Truth and Salsa
A spirited young girl must travel far from home to finally find herself. Mexico is a long way from Kalamazoo-and not just in terms of miles. Almost-thirteen-year-old Hayley Flynn is spending six months with her eccentric grandmother in the rural mountain town of San Miguel. Her father recently deserted the family and Hayley's mom needs time to, as she puts it, "work things through." Down in Mexico, everyone calls Hayley by her new, more glamorous chosen name, Margarita, and life is surprisingly exciting-exotic birds, beautiful butterflies, holidays, colorful fiestas, and new friends like Lili. Hayley and Lili even win parts as extras in a Hollywood movie being filmed in the town. But there are also difficult lessons to be learned. Poverty and unemployment send Lili's father and other men from the village to Michigan to work as migrant workers so they can send money back home to their anxious families. Meanwhile Hayley is on the lookout for la fantasma (the ghost) that is said to haunt her grandma's house. With Lili's help she solves the mystery-and prepares for a new life with her mom back in the States.
Family Relationships; Separation; Poverty; Kinship care; separated parents; living in poverty; grandmother raising granddaughter
mother, father, and grandmother
Society of School Librarians International Book Awards, 2006, Honor Book, Language Arts K-6 Novels
Mexico; migrant workers; ghost; animals
Lowery, Linda, "Truth and Salsa" (2009). Diverse Families. 1106.