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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Letters to My Mother
by Teresa Cardenas
Age Range: 9-11
Set in Cuba – an island of which we know so little – a young girl writes letters to her dead mother. She tells her about her life, her unhappiness and how much she misses her, ‘I haven’t told anyone how much I miss you’. The narrator lives with her aunt, Tiá Catalina and her two cousins, Lilita and Baby who make fun of her and call her Bembona – thick lips. Her grandmother is always angry with her and with life in general. Gradually, through the letters that she writes she begins to find a world outside her family. Menú the old lady who sells flowers and Roberto who attends her school become her friends and slowly her wounds begin to heal as she becomes stronger and more able to accept herself and others.
This is a short, powerful novel about terrible loss and how the healing power of love can restore happiness and self-respect.