Book Review: Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie
In Maritere Rodriquez Bellas' book, Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie, we are introduced to the unique stories and experiences of many different Latino immigrants in the United States. Parenting tips and writing prompts (in the form of questions to ponder) for a parenting journal are included at the end of each chapter.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS? Everyone. While this book is written directly to the immigrant parent, we all can benefit and learn from the personal stories and diverse voices highlighted and shared within this book.
LENGTH: 150 pages
This is a wonderful book of guidance for immigrant parents from an author who is a Puerto Rican immigrant herself. I was deeply touched by the stories shared in this book. They are inspirational and deeply personal stories of success and of overcoming adversity. I believe it is important to read about the experiences and perspectives of others to better understand our neighbors and people from all backgrounds and heritages.
Maritere writes about important topics such as the stages of immigrant adjustment, how to build a culture of education at home, and about special concerns for the single immigrant parent. She also examines and offers insight into the differences between the American and Latino way of discipline and how to find a way to blend the best of both. Her advice is direct and clear, while also sensitive to the complexity of the immigrant experience and the variety of backgrounds we may come from.
"Many of us believe that Latino and American values are separate and unequal. But let's ask ourselves the following: Is working hard and being responsible a Latino value or a universal one? Or being loyal to one's family? ...Perhaps different cultures demonstrate their values differently... Whether we demonstrate our deeply held values in a Latino, American, or a Latino-American fashion, when we're true to our beliefs, our children will be inspired to be true to theirs."
- Maritere Rodriguez Bellas, pages 75-76
Above all, this book shares a message of reassurance and encouragement that finding a bilingual and bicultural balance is not only possible, but worthwhile, rewarding, and beautiful.
Milly Quezada, La Reina del Merengue (The Queen of Merengue), writes to Latino parents, "'There is a way to raise our kids to love and respect the values embedded in their background while also loving and respecting the American way.'"
-Arroz con pollo, pages 77-78
Jeannette, who spent half her childhood in the US and half in Chile, shares important advice as well, advice echoed by many other voices in this book: "Don't stop speaking your native language at home and lead by example. If you're proud of your heritage and show it, your kids will feel the same."
-Arroz con pollo, page 134