Carl no quiere ir a México

Book Title Carl no quiere ir a México
(Carl does not want to go to Mexico)
Author(s) Karen Rowan
Illustrator(s) Pablo Ortega López 
Other Contributors Contee Seely, Patricia Verano 
Published by Self published, Fluency Fast Language Classes, Command Performance Language Institute
Genre Realistic Fiction
Publication date 2012
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website
Basic Spanish

Total Word Count
more than 5,000 words

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            NO  

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders


Social classes
Middle Class
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures
Single parent

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

Nine-year-old Carl is not happy. His mother is moving him to Mexico. He doesn’t speak Spanish. He misses all of his favorite foods. He doesn’t have any friends. The idea is ridiculous. He’s desperately unhappy. Carl doesn’t want to go to Mexico! When he starts finding sick and starving stray dogs on the streets of Guanajuato, he finds out he’s not the only one who is miserable. But did he find them in time or is it already too late?

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The majority of the illustrations attempt to show scenery from Guanajuato, Mexico, with a focus on Carl. Although this might have not been the purpose, the illustrations do not present thoughtful representations of identities because the focus is on Carl and his experiences. The illustrations could have easily represented any other town. 

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?
Certain people or groups are left out or given roles that don’t enable them to be heard.

This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance

Carl no quiere ir a México is the third of four novellas in basic Spanish. It is the story of Carl and his time spent in Guanajuato, Mexico. During his time in Guanajuato, Carl discovers his passion for helping shelter street dogs. 

Carl’s mother, Janet, has the opportunity of a lifetime to study and teach in Mexico (p. 5). After discussing the opportunity with Carl and her ex-husband, Brandon, Janet and Carl move to Guanajuato for a year. Carl’s family promotes one way of a healthy self-concept and exploration of identity by stating that their parents are divorced, but he lives with his mom and visits his dad (p. 2, 3). Carl has a difficult time agreeing to this move and then adjusting to their new home. However, Carl slowly begins to love the town of Guanajuato because of a new dog friend named Princesa Rufus (p. 16). Instead of rejecting and leaving the street dog, Carl takes action by adopting the dog and furthermore finding more homes for the puppies living in the street. Carl’s animal activism and rescuing is an important part of the story and may inspire readers to also act in this area. This is a topic that is not usually covered in language learner literature, and it is important to learn about other ways of activism: humans, nature and animals. 

The story is from the point of view of Carl, who is described as a normal boy who lives with a normal family in Colorado that is an expert in math (p. 1-3). This means that being a white male in a heterosexual family is what is considered normal in Colorado/the United States. Furthermore, while in Mexico, there is no Mexican voice participating in the story. It is an attempt to bring the reader closer to Guanajuato, but it falls short because it fails to empower the community. All of the power lays within Carl and his family. They have a positive experience moving to Mexico, despite Carl’s initial rejections: “Guanajuato es feo. No le gusta nada de México. México es feo. México es terrible” – Guanajuato is ugly. He does not like Mexico at all – (p. 11). They help save the dogs, despite the organization that was already there helping the dogs. In this case, Carl demonstrates a white savior complex by centering himself as the person that makes the difference by saving dogs. In addition, the family chooses to stay without any repercussions “van a vivir en México por dos años” – they are going to live in Mexico for two years – (p. 40), which shows their passport and immigrant status privileges. Finally, the story could have easily taken place in any other town because there is no particular place from Guanajuato mentioned such as landmarks.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close