Tell Us We're Home

Tell Us We're Home

Welcome to Meadowbrook, New Jersey where the kids have all the right shoes and purses and phones and whatever else you can think of. These families are so well off they hire maids and nannies and tutors. But, the maids and nannies have families too. This is the story from the other side of the paycheck. Three eighth grade girls, Jaya, Maria and Lola live in this affluent community but they aren't living the "American dream." These are the girls whose mothers spend their days cleaning up after the kids they go to school with and then come home too tired to cook for their own families. These girls know their "mother put extra bleach in the underwear of some girl who was walking up the aisle at assembly in her best corduroy jumper dress." These girls are wearing shoes "that are hand-me-downs from the kids in the grade above you, and you just prayed she didn't notice." Jaya's family comes from Trinidad, Maria's family comes from Mexico and Lola's family comes from Slovakia. Each girl is balancing her world at school and her world at home with her family. They're typical girls who want to wear something beautiful to the dance but who also understand the reality of not being able to have anything they want any time they want. The American kids in this story don't look too bright and shiny. They are materialistic and self-absorbed. The children of the immigrants are earning maturity and taking responsibility for their own lives. Trouble comes when Jaya's mom is accused of stealing jewelry from the woman she helps. Prejudice and mistrust rear their ugly heads. As she did in ASK ME NO QUESTIONS, Marina Budhos introduces us to three characters who have to find themselves in a world that doesn't hold them in such high esteem. But, their lack of money and social standing does not keep them from embracing themselves, their families and the things that truly matter. 297 pages Ages 10 and up (reviewed by Barb Langridge)


Three eighth grade girls are typical teenagers in many ways, but they are going to schools with kids who are in the families that their mothers work for as maids and nannies. This situation challenges the class system of a wealthy community and brings out the best and the worst in this community. When one mother is accused of stealing, the first girl's world is destroyed. This prompts the community to react to the immigration issue and these three girls face being outsiders to everyone. All they want to do is to find their place in the school society. This book discusses the problems across social groups and within social groups and the problems presented are physical attacks, seriously ill employers, cruel verbal remarks, stereotypical parents, and "fair weather" friends. The strength of friendship will bring these girls through their problems and will focus the reader's attention on today's immigration problems.

Recommended by Christy Pierce, Librarian.

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