This is a family history book, based on Meg Medina’s experience with her own aunt. It’s a snapshot of an immigrant experience–extended family living together, working menial jobs, trying to navigate a new culture, sometimes using a child as the guide to that new culture. It’s also a triumphant, feel-good story about dreams, family love, and making a new place home.

Medina organizes the story around two refrains: “Tía Isa wants a car” in the first half of the book, and “Tía Isa bought a car” in the second half. The final spread concludes joyously:

“Tía Isa and I bought a car. To carry us all to the sea.”

The copyright page includes a photo of “the real Tía Isa.”

Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudia Muñoz. Candlewick: 2011.