Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
by Meg Medina
Publishing Information: Candlewick Press: Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013
Pages: 260 p.
Informed that a bully she does not know is determined to beat her up Latin American teen Piddy Sanchez struggles to learn more about the father she has never met, until the bully's gang forces her to confront more difficult challenges.
Imagine that you just started a new school and some girl comes up to you to tell you that someone wants to kick your ass? What?! You don’t even know who this person is, never mind why she’s so pissed off. What would you do?
Well, that’s just what happens to Piddy. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is snob, struts around the school, and isn’t Latin enough because she has white skin, doesn’t have an accent, and gets good grades.
At first Piddy doesn’t think much about it. She is more concerned with finding out about her father and balancing work at the beauty salon and school. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off from everything or just run away from it all? Read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass to find out what happens.
Subject Headings & Major Themes
Bullying and Bullies
Awards & Reviews:
ALA (American Library Association) Notable Children's Books
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013
Pura Belpré Award
School Library Journal Best Books of 2013
YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults: 2014
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers: Fiction 2014
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers: Top Ten 2014
Booklist, August 1, 2013, p. 95
Kirkus Review, January 15, 2013, p. 107 (starred review)
Library Media Connection, July 11, 2013
School Library Journal, April 2013, p. 168 (starred review)
The Horn Book, March/April 2013, p. 114 (starred review)
VOYA, April 8, 2013
Discussion Questions and Ideas:
1. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a title that grabs your attention. What makes it so fitting for this novel?
2. At Piddy’s new high school, kids tend to eat lunch with their own kind—blacks with blacks, Latinas with Latinas, and nerds with nerds. Does this also happen at your school? If so, why? Why is there often so little diversity in social groups?
3. On the surface, Lila and Piddy’s mother seem like polar opposites, but look deeper. What are the significant differences between the two women? What are the abiding similarities? Why does Piddy need them both?
4. “She thinks we get a bad rap as Latinos,” Piddy says about her mother, “which she’s always trying to undo by being extra quiet and polite all the time” (page 9). How are Latinas stereotyped in popular culture? Why is Ma determined to set herself and her daughter apart? Would their lives be happier if she didn’t?
5. “What’s worse?” Joey asks Piddy. “Having no dad or having a mean son of a bitch like mine?”
(page 45). How would you answer his question? How would Piddy? Why?
6. Ma is ashamed of her long-ago relationship with Piddy’s father. Should she be? Why hasn’t she been honest with her daughter? Has the secrecy been more harmful to Piddy than the truth would have been?
7. Salón Corazón, according to the Piddy, is “one part hair salon, three parts social hangout” (page 59).
Why do customers flock to the salon? What makes the place so important to Piddy?
8. Many of the women at the salon tell Piddy that she has become a woman, but according to Piddy, “None of them ever sounds too happy about it” (page 63). Why aren’t they happy? Consider what might make being a woman difficult from their point of view.
9. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a serious novel, but it can also be very funny. What are some of your favorite comic lines or moments? What do they reveal about the characters?
10. Spanish words and phrases appear throughout this novel. If you know Spanish, translate the words into colloquial English. If you don’t, use context to determine meaning. Why do you think the author didn’t include a glossary in this book?
11. Best friends in the old neighborhood, Mitzi and Piddy seem headed in opposite directions after
Mitzi moves out of Queens. What does each fear that the other is becoming? Are those fears justified? Why or why not?
12. Although Piddy’s life is full of strong women, very few men are included. Who are the significant males in her life? Why are they so rare?
13. Why do you think Yaqui Delgado wants to kick Piddy’s ass? Does she really think Piddy is after her boyfriend? Is she jealous of Piddy’s intelligence? Is she just mean? Does her motive matter?
14. Look closely at the step-by-step bullying that Yaqui and her friends inflict upon Piddy. How does Piddy respond to each stage of this harassment? How does bullying change the way she sees herself and her future? How does it change the way she looks?
15. “It’s not fair,” Piddy realizes, “that I have to upend my life because Yaqui is bloodthirsty” (page 254).
What does Piddy decide is more important to her than fairness? Would you have made the same decision? Why or why not?
16. “What constitutes a revolution?” Piddy’s history teacher asks (page 39). Does Daniel Jones High School need a revolution? Who will have to lead it? What are its chances of success?
17. By the end of the novel, Piddy’s future once again looks bright. What about Yaqui’s future? What do you imagine her adult life will be like?
18. Despite the sign posted outside the guidance office, DJ is definitely not a “Bully-Free Zone”
(page 75). Why is bullying so hard to stop? What steps has your community taken to prevent bullying? How effective have they been?
Questions obtained at http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?mode=book&isbn=0763658596
Author’s website: http://megmedina.com
Candlewick Press’ Book Site: http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?mode=book&isbn=0763658596
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About the Author:
Meg Medina grew up in Queens, New York, and was once bullied as a schoolgirl—a searing experience she draws upon in this novel, winner of the 2014 Pura Belpré Author Award.
She writes for young readers of all ages; her work examines how cultures intersect, seen through the eyes of young people, and speaks both to the qualities of Latino culture that are unique and to those that are universal. Her favorite protagonists are strong girls. Her first picture book, Tía Isa Wants a Car,won the 2012 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.In March 2014, Meg Medina was recognized as one of CNN’s Ten Visionary Women in America.
She now lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her family. When she is not writing, she works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and literacy.