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Immigrants, Belonging, and Life Dreams in Highly Engaging Chapter Book for Ages 9-13

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Engaging Story of A Cuban Family and Their Life Dreams in the Ballet World

Life lessons and a history of Cuban relations with the United States are part of this engaging chapter book for ages 9-13

Life lessons and a history of Cuban relations with the United States are part of this engaging chapter book for ages 9-13

Life Lessons Learned as an Immigrant and History or Cuban Relations With the US

Emma Otheguy's engaging chapter book Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene is a delightful story of a young Cuban girl in New York who has a dream of being a part of her family's reputation as a star ballet performer. Sofia begins to learn that there are always difficulties with being an immigrant and becomes determined to make a difference for all immigrants after all that she learns.

Sofia's family background is that of being notable ballet performers in Cuba. They immigrated to New York City and Sofia has a chance to perform in The Nutcracker for the Christmas holidays. She must work hard and along the way, she begins to learn about the hardships that immigrants have faced in the past when they have immigrated from Cuba. Sofia is never sure whether to act as an American or as a Cuban as she interacts with her fellow students. She discovers that one of her teachers is also an immigrant from Ireland. He is about to receive his citizenship and Sofia along with others is excited to plan a party to celebrate his citizenship.

She also plans to incorporate ideas to post at the party in order to help other immigrants. Sofia wants to make a difference for other immigrants for their future.

Young readers will also learn about the history of Cuban relations with the United States beginning in the 60's. Otheguy includes major historical facts throughout the story that are quite interesting.

Sofia also must keep a secret about what one of the dancer's from Cuba plans to do when the dance group comes to the States. Young readers will find this to be a page-turner to discover how the secret turns out.

A special feature of Otheguy's chapter book is that she includes conversations between the characters in Spanish. Young readers might find this feature to be an inspiration to learn Spanish as a second language.

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Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene was published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin/Random House. It is recommended for ages 9-13 and has an ISBN of 978-0-593-3763-0.

Bring Sofia Into the Classroom for a Variety of Activties

Teachers who teach language arts or history will want to add Emma Otheguy's chapter book Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene to their classroom library. This engaging story has a wealth of ideas to incorporate into fun learning activities for young readers. I especially like the historical facts about Cuban relations with the United States beginning in the 1960's. History lessons for young readers can be challenging and sometimes boring if just included in a history book. The history lesson that is part of Sofia's story makes learning about this important relationship between our countries more digestible for for young readers.

*Read Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene as a chapter book in your classroom with reading a chapter of two each day. Children enjoy reading chapter books aloud to share and practice their skill in reading aloud to others.

*Call attention to Sofia as a Cuban immigrant along with her family. Are there any immigrants in your school or classroom?

*What are some of the ideas that Sofia plans to include in her poster to help other immigrants at the party that she is planning for her teacher who is going to receive his citizenship?

*Provide a globe for students to locate Cuba on the map. Take the opportunity to study the history of Cuban relations with the United States while reading the story.

*Call attention to the conversations between characters when they speak Spanish with each other. Invite students to begin to learn Spanish as a part of the class activities. Provide Spanish tapes, dictionaries, and other tools to learn beginning Spanish.

*Call attention to the secret that Sofia must keep in order for one of the Cuban dancer's to be successful in their plan to stay in the United States when the ballet company comes to New York. Take a class poll of students who think that she is a good friend to keep this secret.

© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

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