I like most of Jennifer Degenhardt‘s language readers. They are often inspired by real events, big or small and when you read her books, you are transported to places where people live their everyday life. Jennifer often tells the story from the standpoint of the local people, not the tourist or otherwise outsider; and when she does it well, it makes her books compelling and intimate. Maria Maria is one of those books.
Maria Maria is the story of Lea and her family as they prepare for and live through hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. For those of you who read in French, the French version takes place in Guadeloupe. I appreciate Terri Marrama’s efforts to adapt the story in French and have Lea and her family live on a French island that was also on hurricane Maria’s path.
Hurricane Maria near peak intensity to the southeast of Puerto Rico on September 19, 2017
With Puerto Rico still trying to recover from this natural disaster, Jennifer generously donates a % of the proceeds from her Maria Maria books to a not for profit organization, Techos Pa’ Mi Gente (originally Toldos Pa’ Mi Gente) which was founded by Amarilis González. This organization focuses on reconstruction efforts by organizing fundraisers, in-depth training sessions for volunteers, and community workshops. As of September 2019, two years after hurricane Maria, thirty thousand houses are still without roof in Puerto Rico!
I hope you will consider purchasing this language reader in Spanish or in French for yourself or for your students, either from Amazon or from Jennifer’s website directly: https://www.puenteslanguage.com/