No One’s Home


Jorge has poured his heart and soul into the animal report Mrs. Khan assigned last month. In fact, he has poured his heart and soul into everything academic because his parents, who are from El Salvador and Nicaragua, have stressed the importance of getting an education. Prior to coming to the United States, his parents owned a restaurant in El Salvador. The restaurant did well until it was burned down during a fight between the local gangs. Penniless, his parents headed north to the United States to seek a better life. They landed in El Paso, Texas where they had Jorge. After a couple years as migrant workers throughout Texas, they moved in with his mom’s sister, Auntie Delmy, in Detroit, Michigan. They finally saved enough money to have a place of their own a year ago.

Jorge’s animal report is about the sea otter. Sea otters are energetic, playful, and smart. He picked the sea otter for his project because his mom calls him her “pequeña nutria” (little otter). It all started when he was playing in the bathtub a few years ago, rolling around and around in the water the way otters do in the ocean. This reminded Jorge’s mom of a book she’d seen called “Buenas Noches, Pequeña Nutria” (Good Night, Little Sea Otter) by Janet Halfmann. She bought that book for Jorge and has read it to him every night every since.

Well, not every night. Not the last seven nights. You see, his parents took him to stay with his Auntie Delmy last week. They said that they needed to take care of some important family business for a little while, and they will be back to get him later this month. That’s why they can’t bring his animal project to him at school.

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