Between Us and Abuela A Family Story from the Border


Book Information

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) September 2019
  • Character-Building Curriculum
  • Social Studies Curriculum

It's almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico.

For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven't seen in years. But when Juan's gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea.

Here is a heartwarming tale of families and the miracle of love.---from the publisher


Maria hasn't seen her grandmother, her Abuela, for five years but she knows her through the stories her Mama tells her.  Today is La Posada Sin Fronteras and Maria, her little brother, Juan, and her mother are going to take a bus down to the Mexican border to celebrate with her Abuela.

Abuela will come up to the border from her village and she will stand on her side of the border wall where she can see her family.  Maria and Juan and their Mama will stand on their side of the border wall.  They are bring gifts to share.

"Twenty-five people at a time."  "Each group gets thirty minutes."  These are the directions the border guards tell them when they arrive at Border Field State Park in San Diego.

Reading about a real place in San Diego makes this book exceptionally poignant. You can easily imagine yourself standing on your side of that wall looking eagerly for your own loved one.  You can feel how hard it must be not to be able to hug and touch your grandmother.

When it's time to give their Abuela the gifts they brought, something unexpected happens.  Juan's gift won't fit through the fence.

A beautiful story of how we hold our family in our hearts and how being with them is treasure that cannot be measured.  A powerful story of how painful and harsh it is to be separated from them.  A brilliant story about finding a way to connect the two sides.

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

40 pages              978-0374303730              Ages 4-8

Keywords:  family, grandmother, Latino, Latina, Latinx, diverse book, diversity, accepting others, acceptance, traditions, culture, heritage, Read aloud to 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, problem solving, separation, multigenerational, multicultural, social situations, Christmas


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