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Alamo Wars


An entertaining novel for young adults that challenges readers to look at both sides of a conflict. The death of a very dedicated teacher prompts her colleagues to present a play (written by the teacher). Many challenges present themselves as teachers & students find that putting on a play is not as easy as it looks.
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Alamo Wars

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An entertaining novel for young adults that challenges readers to look at both sides of a conflict. The death of a very dedicated teacher prompts her colleagues to present a play (written by the teacher). Many challenges present themselves as teachers & students find that putting on a play is not as easy as it looks.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathryn Erskine
The story's premise, that teachers would want to put on a culturally insensitive play, is a stretch even if the cause—to honor their recently deceased colleague who wrote it—is honorable. It is hard enough to believe that teachers in a Texas middle school do not understand any Spanish but that they would insist on making students speak in stereotypical, degrading accents to sound "Mexicanish" is too much of a stretch. The solution at the end to say the lines in Spanish is so obvious and yet just a spur-of-the-moment thought by one of the characters, that it does not feel as satisfying as it could have. Too many stories are introduced and unanswered—such as one teacher's attraction to the new young English teacher—or disappointingly resolved—such as when the girl who decides that acting in the play is a sellout then decides it is okay because it will earn money for her friend's mom who already made the costumes. The story's focus on the teachers' perspectives and their day to day lives and meetings may be of less interest to readers than the perspective of the students, who are interesting characters. The bullying is appropriately left partially resolved and the book does show the limited role school officials can play in solving the situation. Spanish phrases are nicely interwoven and give the book a good feel of time and place. Those looking for similar themes might like to try books by Julia Alvarez, Viola Canales, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Gary Soto. Reviewer: Kathryn Erskine
School Library Journal

Gr 6-8- Villareal takes on several important themes including illegal immigration, bullying, parent/teacher relationships, and bilingualism. When a beloved English teacher dies, her colleagues decide to honor her by naming the school auditorium after her. For the dedication celebration, they plan to have the seventh graders perform a play that she had written long ago. However, Miss Mac's take on the Battle of the Alamo turns out to be a racist, narrow-minded perspective, which does not go over well with the Hispanic students. Aspiring boxer Marco Díaz; his friend Izzy Peña; and Raquel Flores, an undocumented Mexican immigrant, face bullies while battling the ingrained attitudes of the community. When Sandy Martínez, the new Latina English teacher, raises questions about the script and a known bully being given a part because his father agrees to build the set, she's told by a veteran teacher: "There are times when we have to do things...that might not seem right or just. But we do them for the greater good...." The author sprinkles Spanglish throughout the novel, giving it a true mixed-heritage feeling. Though the ending is somewhat corny and the undocumented-worker angle takes a backseat to other story lines, Villareal does raise questions about what it means to be an illegal immigrant. He also shows how children sometimes blindly parrot their parents' ideas and bad habits. Ultimately, many of the characters-and readers-learn that there can be more than one truth, more than one point of view.-Terrilyn Fleming, Colby Public Schools, KS

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558855137
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Pages: 187
  • Age range: 11 years
  • Lexile: 650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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