By Alma Flor Ada & Gabriel M. Zubizarreta
Atheneum • 2012 • 127 pages
Love, Amalia is an arrow aimed right at the heart of upper-elementary grade school girls. Sixth-grader Amalia is heartbroken when her BFF Martha unexpectedly shares news of her family’s imminent move from Chicago to California. Amalia’s beloved abuelita offers encouraging words about staying in touch with those far away; after all, her own children—Amalia’s aunts and uncles—are as far removed as Mexico and Costa Rica. But Amalia’s travail only increases when Abuelita suddenly passes away.
Read Related: Remembering The Cuentos We Grew Up With
The sorrowful girl’s healing begins when her entire family gathers for her grandmother’s funeral, and Amalia begins to understand how lucky she was to have had her grandmother close at hand for as long as she did. The circle truly begins to close when Amalia inherits her grandmother’s stationery box and discovers within it the letters her aunts and uncles wrote to their mother over the years. Sweet and tender-hearted, with none of the casual and trendy cynicism that frequently jars in contemporary fiction, Love, Amalia will endear itself to its intended audience.
[Editor’s note: Love, Amalia is also available in a Spanish edition, entitled Con cariño, Amalia.]
—Reviewed by Coop Renner, Retired Librarian