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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Star in the Forest* by Laura Resau- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Laura Resau:

The Indigo Notebook

Red Glass
Star in the Forest
by Laura Resau
Grades 4-8 160 pages Delacorte March 2010 Hardcover    

Zitlally’s father knows an ancient language that he whispers to her. Her very name comes from that language; it means star. Zitlally tells no one about her father’s secret language, just as she tells no one that she and her family are undocumented immigrants. She doesn’t tell anyone that she struggles to copy her best friends’ clothes, slang and actions. Zitlally’s entire life, in fact, depends on secrets.

On her eleventh birthday, Zitlally’s father is deportado – sent back to Mexico—leaving his family to survive as best they can in Forest View Mobile Home Park. Zitlally’s mom works extra hours as a waitress and takes in boarders to help pay the bills, but there is no way to make up for the joy and safety her father provided.

Everything is different now. Zitlally’s friends aren’t as loyal as she’d thought, and the creepy neighbor girl, Crystal, suddenly becomes her partner in a mission to rescue an abandoned dog. It soon becomes clear that the three of them are all living made-up lives in one way or another, and each could disappear without warning.

The book concludes with glossaries of both Spanish and Nahuatl words, as well as a brief explanation of immigration and the reasons so many people arrive in the United States without documentation. It’s a big story in the news these days, and this thoughtful examination is clear and objective.

Laura Resau writes a clean, piercing narrative without padding or fluff to fill pages. Her spare sentences are juxtaposed with Zitlally’s complicated world. The topic of undocumented immigrants is inherent, but it isn’t the focus of Star in the Forest . Rather, Resau gently guides readers through Zitlally’s story as she struggles to find her own place in a world where nothing is exactly what it seems to be, including her own existence.
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  Deborah Adams/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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