Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle

by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Eleven-year-old Ana María lives in a cramped apartment in Washington Heights... read more

Eleven-year-old Ana María lives in a cramped apartment in Washington Heights with her parents and three sisters, with another baby on the way. Ana María hopes to get a full scholarship to a private girls’ school by impressing them with her academic prowess and her skills at playing the piano. But prospects of attending the school have made her aware of everything she doesn’t have in terms of material things, making her resent the coming baby and some of the other choices her parents have made. When her family travels to the Dominican Republic to attend her aunt’s wedding, Ana María is struck by the economic disparities between her aunt’s affluent lifestyle and the lives of many of her less fortunate relatives. Ana María also finds it unsettling to see how her aunt, whom she’s always admired, treats the girl Ana María’s age who works for her. It gives Ana María pause. Ana María’s growth comes in fits and starts in this warm, realistic story. There is no magic transformation but she does slowly gain a deeper understanding of her own privilege and things that really matter even as it remains an easy, breezy middle-grade novel, one full of humor, cultural authenticity, and surprising depth. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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