We know as educators that trauma has lasting effects. The physical signs may disappear, but emotional scars can last a lifetime. In Lucky Broken Girl, Ruth Behar tells her own story of trauma in childhood that still affects her today. Lucky Broken Girl won the 2018 Pura Belpre Award for its portrayal of the Latino/Latina cultural experience.
Ruthie Mizrahi’s family came to the United States from Cuba in the 1960s after Castro came to power. They settle in New York City in an apartment complex that hosts immigrants from all over the world. In this book, Ruthie befriends people from Belgium, India, Mexico, and the United States. This is truly a multicultural story. The primary focus of the book is on Ruthie’s long recovery after a car accident. She is confined to her bed for close to a year and struggles to maintain the positive perspective that she originally had when arriving in the United States.
Ruthie struggles to see the world as a safe place after her accident. She only begins to recognize her own strength with the help of family and friends who are also new immigrants to this country. By helping Ruthie, they also start to see themselves in new ways. This book highlights many cultural identities and traditions that all come together to support Ruthie in some way. Late elementary and middle school classroom teachers might use this book to challenge students to learn more about their own identities and those of others.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Identity 1: I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and describe our various group identities.
Identity 3: I know that all my group identities are part of who I am, but none of them fully describes me and this is true for other people too.
RL.2- Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
RL.3- Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
RL.4- Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
RL.6- Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.
W.3- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.