of the Mexican landscape, and the simplicity of rural life. The trade of human hair for money (a common practice among Mexican women five decades ago) and its impact upon the characters is realistically but delicately portrayed. Young readers will feel Erandi's and her mother's pride and their sudden anguish when faced with a difficult decision.