Note: This post is part of a series on School Library Media/Materials for a course
Pena, M. de la (2008). Mexican whiteboy. New York: Delacorte.
Sixteen year old Danny Lopez searches for his identity amidst the confusion of being half-Mexican and half-white while spending the summer with his cousin and new friends on the baseball fields and back alleys of National City, California. Danny finds himself straddling two lives, the life at home with his white mother and the life he desperately wants with his father’s Mexican family. The story also delves into the life of Uno, a half-black, half-Mexican boy from National City who struggles with some of the same identity issues as Danny. Over the summer both Danny and Uno learn who they are and who they want to be. It is a story of friendship, acceptance, and identity.
Mexican WhiteBoy provides readers glimpse at lives of teens living in a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood in San Diego County California. This title is especially interesting because the two main characters, Danny and Uno are both multiracial and the story explores the issues of identity that comes with this experience. Many of the individuals who identify as Hispanic in New Mexico are multiracial, but identify as Hispanic alone. Many teens and young adults who are multiracial would find this book relevant to their own experiences of being multiracial and struggling to fit in. Another aspect of this title that is significant is that the main character, Danny, uses a form of cutting (digging his nails into his arm) to cope with his identity issues. Though it is not a main aspect of the story, I feel that it is important to note. This title has also been identified as a title for reluctant readers.
English/Language Arts Standards:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Links to supporting content:
Subjects/themes: Identity, multiculturalism, multiracial families, Coming of Age