Far From Gringo Land
Sunday, May 20, 2012
by: Amy Olson

Section: Young Adult Book Reviews

April 2010 Newsletter

Reviewed by Amy Olson, Children's/Teen Librarian, Lexington, KY

Seventeen-year-old Rich Dresner leaves Colorado to spend his summer helping old family friends complete their home in the barrio of Santo Domingo, Mexico.  Based on the author’s personal experiences, the well-paced novel does a fantastic job conveying what it takes to literally build a house by hand, and how a teen from the States would react to hard manual labor.  The book also superbly defies the stereotypes that ‘Mexicans are lazy.’ Unfortunately, the flipping between English and Spanish languages is stilted, giving the impression that the Spanish is used only to introduce new vocabulary to a high school Spanish language learner, rather than to emphasize the culture and/or Rick’s experiences.  Having said this, however, high school Spanish language learners will benefit from reading this book to improve their vocabulary and the pace does not seriously impact the overall effect of the novel. Recommended.

Far From Gringo Land. Edward Myers. Boston: Clarion Books, 2009. 229 pp. $17.00 (Hardcover). ISBN 978-0-547-05630-2. Grades 7 and up. English with some Spanish

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