Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres is a wonderfully personal and compelling look into the experience of a first generation kid dealing with fitting in while also still keeping her cultural roots. The titular Stef Soto is definitely torn between the two options, and her struggle is one that will be relatable to many students no matter what their background.
This is an excellent coming of age narrative full of signs of growing maturity and the learning of lessons, big and small. Watching Stef find her voice through her art and facing the struggles of her family business all the while navigating the challenging landscape of middle school friendship in an interesting, diverse landscape definitely held my interest.
The novel was a quick read, and the language was clear and easy to follow while still having the excellent voice of a storyteller. This would be a great addition to units about coming of age and “finding one’s voice.”
Reading Level: mid-elementary school through middle school
Pair With: Coming of age and finding one’s voice narratives, first generation immigrant narratives