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The Other Half of Happy: (Middle Grade Novel for Ages 9-12, Bilingual Tween Book) (Hardcover)
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2020 Pura Belpré Honor Book
A Junior Library Guild Selection
ALSC Notable Children's Book
2020 Jean Flynn Award for Best Middle Grade Book
2020 Spirit of Texas Reading Program Recommended Title
This immersive and beautifully written novel follows the story of Quijana, a girl in pieces.
Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole.
This is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.
• Lyrical middle grade debut from author Rebecca Balcárcel
• A diverse and family-centered story that resonates with anyone who remembers, or is going through, growing pains
• Inclusively embraces real life experiences with biracial, autistic, and gay characters
One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana's Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn't know more about her family's heritage.
One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she's found true friends. But she can't help the growing feelings she has for Jayden.
One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what's going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother.
• A wonderful gift for bilingual and bicultural readers, introspective tweens and teens, and parents and educators
• Perfect for those who love the heart of Matt de la Peña, the honesty of Meg Medina, and the poetry of Kate DiCamillo
• Add it to the shelf with books like We Were Here by Matt de la Peña, Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
About the Author
Rebecca Balcárcel received the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and her work has appeared in journals such as the North American Review. She is an associate professor of English at Tarrant County College. She lives in Bedford, Texas.
"Lyrical and heartfelt, this poetic debut novel will speak to anyone who has felt like they live between the 'categories' of our world."-A Mighty Girl
"Balcárcel's well-rounded characters, complex friendships, and nuanced family dynamics will resonate with many readers. This is a title that will remain relevant long past its publication date. A must-have for all library collections." — School Library Journal, starred review
"A lovely, moving, and realistic view of the struggles and insecurities—as well as the beauty—that comes from being bicultural."—Booklist, starred review
"Rebecca Balcárcel has written a powerful story that seeps into the spaces where language and heritage meet family and new discoveries. The Other Half Of Happy strikes all the right chords, bridging a gap and stretching open arms to readers looking for home in both familiar and unfamiliar places. Bravely told, with notes of vulnerability, brevity, and hope, this is a story that invites quiet courage to speak love, regardless of your native language." —Beth Hautala, author of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things
"Rebecca Balcárcel has penned a touching and oh-so-satisfying story featuring a fierce and tender new Latinx super star, Quijana Carrillo! Quijana will capture your heart with her defiant spirit and unwavering love for friends and family." —Angela Cervantes, author of Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
"The palpable push-and-pull of Quijana's yearning for her father's homeland, Guatemala, will propel readers through this poetic, deeply affecting debut." —Jenn Bishop, author of The Distance to Home
"Quijana's journey to understand herself better and how she fits between two cultures is authentic and relatable to readers of all backgrounds, and her language struggles will particularly hit home for some. With Rebecca Balcárcel's lyrical language, Quijana's voice feels both fresh and familiar. A beautiful coming of age story." —Hena Khan, author of Amina's Voice