Me in the Middle

Me in the Middle

by Ana Maria Machado, Caroline Merola
     
 

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One day Isabel finds a box in her mother's closet, and inside the box is a photograph of a girl dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Ten-year-old Bel is enchanted to discover that the girl is her great-grandmother, her Bisa Bea, and that she and her great-grandmother look very much alike.
Bel convinces her mother to let her borrow the treasured photo. To keep her

Overview


One day Isabel finds a box in her mother's closet, and inside the box is a photograph of a girl dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Ten-year-old Bel is enchanted to discover that the girl is her great-grandmother, her Bisa Bea, and that she and her great-grandmother look very much alike.
Bel convinces her mother to let her borrow the treasured photo. To keep her Bisa Bea close to her heart, she tucks the picture inside the waistband of her shorts but she soon discovers, the picture is missing.
Suddenly it is as if Bisa Bea is alive inside her, telling Bel what life was like when she was a girl but then Bisa Bea starts to tell her how to behave. Bel learns that her great-grandmother lived at a time where girls were expected to be proper young ladies.
She argues with her grandmother and another voice comes into her head, encouraging her to stand up for herself and telling her what it means to be a modern girl.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ana Maria Machado, winner of the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Award, tells of a 10-year-old girl who becomes possessed by competing voices after finding a photo of her great-grandmother in Me in the Middle, trans. by David Unger, illus. in b&w by Caroline Merola. The first voice belongs to her Bisa Bea, who tells Bel stories of long ago but also tries to correct her behavior; the second helps Bel find her strength. First published in Brazil in 1982. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ten-year-old Isabel discovers a photograph of her great-grandmother Bisa Bea and feels an immediate bond with her. When she loses the photograph, she becomes possessed by her great-grandmother. The two of them have mostly silent conversations about how life today differs from Bisa Bea's time. Bisa Bea does not understand the freedoms of young people today and tries to force Isabel to conform to old mores. Bel then finds a third voice has entered her head, a voice from the future, her own great-granddaughter. Nieta Beta is even more freethinking than Bel, forcing Bel to determine what is right for her. A slight plot dealing with typical friendship and puppy love problems overlays over the "mind" travel. Machado, the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Award winner, wrote this book in 1982. It does not stand up well over time. The book is mostly a listing of the way of life in Bisa Bea's time, with Bel asking questions and Bisa Bea answering. Perhaps if Bisa digressed into stories of her life this would be more palatable. Unfortunately, it is little more than a listing of clothes, machines, and customs. 2002 (orig. 1982), Groundwood Books,
— Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Bel, not yet 13, is entranced by a photo of her great-grandmother as a girl, whom she resembles. She carries the picture close to her heart and experiences Bisa Bea as living inside her, telling about life at the turn of the 20th century in Brazil. Trouble starts when the woman begins to offer her opinion about how girls should act-they should dress well and be quiet and coy around boys. When great-grandmother actually manipulates a situation to test the chivalry of Bel's boyfriend, the girl loses patience. Now the voice of her future great-granddaughter begins to advise her as well, but Bel decides to control her own life. The final chapter features a new character, a classmate recently returned to Brazil from political exile with his family in various countries. He tells stories his grandfather told about the days when slavery was accepted in the country. The writing is mainly light and breezy, and is interspersed with black-and-white illustrations. The ideas of recognizing the past, caring about the future, and being yourself in the present are skillfully integrated into a familiar picture of a present-day child's home and school life. The ending is a bit preachy and forced, but balanced out by Bel's spunkiness and the light humor throughout.-Jean Gaffney, Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Miamisburg, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888994677
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
02/05/2003
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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