Call Me Maria
First Person Fiction: Call Me Maria
Call Me Maria
Judith Ortiz Cofer
From the award-winning author of AN ISLAND LIKE YOU, winner of the Pura Belpre AwardMaria is a girl caught between two worlds: Puerto Rico, where she was born, and New York, where she now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio. While her mother remains on the island, Maria lives with her father, the super of their building. As she struggles to lose her island accent, Maria does her best to find her place within the unfamiliar culture of the barrio. Finally, with the Spanglish of the barrio people ringing in her ears, she finds the poet within herself. In lush prose and spare, evocative poetry, Cofer weaves a powerful novel, bursting with life and hope.

Book Details


  • Fiction
  • Poetry

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
Profile Picture

Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer is the only book I have ever read in which the theme is wrapped up in a three-word title. It perfectly expresses the feelings of the title character, Maria, a Puerto Rican native who moves from the sunny island to the barrios of New York out of love for her depressed father, despite the fact that such a transition is not best for her. Because of this move, Maria quickly transforms from an allegre (happy) Maria to a triste (sad) Maria, becoming slightly depressed and continuing in this depression without the reader knowing if she ever gets out of it.

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