Carmela Full of Wishes

I LOVE this book for its insightful take on a poignant issue: the impact of family separation. In the story, Carmela accompanies her brother on his chores, discovering a dandelion. Faced with the chance to make a wish, Carmela ponders deeply. Should her wish bring comfort to her mother, or fix her father's immigration status so he can join them in America? The book’s study guide is remarkable, providing kid-friendly explanations for complex terms such as 'migrant' and 'immigrant without documentation', a valuable tool for educators striving for inclusive communication.

Social Justice Activities:

Relevant Social Justice Standards:

Diversity 9. Students will respond to diversity by building empathy, respect, understanding and connection.

Diversity 10. Students will examine diversity in social, cultural, political and historical contexts rather than in ways that are superficial or oversimplified.

Justice 12. Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).

Justice 14. Students will recognize that power and privilege influence relationships on interpersonal, intergroup and institutional levels and consider how they have been affected by those dynamics.

Reading Strategies:

Character Analysis: 

Setting: Analyze the setting and highlight the beautiful diversity of communities. 

Irony: Examine Carmela's comment, "It's a free country," against the reality facing her father.

Teacher's Guide:

Book Details:
  • Fiction, All Ages
  • Perspectives: Separated family members who do not yet have immigration documents
  • Author's stated heritage: Mexican heritage, raised in California
  • Subject Integration: Art, Science

Book covers images are from publishers and in the public domain