Stef Soto, Taco Queen

Stef Soto, Taco Queen  by Jennifer Torres



Estefania “Stef” Soto  is a typical middle school girl who just wants to be like any other 7th grader, but her overprotective immigrant parents have old school ideas about her freedom. Stef loves them, and appreciates how hard they work trying to build a life and provide for her, but they are a bit old fashioned and sometimes embarrassing.  While she loves the respite of her father’s taco truck affectionately called Tia Perla, she hates being told she smells like tacos, by her former best friend Julia. When her parent’s business is threatened however, Stef’s eye-rolls and impatience become a spirited championing of her families business, values and heritage.

Genre - Realistic Fiction

Text Structure - novel

Lexile Level  - 780L

Themes -family, friends, heritage, love, loyalty, identity

Rings of Culture represented -

Ethnicity: Mexican/Mexican-American
Age: 12-14/  intergenerational
Gender: girl
Socio-Economic: working class
National: USA
Religion: N/A

Why it’s VABBulous -  

  • rich with authentic representations of the complexities of being a first generation child.

  • Surface level  culture is easily identified in language, food, music.

  • consistent presence of rich, nuanced examples of  unspoken, and unconscious rules of Mexican/Mexican American culture that make this novel both a wonderful read and excellent choice for CLR teaching.

    • Some of the deep culture rules evident in the novel - rules of conduct, patterns of handling emotions, notions of leadership, nature of friendships, concepts of food, notions of adolescence, ideals of child rearing, patterns of group decision making, concept of self, preferences for competition or cooperation

Ideas for CLR -

Set it Off (Into the Text)

Literacy Strategy (Writing) - Journal Prompt

When responding to journal prompts, students are welcome to use nonstandard (unaccepted) or standard language.

  1. Journal Prompt - Introduce the texts by giving students the following journal prompt to help them to begin to think about  the content of the story. Tell them to take 3-5  minutes to respond, not to  worry about spelling or punctuation, or  having the “right” answer,  just write what they think. Be prepared to share.

Choose One

Have your parents ever done something to embarrass you? Write about that time, what happened, how you felt and how you handled it.


What do you do after school? What are your routines and do you like them? For example, do you walk home, get picked up? Stay after school, hang out with friends etc.

Response  Strategy:  Stand and Deliver

I gave this a 7-10  on Responsive Dots. What would you give it?


Lydia McClanahan