Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

IMG_E2798.JPG

Marcus has given himself an identity based on the opinions of classmates (pretty much the fact that he is incredibly, magnificently tall) and his role in his family (protector of his older brother who has Down Syndrome) in his hometown of Springfield, Pennsylvania.  However as he, his mother, and brother travel to Puerto Rico (visiting family he never knew he had and searching for a father he hasn’t communicated with in ten years) he allows his identity to deepen with his roots. Identity is a huge topic in YA/Adult Lit. but rarely given the attention it deserves in Juvenile Fiction.  It was nice to see the conversation expanding to a younger demographic in this novel. Identity is important to every individual, no matter the age. I liked that the novel was able to address the idea of being in two vastly different worlds:Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico and how a Tween can be both!

Recommended Age: 10 years old and up.
For Those That Liked: “Listen, Slowly”, “The Night Diary”, “Louisiana’s Way Home”, “The Stars Beneath Our Feet”

Yoga Pose: Krounchasana (Heron Pose):
*Kneel on your mat with your knees together, separate your feet slightly wider than hip width (if this is painful on the tops of your feet or your knees, kneel on a thin blanket, you may also be more comfortable with the knees remaining hips distance apart).
*Bend lower in your knees as you lean forward to place your hands behind you on your calves:  Pull your calf muscles away from your knees as you lower to sit on the floor between your feet.
*Place your hands on your knees and draw the skin on the knees back towards your thighs.

Next Level:
*Slowly lower yourself down to rest on your hands (placed behind your hips, fingertips pointing towards your feet), your forearms, or all the way down to rest on your back.
OR:
* Straighten the right leg out in front of you before bending the knee and placing the foot on the floor, just in front of the right sitting bone. Place your right arm against the inside of the right leg (so that your shoulder presses against the inner knee). Cross your hand in front of the right ankle and grasp the outside of the right foot. Finally grasp the inside of the right foot with your left hand.
* Lean back slightly, but maintain a lift of the chest. Raise the right leg diagonally to the floor.
*Lower right leg gently to the floor before releasing the left leg into Dandasana (Staff Pose).