Grave Life

Everlasting Nora by by Marie Miranda Cruz was aptly titled for me because the time it took me to read this book seemed everlasting!  I don’t mean this in a mean way, but that it wasn’t a quick, light read.  I started this shortly after going to the JLG Day of Dialog and just finished it this past week.  It is a book rich in culture, family, friendship and the strength of the human spirit.

I think this book has a lot to offer, but might be a bit tough for some younger readers to get into without some background and enrichment along the way.  As an educator, I see the ways that someone could delve into all these important topics.  The author seems very conscious of teaching readers a lot of what she knows about Philippine culture.  Food and language are two strong components which would be fun to pair with actual samples, along with strong visuals of the area and people.

The story explores the struggles Nora must face with her mom after losing her dad in a house fire.   They are forced to make their home among the cities’ poorest folk in the cemetery shantytown right with her father’s tomb.  This would be difficult enough, but Nora’ mother has a gambling addiction which matches her up with some terrible people.  Nora, only a twelve-year-old girl, must stay strong through the ordeal that this creates and finds some true friendships along the way.

Overall, this is a well-written book with a lot to offer for a reader looking to learn.

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