Review of Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene

Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene
by Emma Otheguy
Intermediate    Knopf    288 pp.    g
1/22    978-0-593-37263-0    $16.99
Library ed.  978-0-593-37264-7    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-0-593-37265-4    $9.99

Fifth grader Sofía is proud of her Cuban American heritage and of her family’s reputation in the ballet world: her parents danced with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba; her sister, Regina, is on a path to the American Ballet Theatre; and her little brother, Manuel, plays Fritz every year in The Nutcracker. Sofía dances, too, but her passions are more in visual arts and costume design. The Acostas are famous for their openness and generosity; their home is known as the Acosta Accordion “because sometimes it’s just my family, like an accordion smooshed to the smallest setting. Sometimes the accordion expands and we have my parents’ friends or relatives or a million of Manuel’s and Regina’s friends over. That’s the biggest setting.” When friends from Cuba come to visit—the ballet-dancer son is guest-performing a tribute to Alicia Alonso—Sofía learns more about her background while complicating what she already knows about her family, her closest friendships, geo-politics, the arts, and what makes a home. Sofía’s voice is authentically tweenlike, as are the conclusions she draws and the realizations she makes; Spanish is naturally incorporated into the dialogue. In the Acostas, Otheguy has created a close-knit family whose warmth, kindness, and openhearted honesty will both educate readers (about the ballet world and Cuban history) and welcome them in.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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