Me in the Middle
by Ana Maria Machado, published 2002
“We speak the same language, but sometimes it’s hard to believe. Some things have changed so much that it’s hard for us to understand each other at all.”
Finally — a multicultural story to enrich my list of children’s books. This book reminds me how much we deprive children of interesting experiences when we don’t invite them into other worlds.
Me in the Middle reads as if it were set anywhere, though the author is Brazilian and probably wrote it as a children’s book for her own country. It is very well translated, keeping enough of the flavor of Brazil with names and places, and yet very accessible to English readers. The concept is also extremely interesting… the idea that we carry within us both the past and the future is a somewhat sophisticated idea. However, this children’s book simply presents a young girl’s experience, letting us see for ourselves what it might feel like.
I would personally use this book in a classroom setting, when children are exploring history, and how customs and traditions change from generation to generation. However, it is a fun children’s book to read on its own merits. Again, with a girl heroine, it’s unlikely boys will relate to it, sigh…