Lucky Broken Girl

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luckybrokengirl.jpgI read Lucky Broken Girl (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017) by Ruth Behar before the announcement that Ruth won the well deserved 2018 Pura Belpré Author Award. This historical novel is based on the author's own experience of being in a body cast for almost a year. One of the things this story set in the 60's did for me was make me grateful for medical advancements.

Fifth grader Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have emigrated from Cuba. Hear her voice in the opening two lines: "When we lived in Cuba, I was smart. But when we got to Queens, in New York City, in the United States of America, I became dumb, just because I couldn't speak English."

However, Ruthie is a fighter and an encourager. She makes friends with another student who is from India who is also "not dumb." She gets the teacher to agree to them both being promoted to the smart class. She's also the hopscotch queen in her neighborhood and has even talked her father into a pair of go go boots.

But then the family is in a terrible car accident and Ruthie is put in a body cast. She is pretty discouraged--she's alone so much and afraid. Surprisingly, in time her life improves. The question remains though: will she ever walk again?

Amazingly enough this is Ruth Behar's debut novel. Ruth is also a cultural anthropologist. Read more about her here. And read about the other honors and lists, etc. for this book here.

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