Carmela Full of Wishes

I LOVE this book. It sheds light on an important issue- the impact of family separation. Carmela spends the day with her brother doing chores when she stumbles on a dandelion and learns that she needs to make a wish. She only has one dandelion so she needs to be very thoughtful about her wish- should she wish for her mother's comfort? Should she wish for her father's immigration papers to be "fixed" so he can live with them in America? The study guide with this book (linked below) is so excellent and provides kid-friendly definitions for words that we as educators struggle to define in appropriate and inclusive ways (migrant, immigrant without documentation...).

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