Canales draws from her personal experiences and rich Hispanic heritage to write this Pura Belpre Award winning novel. Growing up as a Latina in the Texas-Mexico border fourteen year old Sofia, a natural born storyteller, engages the reader in her life’s journey to become a good comadre (friend), and remain true to her cultural roots as she decides to take a scholarship to St. Luke’s Episcopal School many miles away from her home and family. The book’s themes of strong family values, friendship, and culture drive the plot of this novel in a unique way. Canales’s life is reflected through the humorous and realistic voice of this strong female main character. This book has been popular among young Hispanic readers because of their ability to connect with Sofia’s culture and stories, like preparing for a Quinceañera or keeping a family altar. Readers who enjoyed The tequila worm may want to consider Sandra Cisneros’s collection of short stories in Woman Hollering Creek and The house on Mango Street sa their next read. Both books share many of the same themes while capturing the essence of growing up Latina and learning to embrace both cultures.
Canales, V. (2005). The tequila worm. NY: Wendy Lamb Books/Random House