WORD LISTS

"Lucky Broken Girl" by Ruth Behar, Parts I and II

June 26, 2018
Recent immigrants from Cuba, Ruthie and her family are just learning to adjust to life in New York City when Ruthie is severely injured in a car accident. This novel, based in part on the author's childhood experiences, won the 2018 Pura Belpré Award.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Parts I and II, Part III, Parts IV and V
incense
“Yes, it is. And my mother burns sandalwood incense. She says it’s good for meditation and the spirits like it too.”
meditation
“Yes, it is. And my mother burns sandalwood incense. She says it’s good for meditation and the spirits like it too.”
ragged
A little ragged girl arrives and announces, “I’ve come to help the princess cry.”
lopsided
Mrs. Sarota wears her hair in a big bird nest on top of her head and today it’s lopsided.
commiserate
“Very well, young lady. Which of you can spell the word ‘ commiserate’?”
sophisticated
Danielle is from Belgium and acts very sophisticated.
beige
Today she has on a lace-trimmed beige blouse and a pleated blue skirt.
drab
Danielle crosses the street, walking so elegantly in her black go-go boots to a building as drab and dreary as ours.
dreary
Danielle crosses the street, walking so elegantly in her black go-go boots to a building as drab and dreary as ours.
accent
She says the word “hopscotch,” extending the shhhh sound at the end of the word with a French accent and it sounds glamorous.
glamorous
She says the word “hopscotch,” extending the shhhh sound at the end of the word with a French accent and it sounds glamorous.
accordion
And every morning, she turns it back into a sofa, folding it up like an accordion.
peddler
She misses standing on the balcony and lowering the basket down with a rope for the peddler to fill with pineapples and coconuts.
frilly
I decide to put on my frilly dress that has layers of lace.
challah
We aren’t very religious, but today Mami bought a challah.
dingy
I’m breaking my back taking the subway every day! Working all week in a dingy office that has no windows and is the size of a jail cell where they treat me like I’m nobody!
maraca
The store is under the Number 7 train and rattles like a maraca.
calico
She squeezes my hand with both of hers, which are rough from cutting calico and canvas all day.
canvas
She squeezes my hand with both of hers, which are rough from cutting calico and canvas all day.
pudgy
She has tiny gold balls in her pierced ears and a gold bracelet that says “Rosa” wrapped around her pudgy wrist.
stern
Papi nods with a stern gaze.
peer
I curl my legs under me so as not to crowd Izzie and peer up at the roof of the car.
torpedo
He kneels next to me and says, “I saw it! I saw a car flip the divider! It turned into a torpedo! I saw it crash into the car in front of us! Then we crashed into them. Then a bunch of cars crashed into us! Bam, bam, bam.”
splint
“But she’s tangled up in metal. This is going to take a while. Put a splint on that girl. Take her and her family to the hospital. See if any of them can speak English.”
slab
He brings out a slab of wood from the ambulance.
topple
Mami and Baba and Izzie and Papi stand around me like bowling pins about to topple over.
commotion
Then there’s a big commotion.
stammer
“It hurts, it hurts,” I stammer as loud as I can to get his attention.
contraption
“Or are you pretending? How about if I untie you from this contraption and take you home?”
wince
I wince and he says to me, “Hurts, doesn’t it?”
anesthesia
“We’re going to give you anesthesia and you won’t feel a thing.”
lilting
He has a kind and lilting voice.
rickety
Mami is crouched on the rickety bench next to me.
peasant
She’s wearing bell-bottom pants and a peasant blouse with puffy sleeves, and she has shiny dangling earrings.
remedial
“Far-out,” Joy says after I get all the words right. “You’re so smart! I’m surprised they kept you in the remedial class for so long.”
wade
I could wade into the deep end without being afraid.
brine
There was the ocean on all sides, endless, and the smell of salt and brine was so strong all the food tasted like a sour pickle.
refugee
We thought our home would always be in Cuba...and then we had to leave Cuba and come here to New York. I have been a refugee not once but twice.
sleuth
And there she comes, strawberry-haired Nancy Drew, the girl sleuth, so American and so sure of herself, wearing a round collared blouse and a pencil skirt, wielding her magnifying glass.
intriguing
Nancy Drew smiles down at me, raising an eyebrow. “It certainly sounds intriguing! And I’ve been longing for another case!”

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