No Tildes on Tuesday
Author: Cherrye S. Vasquez
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
No Tuesday for Tildes (2010) is an interesting and refreshing look at the world of language, culture, and identity from a child’s perspective. So often, conversations about language or culture revolve around an adult’s point of view. In this book, the central character makes the argument that these conversations should include children too.
The basic premise of the story is simple. Elizabeth, a girl of Mexican American and White descent, refuses to learn Spanish even though everyone around her believes that it is important for her to do. With this plot, the author (Cherrye S. Vasquez) is able to craft a book that is a worthwhile read for both parents and children. For adults, this book provides the opportunity for parents (especially parents of second-generation Hispanic or multi-racial children) to talk about the sensitive issues of race, ethnicity, and language. For children, this book provides an interesting model in Elizabeth as she raises some important questions about the right of a child to choose their own cultural and ethnic identity and language versus the authority and obligation of their parents to choose one for them.
This does not mean that race is not the only issue in this book. Unlike other children’s books that I have seen dealing with race, this book also deals with other family issues in the context of the race instead of focusing on race exclusively. In other words, it’s not just a “race” book. It is a book about a family issue that includes racial identity. In the midst of the Elizabeth’s argument with her parents, she is also dealing with a move to a new neighborhood and a health concern with her father. This adds additional layers to the books without making it complicated or confusing.
Even though a lot of material is covered, the book is paced well and appropriate language at level children can understand. Overall, it’s a good all-around read for everyone, particularly those families who need or want to have the conversation about identity, language, and changes in the family.