The Other Half of Happy stars Quijana, a half-Latina, half-Anglo seventh grader who does not speak Spanish, does not like Don Quixote, and is definitely not going to Guatemala for Christmas! Join Quijana as she navigates life in the Guatemalan-American hyphen and discovers her missing half.
Quijana’s journey to understand herself better and how she fits between two cultures is authentic and relatable to readers of all backgrounds, and her language struggles will particularly hit home for some. With Rebecca Balcárcel’s lyrical language, Quijana’s voice feels both fresh and familiar. A beautiful coming of age story.” —Hena Khan, author of Amina’s Voice
Along with pieces called “breathtaking” by Naomi Shihab Nye, these poems twirl their skirts as they explore bi-cultural identity, growing up, a young mother’s struggles, and the limits of language. Half Latina and half Anglo, the speaker worries about “black-topped boys with butterscotch skin” who whistle at her, but loves how flowers “explode into curls of crepe.”
Paperback published by Pecan Grove Press, 2009.
E-version available as free download here AND it includes a Teacher’s Guide at the back: Palabras in Each Fist