Each tiny spark

Pablo Cartaya

Book - 2019

Sixth-grader Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling abuela, her mother's work commitments, her father's distance after returning from deployment, evolving friendships, and a conflict over school redistricting.

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Children's Room jFICTION/Cartaya Pablo Due Oct 4, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York : Kokila [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
315 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780451479723
0451479726
Main Author
Pablo Cartaya (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

If you've ever wondered how it is inside the mind of a person with inattentive type ADHD, this book offers a peek. Emilia Rosa struggles with her distractibility, but when something interests her, like tinkering with old cars or the controversies surrounding some district rezoning in her Georgia town, she latches on and digs deep. Her middle-school social studies project on local tourism brings out the activist in her, leading to a chain reaction that causes some minor hullaballoo in her school. Meanwhile, Emilia is trying to reconnect with her father, who's home from active duty; missing her mother, who's working away from home; and struggling to understand her abuela. This story covers themes like honoring your roots, seeking the truth, cultivating empathy, and being a good communicator. Besides a look at a distractible thinker's thought processes, this book also offers insight on the immigrant experience. For Emilia, all it takes is one, tiny spark to get the ball rolling, and plenty of kids will relate to her passion and perseverance. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

If you've ever wondered how it is inside the mind of a person with inattentive type ADHD, this book offers a peek. Emilia Rosa struggles with her distractibility, but when something interests her, like tinkering with old cars or the controversies surrounding some district rezoning in her Georgia town, she latches on and digs deep. Her middle-school social studies project on local tourism brings out the activist in her, leading to a chain reaction that causes some minor hullaballoo in her school. Meanwhile, Emilia is trying to reconnect with her father, who's home from active duty; missing her mother, who's working away from home; and struggling to understand her abuela. This story covers themes like honoring your roots, seeking the truth, cultivating empathy, and being a good communicator. Besides a look at a distractible thinker's thought processes, this book also offers insight on the immigrant experience. For Emilia, all it takes is one, tiny spark to get the ball rolling, and plenty of kids will relate to her passion and perseverance. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Tension ignites in this layered, culturally rich novel set in an Atlanta suburb when Cuban-American Emilia's software developer mother leaves on a business trip just as her father returns from military deployment. Cartaya (Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish) sensitively portrays how this upheaval amplifies the 12-year-old's Inattentive Type ADHD—without her mother's support, Emilia struggles to cope with assignments, friendships, and devoted but controlling Abuela. Amid this turmoil, Emilia and her father bond over welding, but the girl doesn't comprehend his mood swings, which she gradually comes to understand as PTSD. Cartaya deftly sketches her family's variable takes on Emilia's heritage—her abuela touts their European roots and Emilia's fair skin, while her mother highlights her Yoruba ancestry—and seamlessly weaves Spanish into the narrative. As a school project awakens Emilia's awareness of her town, she takes an interest in timely immigration issues as well as economic and racial prejudices around proposed school redistricting, and she comes to recognize and confront a friend's bigotry. The narrative appropriately tackles tough topics with grace through the lens of this memorable heroine. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media.(Aug.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–7—There's a lot going on in Emilia Torres's life. On the day her mom leaves town for a job interview, her dad gets home from a long deployment and something isn't quite right with him. Abuela is trying to run her life, Emilia has an unusual type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and, worst of all, a class assignment splits students down the middle and creates a rift between kids who have been friends for years. As difficult as it is for her to focus, can Emilia figure out how to placate her grandmother and help her dad heal while standing up against injustice? Cartaya excels at showing realistic tween drama—no explosions, jumping off cliffs, or magic fairies here. However, there's a lot going on, and it may be as hard for younger readers to keep track of everything as it is for Emilia. Although Emilia's problems are not all neatly resolved by the last page, she grows stronger as she moves forward, which is an inspiring conclusion for readers facing their own complicated life situations. VERDICT Hand to tween fans of realistic fiction, especially those who have enjoyed Cartaya's earlier books.—Elizabeth Friend, Wester Middle School, TX Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Sixth-grader Emilia Torres struggles with ADHD, her controlling abuela, her mother's work commitments, her father's distance after returning from deployment, evolving friendships, and a conflict over school redistricting.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A young girl who struggles with attention-deficit challenges finds her world further complicated when her father returns from deployment and shuts himself away from their family. By the award-winning author of The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From award-winning author Pablo Cartaya comes a deeply moving middle grade novel about a daughter and father finding their way back to each other in the face of their changing family and community.A SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARD HONOR FOR MIDDLE GRADEEmilia Torres has a wandering mind. It's hard for her to follow along at school, and sometimes she forgets to do what her mom or abuela asks. But she remembers what matters: a time when her family was whole and home made sense. When Dad returns from deployment, Emilia expects that her life will get back to normal. Instead, it unravels.Dad shuts himself in the back stall of their family's auto shop to work on an old car. Emilia peeks in on him daily, mesmerized by his welder. One day, Dad calls Emilia over. Then, he teaches her how to weld. And over time, flickers of her old dad reappear.But as Emilia finds a way to repair the relationship with her father at home, her community ruptures with some of her classmates, like her best friend, Gus, at the center of the conflict. Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya is a tender story about asking big questions and being brave enough to reckon with the answers.