Title: The Upside Down Boy
Author: Juan Felipe Herrera
Illustrator: Elizabeth Gomez
Publisher and Year: Children’s Book Press, 2000
Number of pages: 30
Tags/Themes: Spanish, Language, Listening, Family, Agriculture, Picture Book, Emotion, 2-3, 4-5, Diversity, Bilingual, Olivia Ruff
Genre: Memoir and Bilingual
Descriptive Annotation: This is a memoir by the author, Juan Felipe Herrera of the time when his family moved into the city and he started school. He was unsure about the ways of school, but he found comfort in music through singing. He proudly displays his talents to his family at home, and he grows in confidence with the support of the teacher and his family. The story is told in both English and Spanish. The language used is somewhat flowery, similar to language used in poetry.
Classroom Application: This book would be good to use in an ELL or ESL classroom. It is helpful to have the second language in the book. The language used in somewhat advanced, and students who know both English and Spanish would enjoy this book more. This book is a memoir, so this could be incorporated into an English lesson on memoirs as well.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book is a memoir, so this would be another opportunity for students to learn about a different literary form. The language in the book is beautiful and poetic, making it different from other children’s stories. The book challenges students to think about the aspects of a change in lifestyle for Spanish speaking students as they become accustomed to schools where English is mainly spoken. Quotations: “That year we were living in the mountains by Lake Wolfer, a glassy world full of sky colors” (2) and “If I learn the English words will my voice reach the ceiling, weave through it like grape vines?” (9).