Summary: Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene
Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene follows fifth grader Sofia Acosta who feels like the black sheep of her ballet-loving family. Her parents were professional dancers who emigrated from Cuba to the United States. Her sister, Regina is a ballet prodigy whose eyes are set on the American Ballet Theater (ABT) and even their little brother Manuel is an excellent ballet dancer. Sofia, though? She can’t stop stepping on people’s toes when she dances. What she loves the most is sewing the costumes for the dancers and hanging out with her best friend Tricia. But when a family friend visiting from Cuba hints at staying in the US long-term to dance for the ABT, Tricia’s response hints at prejudice that Sofia never saw coming. Will Sofia stand up for what’s right?
This is an excellently written story. It had my attention from page one and Sofia’s voice leaps off the pages. I loved the Acosta family and the interspersed Spanish words and phrases even though I couldn’t understand all of it. This story is pulsing with Cuban culture, food, people — just loved all of it. I really liked Sofia. She’s a likable, relatable protagonist and I liked seeing her growth throughout the story.
The author really focuses on the immigration challenges Latin Americans face and the way things are not set up to favor them. Even when they arrive in the US, the discrimination continues, making it hard for some to find good housing and work. Some Americans are scared because Latin Americans speak Spanish among themselves and are just different from white people.
While there’s an underlying theme of activism, especially for another character, Laurita who eventually befriends Sofia, this book really focuses on helping kids see the inequalities in the world. Some kids with Latin American backgrounds like Tricia may have access to elitist country clubs because of their socio-economic status, but most other Latin-American kids won’t.
Finally, the dancing! Sofia is in the Nutcracker musical at her local ballet studio and the show may finally be thing that proves to her that maybe she’s not meant to be a ballerina? But can she still be an Acosta when Acosta = ballet? You’ll have to read to find out!
Overall: Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene
Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene is a sweet, thought-provoking middle grade book about finding one’s path, recognizing inequality, and handling prejudice when it comes from unexpected places. This book is suffused with Cuban history and culture, ballet, family love, and a sense of community. While the protagonist is in her last year of elementary school, this book is sure to be loved by younger and older middle grade readers alike.