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August 16, 2009
In a difficult economy, people have to make tough choices, sometimes resulting in the uprooting of an entire family and way of life in the search of something better. There have been many Puerto Rican families making this choice, where moving to the United States is the best option, even if their children are too young, too old, or not fully bilingual. For some, the decision is a wise one, but for many, it results in a journey of self discovery and a struggle to remain true to their roots.
I would like to offer you a young adult a novel titled “In-Between”, where a boy’s life in Puerto Rico is abruptly interrupted by his mother’s announcement that she has been offered a new job at a children’s hospital in Orlando, Florida. He and his father make a show of openly supporting this opportunity but there are a few problems: his father barely speaks English; the girl the boy has a crush on has finally noticed him; and his grandmother might not have too long to live.Can they really leave everything behind?
The question is not easily answered. As the family gets acquainted with their new surroundings and culture, the father’s self-esteem takes a crushing blow and the boy is placed in something called ESOL, an English class for “people like him”, which is not held in one of the classrooms in the school building but far away, in a broken down portable behind the basketball courts. The boy and his father try to leave their problems on the porch of their new house, but it gets harder to ignore the claws of despair that are threatening to tear down the front door. Just when they think they can survive it, things get more complicated thanks to a little girl, the principal, and someone lurking outside their house.
This novel has romance, mystery and strife. It will explore the challenges of a Puerto Rican family living for the first time in the United States and the difficulties of being categorized an ESOL student. As an ESOL teacher, I know the many difficulties these students face. Many times they do not understand why they are there placed and feel they are treated differently than the rest. The ordeals the boy goes through will reflect these experiences and address some very difficult questions about ESOL.
I hope this idea interests you, and look forward to your response. If you would like to read the first five chapters, I can send them to you at a moment’s notice. Thank you for your time; I hope to speak with you soon.