Tell Us We're Home

Tell Us We're Home

For Ages: 12 and up
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Jaya is from Trinidad, Maria is from Mexico, and Lola is from Slovakia. The girls couldn’t be more different, except for two things: They’re all the daughters of maids and nannies in their prosperous suburban town of Meadowbrook, and they all long to fit in and succeed among their more privileged peers. But when Jaya’s mother is accused of stealing some valuable jewelry from her employer, the seemingly liberal town of Meadowbrook becomes a place of ugly tensions and racism, and the girls’ friendship threatens to buckle under the strain.

Once again, Marina Budhos has written a thoughtful and ambitious novel about class and the cultural differences that can both divide and unite.
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  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442406100 | 
  • May 2010 | 
  • Grades 7 and up | 
  • Lexile 780
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Writer Marina Budhos on TELL US WE'RE HOME

Tell Us We're Home by Marina Budhos is a moving and thought-provoking story about the other side of the American dream.

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chapter 1

Meadowbrook, New Jersey, looks like it’s right out of an old-time postcard. It has a big town hall, with huge columns and a neat border of red tulips. There’s a quaint little Main Street, its wrought-iron lampposts twined with evergreen sprigs at Christmas; a big green park, where the kids trace ice-skating loops on the frozen pond.

The town is nestled in a valley, and on one side is a steep incline that thrusts up into the ravine, where some of the expensive modern houses are perched like wood and glass boxes. On the other side the larger homes slowly give way to two-family houses and apartments on... see more

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Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write Tell Us We're Home?

A. Tell Us We're Home came about in a variety of ways. A long time ago I was doing research on nannies and wound up spending time with nannies in the park, or at home, watching and listening to them, watching how they juggled their own children with those they took care of. Soon after I moved to the suburbs--a very strange experience for someone like me, who had grown up and lived in NYC for most of my life. I felt like an immigrant. And then I began to look around and think about the real immigrants in the suburbs. My prior books were about young immigrants but the settings were cities--the traditional place for immigrants. But today, the suburbs are where immigrants come. And so I became fascinated with how young immigrants find their way here, in quintessential American towns. I wondered, too, what it's like in the suburbs, which are often tightly knit and nowadays rely on immigrant women for nannies and housekeepers--what might it be like for their kids? And finally, I wanted to write a girl's friendship novel, no different than other teen friendship novels, but on that offers a slightly different perspective.

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