Review: Miracle on 133rd Street


Title: Miracle on 133rd Street
Author: Sonia Manzano
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Year: 2015
Hardcover: 48 pages
Ages: 4 – 8




Summary

Miracle on 133rd Street is the story of a Puerto Rican family living in the diaspora and how they spend Christmas. The family is getting ready to celebrate, but Mami is nostalgic for Christmas in Puerto Rico. Their oven is too small for the roast. She remembers how the roast is done outside in Puerto Rico. The little boy, José, notes how his mother gets homesick every Christmas.

Papi, named José too, decides is better to use the oven at Regular Ray's Pizzeria. As Papi and José go down the stairs, they encounter several neighbors. None of them are happy that it is Christmas Eve. Mrs. Whitman's kids are driving her crazy. Mr. and Mrs. Santiago's children are not visiting this year. Mr. Franklin thinks the muggers are out. The Wozenskys worry about spending money on Christmas.

Mr. Ray lets them use his oven. The roast takes three hours. José wakes up to the roast's amazing smell, which is powerful. It makes you feel something incredible is about to happen. They invite Mr. Ray to join them. Mr. Ray is hesitant at first, but the smell has an effect on him. He changes his mind and comes along.

As they walk back to the apartment, people's behavior change when they smell the roast. The same happens as they climb the stairs to the last floor. One by one the neighbors start joining them.

Mami happily waits for them at the doorway. The roast's smell reminds her of Puerto Rico during Christmas. All the neighbors celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with them. Christmas turns into a miracle!

Comments

Sonia Manzano is famous for her role of Maria in Sesame Street. She won fifteen Emmy Awards as writer for Sesame Street. She won a Pura Belpré Award for her novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano.

Manzano shows her greatness yet again in Miracle on 133rd Street. The beautiful story discusses the nostalgia families living in the diaspora feel during Christmas. We identified with the story because we are a Puerto Rican family living in the diaspora. Every Christmas we feel homesick for Puerto Rico.

My daughters enjoyed this story. My oldest daughter said the illustrations are so detailed and expressive. She understood why our family is similar to the one portrayed in the book. We have get used to celebrating Christmas differently. We have spent the holidays with new friends instead of our extended family.


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