· Trade Paperback · March 8, 2005 · $8.99 · 978-0-385-73233-8 (0-385-73233-3)
Also available as an eBook.
1. Violet says that in her family “Spanish was currency. Currency I didn’t have” (p. 44). What does she mean by this? What else is “currency” in the Paz family? What is currency in your family?
2. Señora Flora asks Violet, “How do you see yourself?” (p. 119). How does Violet reply? In what ways do you think Violet’s definition of herself changes between the beginning and the end of the book?
3. Violet describes herself as having “a lot of half talents” (p. 119) that she’d like to make full talents. What are your half talents? How would you choose some to focus on and develop? Do you see yourself as having one great passion or endeavor in life, or a lot of little ones?
4. The quinceañero marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. How do you see Violet making that transition in the course of the book? Is there any event or experience (it doesn’t have to be a fancy ceremony) in your life that marks this transition as the quinceañero does?
5. In your eyes, what does it mean to become an adult? Consider the roles of your parents and friends; your education, religion, government, and culture; and your feelings in determining when you are an adult. Do you ever get mixed messages from these sources about what it takes to be considered an independent adult?
6. Some of Violet’s adult relatives have their own reasons for wanting her to have the quinceañero. Why is Abuela, for example, so insistent? Have you ever felt that adults in your life wanted to experience something they’d never encountered in their youth–or relive an experience they had had–through you?
7. Why do you think Violet’s father resists telling her about Cuba? Have you ever had to go around your parents or other authority figures to learn about something and form your own opinion? Are there issues about which you’ve taken your parents’ opinion as your own without really thinking about it?
8. Abuela asserts that it is the woman, not the man, “who carries the tradition forward” (p. 246). What does she mean? Can you think of an example–from your own family or culture or a different one–that supports her claim, and an example that refutes it? What are the traditions in your life, and who makes sure they are carried forward?
9. What would be the theme of your quinceañero? What would you include in the ceremony to make it reflect your personality (or just for fun)?