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Book Review
Jose B. Gonzalez

A Charmed Life: Una vida con suerte

Gladys E. Barbieri


Gladys E. Barbieri's A Charmed Life/Una vida con suerte is a timely and charming tale of a little girl who accompanies her mother to her job as a housecleaner. The story begins with the child stressing that she understands that she will have to behave that day as they travel by bus.  When the two finally arrive, the child's angst over sitting and coloring books while her mother works is best captured by the girl's comment, "I don't really like her headscarf."  She wanders around the home and is most impressed by a child's bedroom. She wanders outside, where she is met by the owner, who shares her great-grandparents' story of immigrating to the U.S. from Ireland.  She then gives the girl a bracelet, which has special meaning.

This is the type of book that can provide important perspective and hope for young children seeing the contrast in social classes and the antagonism that immigrants face. Rather than being depressed by what she sees and what her family does not have, the girl sees promise. One of the notable strengths of the book is the illustrations by Lisa Fields. Whether it's the facial expressions and features that highlight the emotions of characters, or the grand way that house and outdoors are depicted, one can't help but like they are part of the story.  This is another of a long line of well-written and well-illustrated Pinata Books by Arte Publico Press.


Jose B. Gonzalez is the author of the poetry collection, Toys Made of Rock and is the editor of LatinoStories.Com.


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Copyright 2016 design and content by John S. Christie and Jose B. Gonzalez
Copyright 2006 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature, Pearson Education, Inc.
Copyright 2006 Latino Fiction and the Modernist Imagination, John S. Christie