Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene

Knopf. Feb. 2022. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593372630.
Gr 3-6–Fifth grader Sofîa has grown up in a “ballet” family that lives and breathes dance. Her parents danced under Cuban prima ballerina Alicia Alonso before immigrating to New York and becoming dance teachers; her older sister Regina is a dance prodigy planning to join the American Ballet Theatre; and even her younger brother Manuel is a natural-born dancer. Sofîa worries she won’t have a place in her family without dance, and it seems she doesn’t possess the family talent. While preparing for the yearly Nutcracker dance, Sofîa discovers she loves costume design more than dance itself, and she is forced to grapple with what that means within her family. Meanwhile, family friend, Yolanda, and her son Alvaro come from Cuba to dance with The Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and they stay with Sofîa’s family. While there, Alvaro confides that he may secretly defect to America, and Sofîa must decide where her loyalties lie. She starts noticing discrimination and racism within her neighborhood, and even in her friend circle. Sofîa’s tale is one of family, finding one’s voice, and standing up for personal beliefs, all the while staying true to a young person’s myriad of emotions with friendships and oneself. As Sofîa grows emotionally, she will discover that family ties are unbreakable, though they may certainly be stretched. Readers’ love of Sofîa will grow through her plight.
VERDICT An important and honest look at immigration, racial inequities, and understanding how one person can make a difference. Recommended for middle grade fiction collections.

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