Book Review: La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal

 

Review by Dora M. Guzmán

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling. El principe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa. But the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too. Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.

MY TWO CENTS: In this beautifully illustrated book filled with rustic textures and warm colors comes a popular tale filled with humor and reminiscing of Latinx mother-son relationships. Readers are invited to join the quest as the queen and the prince (but mostly the queen) try to find his future wife. The queen’s love for the prince is obvious, as she expects nothing but perfection for her son. The distinct comparison between the queen and her cat’s facial expressions are priceless and bring to the reader’s attention what else they have in common–cattiness and dominance. And rightly so; that’s her hijito lindo. Then comes a fair maiden, ready to prove her love for the prince, as he also awaits her success in the queen’s test. However, nobody is aware of this test besides the queen. The true test is if she feels the pea under twenty mattresses, then she’s the one. Yes, TWENTY. VEINTE.

Will the maiden pass this impossible challenge? Will the prince be able to be with his one true love? Will the queen finally give her blessings to her son and his future wife?

If you grew up with a brother, you can totally relate to this mother-son relationship. The bond between mother and son is like no other, however this story will force you to reminisce about the times that your mom said, “Ay, mijito, let me warm your dinner” to your brother but then expected you to warm up your own dinner. Jealous? Maybe. As an adult reader, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the realistic dialogue between the Queen and her Prince, as well as the perfectly paired facial expressions between the queen and her cat, which added to the character’s moods. You can feel the prince’s desire for love, but, at the same time, he wants to respect his mother’s opinion.

This picture book’s story line will keep you laughing, as it creatively tells the story of an unbreakable mother and son bond. I absolutely appreciate a picture book that can naturally weave in the Spanish language in dialogue and its narrative text without making it awkward for the reader. The Spanish vocabulary was also highlighted in a different text, to accent its beauty throughout the story. The words fit in a natural way of storytelling.

The illustrations were stunning. Upon reading the illustrator’s note by Juana Martinez-Neal, readers discover that the illustrations are inspired by an indigenous group in Peru. The textiles and the culture’s tradition of weaving and embroidery were inspirations for the illustrations and use of color. Martinez-Neal’s attention to detail and inspiration for her illustrations are remarkable and admirable.

TEACHING TIPS: Teachers of all grade levels can use this picture book as a reading mentor text to highlight various character traits and motives, with a focus on the queen. Also, for our younger readers, this text can be used during a phonemic awareness lesson on rhyming words in English.

The inspiration behind the illustrator’s choice of texture and color can also be used in an art lesson about artists and how cultures and traditions inspire their work.

WHERE TO GET IT: To find La Princesa and the Pea, check your local public library, your local bookstore, or IndieBound. Also, check out GoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Middleton Elya is a popular children’s author with over 22 picture books. Her series Say Hola to Spanish and Eight Animals are distinct in how they introduce the Spanish language to all age groups. Susan’s journey as an author started at a young age with a passion for writing. Her love of language led her to study Spanish and incorporate the Spanish language and her teacher experiences within her children’s books.

 

 

JuanaABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Juana Martinez Neal is an award winning illustrator and artist. Her passion for art started as a child and led her to study at one of the best schools in fine arts in Peru. Her journey as an illustrator led her to the United States, where she continues to illustrate a variety of children’s books. Alma and How She Got Her Name, her debut picture book as an author illustrator, will be published in both English and Spanish by Candlewick Press on April 10, 2018.

 

 

 

img_0160ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Dora M. Guzmán is a bilingual reading specialist for grades K-5 and also teaches college courses in Children’s Literature and Teaching Beginning Literacy. She is currently a doctoral student with a major in Reading and Language. When she is not sharing her love of reading with her students, you can find her in the nearest library, bookstore, or online, finding more great reads to add to her never ending “to read” pile!

Book Review & Giveaway: The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

Judith Ortiz Cofer was the first author to win the Pura Belpré Award for her first young adult book An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. On December 30, 2016, she passed away at the young age of 64, due to cancer. This week, we celebrate her life and work with reviews of four of her books and a giveaway. Please scroll to the end of this post to enter!

Reviewed by Toni Margarita Plummer

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOKLa nina seria, the serious child. That’s how Consuelo’s mother has cast her pensive, book-loving daughter, while Consuelo’s younger sister Mili, is seen as vivacious—a ray of tropical sunshine. Two daughters: one dark, one light; one to offer comfort and consolation, the other to charm and delight. But something is not right in this Puerto Rican family.

Set in the 1950s, a time when American influence is diluting Puerto Rico’s rich island culture, Consuelo watches her own family’s downward spiral. It is Consuelo who notices as her beautiful sister Mili’s vivaciousness turns into mysterious bouts of hysteria and her playful invented language shift into an incomprehensible and chilling “language of birds.” Ultimately Consuelo must choose: Will she fulfill the expectations of her family—offering consolation as their tragedy unfolds? Or will she risk becoming la fulana, the outsider, like the harlequin figure of her neighbor, Mario/Maria Sereno, who flaunts his tight red pedal pushers and empty brassiere as he refuses the traditional macho role of his culture.

This affecting novel is a lively celebration of Puerto Rico as well as an archetypal story of loss, the loss each of us experiences on our journey from the island of childhood to the uncharted territory of adulthood.

MY TWO CENTS: The Meaning of Consuelo is Judith Ortiz Cofer’s first young adult novel. It won the 2003 Américas Award and was included on the New York Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age 2004 List.”

It is set in the 1950s, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The time period is evoked in the conservative social views and in the unquestioning obedience children are expected to give to their parents. Mami is described as speaking like the Pope, with infallibility. Also evoking the 50s is the consumerism of household appliances meant to make life simpler. There is a passage about the family’s vacuum cleaner. Papi, in his enthusiasm for new gadgets, buys it from a door-to-door salesman, even though their house of ceramic tiles has no need of it. Mami uses it anyway, on a small rug, to please him. The senselessness of this is both funny and sad.

The novel begins when Consuelo is eight and ends when she is a teenager. The first character we meet is actually the neighbor Maria Sereno, who was born as Mario. Maria is an outrageous, highly sexual, and thoroughly enjoyable character. He (the book refers to Maria as “he”) embodies the term fulano, which is a major theme of the novel. The women hire Maria to do their nails, but only if their husbands are away, and he must use the back door. They ignore him in public. This is confusing to Consuelo and her sister Mili, who don’t yet understand the dualities of adults. Maria is not a major character in the story, in that he only appears now and then. But his outsider status is illustrative of the closed-mindedness of the community. When at the end of the book we glimpse a ray of hope for Maria, we find hope for this whole world.

Consuelo is the designated caretaker for Mili, who is four years younger. Mili, a “Puerto Rican Shirley Temple,” is a lively, imaginative character and we understand why the family is protective of her. Mili lives in her own world, is often unaware of her surroundings, and can wander off. Her behavior becomes more and more concerning and we feel the real pain of her parents, who don’t know what is wrong or how to care for her. When they are told she may have psychological problems, Papi doesn’t want to discuss the possibility. Ortiz Cofer hints throughout at a coming tragedia, which is tied to Mili. This builds an ominous feeling, a feeling which is justified when, indeed, a tragedy strikes this fragile family. Consuelo has been typecast as the doting daughter, the responsible one, the one who will sacrifice herself. But that is not the life she chose and she risks becoming a fulana herself as she tries to assert her independence.

Her cousin Patricio is another fulano. He is Consuelo’s only playmate, aside from her sister. They play with puppets Patricio makes. I loved reading about how they enact scenes at the hotel where Papi works, some puppets playing the roles of annoyed American tourists. The family begins to shun Patricio when they discover he is gay. When his father takes him to New York for a fresh start, we are happy to see him escape this stifling atmosphere. But Consuelo grieves at being left behind.

Her home life is not harmonious. Papi craves an American lifestyle, but Mami does not share his admiration for all things American. Abuelo, Mami’s father, is an outspoken critic of the U.S. and vigilant about maintaining the culture of the island. Consuelo immerses herself in his library, which is filled with Puerto Rican literature and history. The Americanization of the island looms like a threat or a promise, depending on your viewpoint, as does Papi’s desire to move the family to New York.

This novel has a more literary tone than some of Judith Ortiz Cofer’s other young adult books. It’s marked by both elegance and solemnity. There is a great sense of loss here. The loss of a way of life, and the loss of a family. This is my favorite of her books and the one I would most recommend to adults. Engrossing, suspenseful, and devastating, Consuelo’s story is both an immersion into one Puerto Rican family and a timeless coming-of-age tale.

WHERE TO GET IT: To find The Meaning of Consuelo, check your local public library, your local bookstore, or IndieBound. Also, check out Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

judith ortiz coferABOUT THE AUTHOR: Judith Ortiz Cofer is an award-winning author known for her stories about coming-of-age experiences in the barrio and her writings about the cultural conflicts of immigrants. She is the author of many distinguished titles for young adults such as An Island Like You, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, and The Line in the Sun. She was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. In 2010, she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

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toni margarita plummerABOUT THE REVIEWER: Toni Margarita Plummer is a Macondo Fellow, a winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize, and the author of the story collection The Bolero of Andi Rowe. She hails from South El Monte, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, and worked as an acquiring editor at a major publisher for more than ten years. Toni now freelance edits and lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. Visit her website at ToniMargaritaPlummer.Wordpress.com.

 

We will be giving away a copy of each of the Judith Ortiz Cofer books reviewed here this week to one lucky winner! The titles are: Call Me MaríaIf I Could Fly, and The Meaning of Consuelo and the picture book A Bailar/Let’s Dance.

 

ENTER HERE TO WIN FOUR JUDITH ORTIZ COFER BOOKS!

Book Review & Giveaway: If I Could Fly by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

Judith Ortiz Cofer was the first author to win the Pura Belpré Award for her first young adult book An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. On December 30, 2016, she passed away at the young age of 64, due to cancer. This week, we celebrate her life and work with reviews of four of her books and a giveaway. Please scroll to the end of this post to enter!

Reviewed by Toni Margarita Plummer

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Fifteen-year-old Doris is used to taking care of herself. Her musician parents have always spent more time singing in nightclubs than watching after her. But when her ailing mother goes home to Puerto Rico to get well and pursue a singing career there, and her father finds a new girlfriend, Doris is more alone than she’s ever been. Disconnected from her family and her best friends, who are intertwined in terrifying relationships with a violent classmate, Doris finds refuge in taking care of homing pigeons on her apartment building’s roof. As Doris tries to make sense of it all, she learns that, just like the pigeons, she might have to fly far distances before she finds out where she belongs.

MY TWO CENTS: If I Could Fly is the sequel to Judith Ortiz Cofer’s award-winning YA short story collection An Island Like You. Readers of the first book will remember invisible-feeling Doris, her artistic friend Arturo, her self-described “dangerous” friend Yolanda, and her musician parents. The title comes from something her mother says when frustrated with her father: Si yo tuviera alas. Literally, if I had wings.

Doris proves herself the worthy heroine of a novel. Her bewilderment and sorrow over her mother’s unexplained departure immediately makes her sympathetic. Her strength makes her admirable. Papi doesn’t know how to relate to her and is often busy managing two bands. Doris can deal with that, but what is less tolerable is when the singer who replaces Mami also ends up spending a lot of time in their apartment and tries to play mother. There are problems at school, too. Arturo is bullied by a member of the neighborhood gang. This escalates into two violent crimes committed by Doris’s classmates, but Ortiz Cofer doesn’t handle these in a preachy way. She seems to understand that troubled teenagers sometimes do stupid, even hateful, things and does not demonize the guilty parties. If one is looking for a lesson, readers can relate to having friends with problems. It is best to treat these friends with compassion, but also to remove yourself from dangerous situations.

Between the drama at school and with her parents, the apartment rooftop is the one place where Doris can find peace. There she spends time with Doña Iris, an elderly woman who thinks Doris possesses facultades, or clairvoyance. Together they examine the shiny things that Martha, the lead pigeon, brings back to the coop. It is lovely to see how Doris relates to the much older woman, and the comfort they give each other. (Doris’s grandmother in Puerto Rico is another memorable, sassier, older woman character.) In the part titles, Ortiz Cofer uses quotes from Derek Goodwin’s book Pigeons and Doves of the World to describe bird behavior. City pigeons aren’t normally thought of as that interesting or beautiful, but this information makes you appreciate them in a new way and enriches Doris’s story with potent metaphors about home and flight. Doris is torn. Should she stay in New Jersey with her mostly absent father or go to Puerto Rico to live with Mami? And does Mami even want her? She has the chance to visit Puerto Rico and imagine a life there. What’s clear is that, with her parents living in different places, life is never going to be simple.

Judith Ortiz Cofer writes an emotional, thought-provoking story about a girl grappling with the disintegration of her parents’ marriage, a strange but well-meaning potential stepparent, and her mother’s scary health issues. No less daunting is the fear that her mother is choosing her singing career over her. Amid the bad are bright spots, like a passionate drama teacher who urges Doris and her classmates to reimagine West Side Story. Embracing her creative abilities and imagination is what saves Doris, and this story will especially resonate with creative types who face similar obstacles.

WHERE TO GET IT: To find If I Could Fly, check your local public library, your local bookstore, or IndieBound. Also, check out GoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes and Noble.

judith ortiz coferABOUT THE AUTHOR: Judith Ortiz Cofer is an award-winning author known for her stories about coming-of-age experiences in the barrio and her writings about the cultural conflicts of immigrants. She is the author of many distinguished titles for young adults such as An Island Like You, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, and The Line in the Sun. She was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. In 2010, she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

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toni margarita plummerABOUT THE REVIEWER: Toni Margarita Plummer is a Macondo Fellow, a winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize, and the author of the story collection The Bolero of Andi Rowe. She hails from South El Monte, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, and worked as an acquiring editor at a major publisher for more than ten years. Toni now freelance edits and lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. Visit her website at ToniMargaritaPlummer.Wordpress.com.

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We will be giving away a copy of each of the Judith Ortiz Cofer books reviewed here this week to one lucky winner! The titles are: Call Me MaríaIf I Could Fly, and The Meaning of Consuelo and the picture book A Bailar/Let’s Dance.

ENTER HERE TO WIN FOUR JUDITH ORTIZ COFER BOOKS!

 

Book Review & Giveaway: Call Me María by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

Judith Ortiz Cofer was the first author to win the Pura Belpré Award for her first young adult book An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. On December 30, 2016, she passed away at the young age of 64, due to cancer. This week, we celebrate her life and work with reviews of four of her books and a giveaway. Please scroll to the end of this post to enter!

Reviewed by Toni Margarita Plummer

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: María is a girl caught between two worlds: Puerto Rico, where she was born, and New York, where she now lives in a basement apartment in the barrio. While her mother remains on the island, María lives with her father, the super of their building. As she struggles to lose her island accent, Mara does her best to find her place within the unfamiliar culture of the barrio. Finally, with the Spanglish of the barrio people ringing in her ears, she finds the poet within herself.

In lush prose and spare, evocative poetry, Pura Belpré Award-winner Judith Ortiz Cofer weaves a powerful and emotionally satisfying novel, bursting with life and hope.

MY TWO CENTS: Meet María Alegre and María Triste. She is María Alegre when as a young girl she makes her mother laugh by insisting they play Celia Cruz and dance mambo. María Triste emerges as it becomes clearer that Papi’s unrelenting depression means he will move back to New York City, his hometown. María’s mother, an English teacher and island girl, will not leave Puerto Rico, and María makes the decision to follow her father, with the plan of one day attending a good American university. As the cover states, this is a novel in letters, poems, and prose, and so María’s story unfolds through letters to and from Mamí, in poems María writes, and in short chapters about her friends, school, and life in a basement apartment in New York City, so different from the life she knew on the beaches of Puerto Rico. The vignette structure could draw comparisons to The House on Mango Street, and also like that book, this offers a portrait of a neighborhood that is burgeoning with life but also tinged by sadness.

María’s resilience is impressive. Despite her loneliness and strange new surroundings, she cooks and cleans for Papí and helps him manage the tenants’ concerns. The assembly of characters is vivid. There’s her wild best friend Whoopee Dominguez, or Whoopee the Magnificent, the sweet-talking Papi-lindo who lives on the fifth floor, Uma and her single mother from India who want Puerto Rican husbands and are practicing their salsa steps, and Mr. Golden, María’s English teacher who recognizes her gift with poetry. Papí, El Súper in a blue uniform, takes up guitar and plays old Puerto Rican songs for his tenants, eliciting a nostalgia for an island that many of them have never even seen. The question of whether he and Mamí will reunite does hang in the air for awhile. But we know that María will be strong enough to carry on and even flourish if that never happens. She is a keen observer of the world and people around her, and it’s a joy to see how her lessons at school ignite her imagination.

Heartbreaking, whimsical, and inventive, this is a beautiful novel which succeeds on many grounds. It’s funny and fast-moving, but boasts true emotional depth. Call Me María is just one example of Judith Ortiz Cofer’s amazing ability to capture the life of young Puerto Ricans in the barrio.

WHERE TO GET IT: To find Call Me María, check your local public library, your local bookstore, or IndieBound. Also, check out Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

judith ortiz coferABOUT THE AUTHOR: Judith Ortiz Cofer is an award-winning author known for her stories about coming-of-age experiences in the barrio and her writings about the cultural conflicts of immigrants. She is the author of many distinguished titles for young adults such as An Island Like You, Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood, and The Line in the Sun. She was the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. In 2010, she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

 

 

toni margarita plummerABOUT THE REVIEWER: Toni Margarita Plummer is a Macondo Fellow, a winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize, and the author of the story collection The Bolero of Andi Rowe. She hails from South El Monte, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, and worked as an acquiring editor for more than ten years at a major publisher. Toni now freelance edits and lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. Visit her website at ToniMargaritaPlummer.Wordpress.com.

 

We will be giving away a copy of each of the Judith Ortiz Cofer books reviewed here this week to one lucky winner! The titles are: Call Me María, If I Could Fly, and The Meaning of Consuelo and the picture book A Bailar/Let’s Dance.

 

ENTER HERE TO WIN FOUR JUDITH ORTIZ COFER BOOKS!

Celebrating the Legacy of Judith Ortiz Cofer + A Giveaway!

 

By Toni Margarita Plummer

Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, raised in Paterson, New Jersey, and for twenty-six years taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. She was a prolific author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and she won distinctions in all these genres. The first Latino to win an O. Henry Prize, her other honors included a PEN/Martha Albrand Special Citation for Nonfiction, an essay published in Best American Essays, and an induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. She also was a celebrated author of children’s literature. Ortiz Cofer was the first author to win the Pura Belpré Award for her first young adult book An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio. On December 30, 2016, she passed away at the young age of 64, due to cancer.

Latinxs in Kid Lit wishes to celebrate Judith Ortiz Cofer’s life and work by dedicating this week to her. Each day you will find a review of one of her books: the young adult novels Call Me María, If I Could Fly, and The Meaning of Consuelo and the picture book A Bailar/Let’s Dance. We will also host a giveaway of the books reviewed this week, so be sure to enter for a chance to win. We hope highlighting a few of Ortiz Cofer’s many books will lead you to discover or rediscover her writing, which holds a special place in Latino literature.

        

Given last year’s Hurricane María and the ongoing hardships in Puerto Rico, it is perhaps a good time to revisit the fraught relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, in particular, how this has affected Puerto Rican families. This is a recurrent theme in Ortiz Cofer’s work. In her stories, the tension between the two places manifests itself in the parents. The mother is loyal to the island. The father feels more at home in New York or New Jersey, or longs to go there because he imagines it offers a superior life. This plays a major factor in why the parents separate. The daughter, the main character, is independent, smart, and creative. She must grow up quickly and often has to take care of her parents. But she still manages to be true to herself and to ultimately follow her dreams. I found all of Ortiz Cofer’s books brimming with a love of language and reading, and a rich appreciation for Puerto Rican culture, especially its music.

TheLatinoAuthor.com interviewed Ortiz Cofer back in 2015 and asked how she would like to be remembered. This question was a general one and not in reference to her cancer. But I was still very interested to read her response: “I haven’t given much thought to how I want to be remembered. But perhaps it would be enough if someone remembered me by one thing they’ve read: ‘Wasn’t she the one who wrote . . .?'”

For Judith Ortiz Cofer, I think we can do better than that. See you here tomorrow!

 

judith ortiz cofer

 

 

toni margarita plummerToni Margarita Plummer is a Macondo Fellow, a winner of the Miguel Mármol Prize, and the author of the story collection The Bolero of Andi Rowe. She hails from South El Monte, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, and worked as an acquiring editor at a major publisher for more than ten years. Toni now freelance edits and lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. Visit her website at ToniMargaritaPlummer.Wordpress.com.

 

We will be giving away a copy of each of the Judith Ortiz Cofer books reviewed here this week to one lucky winner! The titles are: Call Me María, If I Could Fly, and The Meaning of Consuelo and the picture book A Bailar/Let’s Dance.

ENTER HERE TO WIN FOUR JUDITH ORTIZ COFER BOOKS!

2018 Titles By/For/About Latinx!!

 

 

AHHHH! we’re so excited about 2018! You will be, too, once you see the list below. Get your To-Be-Read lists out….Here are the 70+ titles we know about that are releasing in 2018 that are by/for/about Latinx . We plan to review as many of these as we can, so please check the site often or follow the blog for updates.  The coming year brings new books from so many of our favorite creators along with exciting debuts from Anna Meriano, NoNieqa Ramos, Mark Oshiro, Kristina Pérez, Juleah del Rosario, and Elizabeth Acevedo, among others. The books are listed by the publishing date. Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any!

HAPPY READING!

 

LOVE, SUGAR, MAGIC: A DASH OF TROUBLE by Anna Meriano, illus by Mirelle Ortega (Walden Pond Press, January 2, 2018). Middle Grade. Leonora Logrono’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration–but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas–witches of Mexican ancestry–who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business–even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong? OUR REVIEW: Coming Soon

 

 

35356379LOVE by Matt de la Peña, illus by Loren Long (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, January 9, 2018). Picture Book. In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

 

 

 

Stella Diaz Has Something to Say CoverSTELLA DIAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY by Angela Dominguez (Roaring Brook Press, January 16, 2018). Middle Grade. Stella Diaz loves marine animals, especially her beta fish, Pancho. But Stella Diaz is not a beta fish. Beta fish like to be alone, while Stella loves spending time with her mom and brother and her best friend Jenny. Trouble is, Jenny is in another class this year, and Stella feels very lonely. When a new boy arrives in Stella’s class, she really wants to be his friend, but sometimes Stella accidentally speaks Spanish instead of English and pronounces words wrong, which makes her turn roja. Plus, she has to speak in front of her whole class for a big presentation at school. But she better get over her fears soon, because Stella Diaz has something to say.

 

 

35566709STORMSPEAKER (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts #7) by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic, January 30, 2018). Middle Grade.

 

 

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THE DISTURBED GIRL’S DICTIONARY by NoNieqa Ramos (Carolrhoda Books, February 1, 2018). Young Adult. Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms–complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete. OUR REVIEW: Coming Soon

 

 

27414411PITCH DARK by Courtney Alameda (Feiwel & Friends, February 20, 2018). Young Adult. Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race. Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved. When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide–literally–the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race. OUR REVIEW: Coming soon.

 

 

 

FLIGHT SEASON by Marie Marquardt (Wednesday Books, February 20, 2018). Young Adult/New Adult. Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will. But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Angel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Angel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain. As it turns out, though, Angel Solis has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way. Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

 

 

 

THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Harper Teen, March 6, 2018). Young Adult. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers–especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. OUR REVIEW: Coming soon.

 

 

34921589LIES THAT BIND by Diana Rodriguez Wallach (Entangled Teen, March 6, 2018). Young Adult. Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia. But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find. As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust, including her best friends.

 

 

THE FLYING GIRL: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle, illus by Sara Palacios (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, March 6, 2018). Picture Book. On a lively street in the lovely city of Paris, a girl named Aída glanced up and was dazzled by the sight of an airship. Oh, how she wished she could soar through the sky like that. The inventor of the airship, Alberto, invited Aída to ride with him, but she didn’t want to be a passenger. She wanted to be the pilot. Aída was just a teenager, and no woman or girl had ever flown before. She didn’t let that stop her, though. All she needed was courage and a chance to try.

 

 

 

THE FIELD by Baptiste Paul and debut illustrator Jacqueline Alcantara (NorthSouth Books, March 6, 2018). Picture Book.
When a tropical rain storm threatens a game of pick-up futbol in an island community, is the soccer game over? Based on the author’s experiences growing up in St. Lucia. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews calls Paul and Alcantara’s excellent picture book debut, “irresistible fun”.

 

 

 

 

ISLANDBORN by Junot Díaz, illus by Leo Espinosa (Dial Books, March 13, 2018). Picture BookEvery kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island–she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories–joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening–Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family’s story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela’s words: “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”

 

 

HOW ARE YOU? / CÓMO ESTÁS? by Angela Dominguez (Henry Holt & Company, March 13, 2018). Picture Book. When two giraffe friends find a baby ostrich, they have some questions. Is baby ostrich hungry? Shy? Tired? Ostrich says no. So how does she feel? Friendship awaits in this book about feelings, expressed both in English and in Spanish.

 

 

 

JABBERWALKING by Juan Felipe Herrera (Candlewick Press, March 13, 2018). Middle Grade. U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is sharing secrets: how to turn your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry. Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you’re in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, Jabberwalking poet Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them — to Jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there’s no stopping once you’re a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. Scribble what you see Scribble what you hear It’s all out there — vamonos.

 

 

JOAN PROCTOR, DRAGON DOCTOR: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, illus by Felicita Sala. (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, March 13, 2018). Picture Book. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school. When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties–with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor. With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter’s inspiring story of passion and determination.

 

 

Moonstruck, Vol. 1 TPMOONSTRUCK by Grace Ellis, illus by Shae Beagle (Image Comics, March 21, 2018). Comics. Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late. The first chapter of the brand-new, all-ages, magical, coffee-laden adventure from Lumberjanes creator Grace Ellis and talented newcomer Shae Beagle.

 

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SCI-FU by Yehudi Mercado (Oni Press, March 13, 2018). Comics. Hip-hop, sci-fi and kung fu all hit the turntables for the mash-up mix of the year Cartoonist/force of nature Yehudi Mercado (Pantalones, TXRocket Salvage) sets his sights on 1980s Brooklyn and Wax, a young mix-master who scratches the perfect beat and accidentally summons a UFO that transports his family, best friend, and current crush to the robot-dominated planet of Discopia. Now Wax and his crew must master the intergalactic musical martial art of Sci-Fu to fight the power and save Earth. Word to your mother.

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.35825129EL VERANO DE LAS MARIPOSAS by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, translated by David Bowles (Tu Books, March 27, 2018). Young Adult. Odilia and her four sisters rival the mythical Odysseus in cleverness and courage as they embark on their own hero’s journey. After finding a drowned man floating in their secret swimming hole along the Rio Grande, the sisters trek across the border to bring the body to the man’s family in Mexico. But returning home turns into an odyssey of their own. Outsmarting mythical creatures, and with the supernatural aid of spectral La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters make their way along a road of trials to make it to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must defeat a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and the bloodthirsty chupacabras that prey on livestock. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them? Now in Spanish, the award-winning El verano de las mariposas (Summer of the Mariposas) is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.

 

 

ME, FRIDA, & THE SECRET OF THE PEACOCK RING by Angela Cervantes (Scholastic Press, March 27, 2018). Middle Grade. A room locked for fifty years. A valuable peacock ring. A mysterious brother-sister duo. Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She’s hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together. While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward — and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist. But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely? OUR REVIEW: Coming soon.

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QUIZÁS ALGO HERMOSO by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 27, 2018) Picture BookThe Tomâs Rivera Award-winning picture book MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL is now available in a Spanish hardcover edition!
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FEATHERED SERPENT, DARK HEART: MYTHS OF MEXICO by David Bowles (Cinco Puntos Press, April 2018). The stories in Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky trace the history of the world from its beginnings in the dreams of the dual god, Ometeotl, to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and the fall of the great city Tenochtitlan. In the course of that history, we learn about the Creator Twins–Feathered Serpent and Dark Heart of Sky–and how they built the world on a leviathan’s back; of the shape-shifting nahualli; and the aluxes, elfish beings known to help out the occasional wanderer. And finally, we read Aztec tales about the arrival of the blonde strangers from across the sea, the strangers who seek to upend the rule of Motecuhzoma and destroy the very stories we are reading.
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THE DRAGON SLAYER: Folktales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez (Toon Books, April 3, 2018). Graphic Novel. How would a kitchen maid fare against a seven-headed dragon? What happens when a woman marries a mouse? And what can a young man learn from a thousand leaf cutter ants? Jaime Hernandez asks these questions and more as he transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning, and utterly contemporary comics. Guided by the classic works of F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, Hernandez’s first book for young readers brings the sights and stories of Latin America to a new generation of graphic-novel fans around the world.

 

 

MARIO AND THE HOLE IN THE SKY: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch, illus by David Diaz. (Charlesbridge Publishing, April 3, 2018). Picture Book. Mexican American scientist Mario Molina is a modern-day hero who helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s. Growing up in Mexico City, Mario was a curious boy who studied hidden worlds through a microscope. As a young man in California, he discovered that CFCs, used in millions of refrigerators and spray cans, were tearing a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer. Mario knew the world had to be warned–and quickly. Today Mario is a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming. Also available in Spanish (Mario y el agujero en el cielo: Como un quimico salvo nuestro planet).

 

 

31328342FUTURE LOST by Elizabeth Briggs. (Albert Whitman & Company, April 3, 2018). Young Adult. It’s been a year since Elena and Adam were first recruited by Aether Corporation and six months since they destroyed the accelerator, finally putting an end to Project Chronos and their involvement with Aether. Now they’re trying to move on with their lives. Elena’s in college and Adam is working on making genicote, his cure for cancer, safe for the public. But genicote has become a dangerous fixation for Adam. He’ll do anything to figure it out, and when he goes missing, Elena realizes that he’s done the unthinkable: he went to Aether for help with the cure. To Elena’s horror, she discovers that Aether has created a new accelerator. Adam betrayed her trust and has traveled into the future to find the fix for his cure, but he didn’t come back when he was supposed to. Desperate to find him, Elena decides to risk future shock and time travels once more. This future is nothing like they’ve seen before. Someone has weaponized Adam’s cure and created a dangerous pandemic, leading to the destruction of civilization. If Elena can’t find Adam and stop this, everyone is at risk. And someone will do anything to keep her from succeeding.

 

 

ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Candlewick Press, April 10, 2018). Picture BookWhat’s in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from – and who she may one day be. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories and names. Simultaneous Spanish hardcover edition, ALMA Y CÓMO OBTUVO SU NOMBRE.

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ALPHABET BOATS by Samantha R. Vamos, illus by Ryan O’Rourke (Charlesbridge Publishing, April 17, 2018). Picture Book. Discover twenty-six types of vessels, from the more common–canoe and motorboat–to the unusual–umiak and Q-boat. Just like in Alphabet Trucks and Alphabet Trains, colorful art includes the letters of the alphabet hidden (and not-so-hidden) in supporting roles in the illustrations.

 

 

 

SWEET SHAPES by Juana Medina (Viking Books for Young Readers, April 24, 2018). Picture Book. In this delicious forest, the bears are made of rectangular brownies, the goldfinches are triangles of lemon tart, and the butterflies are oval jelly beans. What child could resist learning shapes from such delectable creatures as these? Collage artist Juana Medina has outdone herself with this array of tooth-achingly sweet animal desserts that come in all shapes and sizes.

 

 

 

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LOU LOU AND PEA AND THE BICENTENNIAL BONANZA by Jill Diamond, illus by Lesley Vamos (FSG/MacKids, April 24, 2018). Middle Grade. BFFs Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl are busy preparing for the Bicentennial Bonanza, their city’s two-hundredth birthday bash! And this year, the party will take place in their beloved neighborhood of El Corazón. With a baking contest, talent show, and a new gazebo planned, the community can’t wait to celebrate the founders (and historical BFFs), Diego Soto and Giles Wonderwood. But when Vice-Mayor Andy Argyle claims the festivities belong to Verde Valley, using a mysterious diary as evidence, Lou Lou and Pea smell trouble. Will the friends be able to uncover the secrets of their city’s founding, and bring the Bonanza back to El Corazón?

 

 

 

36580712DEAD WEIGHT: MURDER AT CAMP BLOOM by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon, Matthew Seely (Oni Press, April 24, 2018). Comics. Deep in the Oregon wilderness sits Camp Bloom, a weight-loss camp where “overweight” teens can “get in shape.” Jesse would rather be anywhere else, but her parents are forcing her to go. Noah isn’t sure if he wants to be there, but it’s too late to turn back. Tony is heartbroken at the thought of giving up his phone and internet. And Kate… well, she likes the hikes, at least. As far as these four teens are concerned, it’s just another boring summer. Until one night, when Jesse and Noah witness a beloved counselor’s murder. The body’s gone by the next morning, but a blurry photo leads to one clue–the murderer is one of the camp’s staff members. But which one? As Jesse, Noah, Kate, and Tony investigate, they quickly discover that everyone’s got their secrets… and one of them would kill to keep theirs hidden.

 

 

35068505ALLIED: RUINED #3 by Amy Tintera (HarperTeen, May 1, 2018). Young Adult. Emelina Flores and her sister, Olivia, were determined to bring peace to the people of Ruina. But as the war for liberation raged on, what triumph and freedom meant to Em and Olivia slowly changed. As Olivia’s violence and thirst for vengeance became her only ambition, Em was left to pick up the pieces. But it’s not only Em who is upset by Olivia’s increased violence. Other members of the Ruined army are beginning to see the cracks, and soon a small group of them defects from Olivia’s army and joins Em instead. The two sisters are soon pitted against each other in an epic battle for the kingdom and the future, and only one will win.

 

 

LA FRONTERA / THE BORDER: El Viaje Con Papa / My Journey with Papa by Alfredo Alva and Deborah Mills , illus by Claudia Navarro (Barefoot Books, May 1, 2018). Picture Book. Join a young boy and his father on a daring journey from Mexico to Texas to find a new life. They’ll need all the resilience and courage they can muster to safely cross the border/ la frontera and to make a home for themselves in a new land.

 

 

 

36373350JAZZ OWLS: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle, illus. by Rudy Gutierrez (Antheneum Books for Young Readers, May 8, 2018). Young Adult. Thousands of young Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are teenagers, scared, longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls are happy to dance with the sailors–until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder. Suddenly the young white sailors are attacking these girls’ brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence–when in reality these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin.

 

 

35707056UNDEAD GIRL GANG by Lily Anderson (Razorbill, May 8, 2018). Young Adult. Meet teenage Wiccan Mila Flores, who truly could not care less what you think about her Doc Martens, her attitude, or her weight because she knows that, no matter what, her BFF Riley is right by her side. So when Riley and Fairmont Academy mean girls June Phelan-Park and Dayton Nesseth die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her BFF was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life. Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders. But they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

 

 

ALL OF THIS IS TRUE by Lygia Day Peñaflor (HarperTeen, May 15, 2018). Young Adult. In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Penaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book–with devastating consequences. Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her. Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck–especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was–and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it. Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price. Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying–and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book–this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

 

 

  feather-weight_400¡LA CELEBRACIÓN! by Susan M. Elya, illustrated by Ana Aranda (Lee & Low Books, May 15, 2018) Picture BookIt’s a sunny summer day. Come join the crowd headed for the parade. Marvel at the people riding motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, and unicycles. Duck out of the way as firefighters spray water on hot spectators. Clap to the music as bands of musicians playing clarinetes, saxophones, flautas, trumpets, and drums march by. Feast on lemonade, watermelon, tacos, and ice cream. Wave to the corn princess as her float passes by. Then take cover when a quick rain shower comes, followed by a bright rainbow. Back in the town plaza as night falls, marvel at the sparkling fireworks that end the day’s festivities. Pop, pop, pop Bon, bon, bon With engaging text and imaginative, whimsical illustrations, this story is the perfect way to enjoy a summer day–and learn some Spanish, too.

 

 

author2ALL THE STARS DENIED by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books, July 15, 2018). Young Adult. In the heart of the Great Depression, Rancho Las Moras, like everywhere else in Texas, is gripped by the drought of the Dust Bowl, and resentment is building among white farmers against Mexican Americans. All around town, signs go up proclaiming “No Dogs or Mexicans” and “No Mexicans Allowed.” When Estrella organizes a protest against the treatment of tejanos in their town of Monteseco, Texas, her whole family becomes a target of “repatriation” efforts to send Mexicans “back to Mexico”–whether they were ever Mexican citizens or not. Dumped across the border and separated from half her family, Estrella must figure out a way to survive and care for her mother and baby brother. How can she reunite with her father and grandparents and convince her country of birth that she deserves to return home? There are no easy answers in the first YA book to tackle this hidden history.

 

 

36142487ANGER IS A GIFT by Mark Oshiro (Tor Teen, May 22, 2018). Young Adult. Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks. Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration. When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

 

 

Virginia Sánchez KorrolTHE SEASON OF REBELS AND ROSES by Virginia Sánchez-Korrol (Piñata Books, May 31, 2018). Young Adult. At an assembly of liberals in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1887, Inocencia Martínez eagerly looks for Sotero Figueroa, a journalist and independence movement activist whose politics and handsome visage she finds extremely exciting. She is so intent on keeping him in her sights that, when he stops to speak to someone, she almost runs right into him! Inocencia, the daughter of a Spanish bureaucrat, was 18 when she first heard Figueroa speak about freedom from colonial repression and an independent Puerto Rico. Hearing the speakers at the assembly, some who advocate for total independence from Spain and others who favor a plan that would give Puerto Rico a voice in the Spanish government, fuels her dreams of becoming a leader in the movement. When Sotero requests permission to visit, Inocencia’s parents are initially horrified that a mulatto, someone of African descent, wants to court their daughter. Ultimately, just before the couple’s seditious activities force them into exile, her parents give approval for their marriage. While living in New York City, Inocencia starts her own women s group to aid the revolutionaries, following in the footsteps of her mentor, Doña Lola Rodríguez Tió. Ranging from Puerto Rico to Cuba and the United States, this engaging novel for teens follows historical figures that were instrumental in the fight for self-determination in Puerto Rico.

 

 

Image result for gloria velasquezFORGIVING MOSES (Roosevelt High School) by Gloria Velásquez (Piñata Books, May 31, 2018). Young Adult. Moses Vargas hates his life. He has been forced to move four times in as many years, and he’s tired of starting at another school, having everyone stare at him and trying to make new friends. Most of all, he doesn’t want to have to deal with questions about his father an inmate in the California Department of Corrections. When Moses discovers that someone has been sending out text messages with a photo of him and his father in a prison uniform, he ends up in a fight and then suspended for three days. School counselor Ray Gutiérrez agrees to reach out to Moses. He realizes that several boys at Roosevelt High School are dealing with absentee fathers, putting them at risk for failure or dropping out. With permission from the principal, Mr. Gutiérrez starts an after-school support program called Círculos. Moses grudgingly attends the sessions that draw on indigenous and cultural roots to empower the boys. Realizing he is not the only one with a problematic home life and the new friendship of a pretty classmate whose father is also in prison helps Moses to begin talking about his anger and embarrassment. But will he really be able to overcome his resentment towards his father? The tenth installment in Velásquez s acclaimed Roosevelt High School Series that focuses on social issues relevant to teens, Forgiving Moses addresses the painful issue of children, particularly brown and black youth, whose fathers are not present in their lives.

 

 

zoraida_vlc_photo2BRUJA BORN (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova (Sourcebooks Fire, June 1, 2018). Young Adult. Lula must let go of the ghosts of her past to face the actual living dead of her present. Lula Mortiz may be a bruja with healing powers, but after her family’s battle in Los Lagos, she feels broken in a way she can’t seem to fix. Then tragedy strikes when a bus crash leaves her friends and her boyfriend, Maks, dead. Desperate to reclaim normalcy, Lula invokes a dark spell to bring Maks back. It isn’t until she hears that all of the bodies from the crash have gone missing that she realizes something is wrong. Lula has unwittlingly raised an army of casi muertos—creatures between the living and dead—and they’re hungry for freedom…which they can only achieve if Lula dies.

 

 

 

31179006SWEET BLACK WAVES by Kristina Pérez (Imprint, June 5, 2018). Young Adult. Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them. As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved. Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen.

 

 

FLOR AND MIRANDA STEAL THE SHOW by Jennifer Torres (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 12, 2018). Middle Grade. Miranda is the lead singer in her family’s musical band, Miranda y Los Reyes. Her family has worked hard performing at festivals and quinceaneras. Now, they have a shot at the main stage. How will Miranda make it a performance to remember? Flor’s family runs the petting zoo at Mr. Barsetti’s carnival. When she accidentally overhears Mr. Barsetti and Miranda’s dad talk about cutting the zoo to accommodate Miranda y Los Reyes’s main stage salary, she knows she has to take action. Will she have the heart for sabotage once she and Miranda actually start to become friends?

 

 

THERE’S NO BASE LIKE HOME by Jessica Mendoza, Alana Mendoza Dusan, illustrated by Ruth McNally Barshaw (Tu Books, June 19, 2018). Middle Grade. This is going to be eleven-year-old Sophia Maria Garcia’s best year ever: she’s going out for the same softball team on which her high-school softball star sister played at her age, and she’s starting middle school. New school, new Sophia. But all does not go according to plan. Sophia does not make the Waves softball team, and making friends at her new school does not go well. Maybe Sophia isn’t the pitcher she thought she might be. And her best friend is drifting away, getting interested in boys and losing interest in Sophia. As the middle school blues set in, Sophia must reach deep down and find a little UMPH–the difference between being good and being great–to figure out her own place, on the field and off.

 

 

THE FALL OF INNOCENCE by Jenny Torres Sanchez (Philomel, June 2018). Young Adult. An un-coming-of-age story that charts the devolution of 16-year-old Emilia DeJesus when she learns that the police arrested the wrong man for attacking her seven years prior, that the real perpetrator is still out there, and that beauty can be found in all lost things.

 

 

 

 

35705700THE HIDDEN CITY by David Bowles (Garza Twins #3) (IFWG Publishing, July 2018). Middle Grade. Distressed by new threats, the Garza family take a summer trip to the mountains of La Chinantla in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. While Johnny and Carol grapple with a pair of budding romances, the twins’ parents are take captive by a group of forest elementals and renegade sisimites, talking apes whose ancestors survived the destruction at the end of the Second Age. Now the shapeshifting heroes will have to find a legendary city hidden deep in the cloud forests to forge new alliances, face foes both new and old, and save the ones they love.

 

 

LENA’S SHOES ARE NERVOUS by Keith Calabrese, illustrated by Juana Medina. (Atheneum Books, July 3, 2018). Picture Book.  In the tradition of School’s First Day of School, debut author Keith Calabrese and Pura Belpre Award winner Juana Medina share a sweet, universal story about a clever little girl whose shoes are nervous about the first day of school.Today is a big day Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem…Lena’s shoes are nervous.Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes How can she convince them to be brave?

 

 

MY YEAR IN THE MIDDLE by Lila Quintero Weaver (Candlewick Press, July 10, 2018). Middle Grade. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately — acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state — and in the classroom — mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

 

 

A GIFT FROM ABUELA by Cecilia Ruiz (Candlewick, August 7, 2018). Picture Book. The first time Abuela holds Nina, her heart overflows with tenderness. And as Nina grows up, she and Abuela spend plenty of time together. Abuela can’t help thinking how much she’d like to give Nina a very special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week — a few pesos here, a few pesos there. When the world turns upside down, Abuela’s dream of a surprise for Nina seems impossible. Luckily, time spent together — and the love Abuela and Nina have for each other — could turn out to be the very best gift of all. With a soft and subtle hand, author-illustrator Cecilia Ruiz draws from her own history to share a deeply personal tale about remembering what’s most important when life starts to get in the way.

 

 

 

MARCUS VEGA DOESN’T SPEAK SPANISH by Pablo Cartaya (Viking Books, August 21, 2018). Middle Grade. Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. When you look like this and you’re only in the eighth grade, you’re both a threat and a target. Marcus knows what classmates and teachers see when they look at him: a monster. But appearances are deceiving. At home, Marcus is a devoted brother. And he finds ways to earn cash to contribute to his family’s rainy day fund. His mom works long hours and his dad walked out ten years ago—someone has to pick up the slack. After a fight at school leaves him facing suspension, Marcus and his family decide to hit the reset button and regroup for a week in Puerto Rico. Marcus is more interested in finding his father, though, who is somewhere on the island. Through a series of misadventures that take Marcus all over Puerto Rico in search of the elusive Mr. Vega, Marcus meets a colorful cast of characters who show him the many faces of fatherhood. And he even learns a bit of Spanish along the way.

 

 

My favorite chairImage result for rafael lopezTHE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson, illus by Rafael López (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, August 28, 2018). Picture BookThere are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look, talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael López’s dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

 

 

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LUCKY LUNA by Diana López (Scholastic, August 28, 2018). Middle GradeIn LUCKY LUNA, Diana López returns to her contemporary, realistic CONFETTI GIRL roots, and introduces us to a funny and mischievous girl named Luna Ramos whose primas are always getting her in trouble. Or is it the other way around? Laughs and hijinks abound in this young middle grade novel about a girl and her many cousins in small-town Texas.

 

 

 

STORM RUNNER by Jennifer Cervantes (Rick Riordan Presents, September 18, 2018). Middle Grade. A 13-year-old boy must save the world by unraveling an ancient Mayan prophecy. Zane must not only grapple with a family history that connects him to the Mayan gods, but with newly acquired knowledge that his ancestry may have something to do with a leg deformity that requires he use a cane — not the greatest reality for a middle schooler.

 

 

Image result for patrick flores scottAMERICAN ROAD TRIP by Patrick Flores-Scott (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt & Co., September 18, 2018). Young Adult. A YA novel about Teodoro “T” Avila, a 17-year old whose family is affected by the economy and the Iraq War, but when he falls for college-bound Wendy, he fights to overcome family chaos and turn his life around.

 

 

 

Image result for meg medinaMERCI SUAREZ CHANGES GEARS by Meg Medina (Candlewick, September 2018). Middle Grade. Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. At home, Merc’s grandfaterh and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately–forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing at all. No one in her family will tell Merci anything, so she’s left to her own worries. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school–and the steadfast connection that family defines family.

 

 

Image result for mary louise sanchezTHE WIND CALLED MY NAME by Mary Louise Sanchez (Tu Books, June 3, 2018). Middle Grade. Some days, ten-year-old Margarita Sandoval feels as if the wind might blow her away. The country has been gripped by the Great Depression, so times are hard everywhere. Then she has to leave her familia and compadres in New Mexico–especially her beloved Abuelita–to move to Fort Steele, Wyoming, where her father has taken a job on the railroad. When Margarita meets Evangeline, she’s excited to have a friend her own age . . . but it seems like Evangeline, and everyone else in town, doesn’t understand or appreciate the Sandovals’ Hispanic heritage, or Margarita’s father’s efforts to organize the rail workers in a union. How can Margarita keep her friend, find a place in Fort Steele, and yet remain true to herself?

 

 

                                                       Photo by Margot Wood.Image result for becky albertalliWHAT IF IT’S US by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (HarperTeen, October 2, 2018). Young AdultWhat If It’s Us opens as Arthur and Ben meet at the post office as Ben is shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. They subsequently endure the frustration of knowing there was a missed connection, before the universe pushes them back together again in a series of failed “first” dates.

 

 

BLANCA & ROJA by 2017 Stonewall Honor recipient Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends, October 9, 2018). Young Adult. A magical realist Snow-White & Rose-Red meets Swan Lake, in which two sisters become rivals in a game that will turn the losing girl into a swan.
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BRIEF CHRONICLE OF ANOTHER STUPID HEARTBREAK by Adi Alsaid (Harlequin Teen, summer 2018). Young Adult. The novel follows a teen relationship columnist as she struggles with writers’ block in the wake of a devastating breakup, and her decision to chronicle the planned breakup of another couple in the summer after they graduate from high school.

 

 

 

20171227a_CarolynDeeFlores_TheAmazingWatercolorFish_FrontCover_50PercentTHE AMAZING WATERCOLOR FISH by Carolyn Dee Flores (Arte Público Press/Piñata, summer 2018). A rhyming picture book about two lonely fish, separated by a wall of books, who communicate by creating incredible worlds in watercolor. The book will be bilingual and rhyme in both Spanish and English, with Spanish translation (literary interpretation) by former Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

 

 

Courtney Author Photos2013_117.jpgSEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani (HarperTeen, summer 2018). Set in modern-day Japan, 17-year-old Kira, who is the victim of bullying at her school, finds solace working in her grandfather’s Shinto shrine. After realizing that she can see and commune with demons, Kira – with her younger sister in tow – partners with seven “death gods,” or “Shinigami” in Japanese, to save Kyoto from destruction.

 

 

33110891CARMELA FULL OF WISHES by Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson (Penguin Young Readers, October 9, 2018). Picture Book. When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they walk through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panaderia, until they arrive at the laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make.

 

 

author_photoARE YOU READY TO HATCH AN UNUSUAL CHICKEN? (Unusual Chickens #2) by Kelly Jones, illus. by Katie Kath (Knopf Books for Young Readers, November 2018).

 

 

 

Image result for sonia sotomayorTURNING PAGES: MY LIFE STORY by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Philomel, fall 2018). A picture book autobiography, illustrated by Lulu Delacre, in which Justice Sotomayor follows the path of her life as it relates to the books she read along the way. Also, THE BELOVED WORLD OF SONIA SOTOMAYOR (Delacorte, fall 2018), a middle grade adaptation of her bestselling memoir, My Beloved World.

 

SOMEONE LIKE ME: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream by Julissa Arce. (Little, Brown, fall 2018). Young Adult.  An adaptation of the 2016 adult memoir MY (UNDERGROUND) AMERICAN DREAM. This YA adaptation chronicles Arce’s childhood in Mexico separated from her parents and her struggle to belong in America while growing up as an undocumented student in Texas.
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GALÁPAGOS GIRL by Marsha Diane Arnold, illus by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Angela Dominguez. (Lee & Low, fall 2018). Picture Book. About a girl who lives on one of the Galápagos islands, and the various species of the island that provide her with friendship and inspiration.
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PATH TO THE STARS: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo. A middle grade memoir is a personal account of how Acevedo overcame childhood poverty through her involvement with the Girl Scouts and Head Start, to become one of the first Latinas to receive a post-graduate degree in engineering from Stanford University. The book will be published simultaneously in English and Spanish by Clarion Books/HMH in fall 2018.

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THE VAST WONDER OF THE WORLD by Mélina Mangal, illus by Luisa Uribe. (Lerner/Millbrook Press, fall 2018). Picture Book. About the life and accomplishments of Ernest Everett Just, an African-American research biologist.
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WE’VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN OUR HANDS (Scholastic, fall 2018). Picture Book. A celebration of what connects us all, illustrated by Rafael López with the text adapted from the original lyrics by Reverend F.W. McGee.
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SEÑORITA MARIPOSA by Latin Grammy Award-winning children’s musician Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer), illus by Mexican artist Marcos Almada Rivero (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018). A picture book celebrating butterfly migration as witnessed by American and Mexican children.
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Matt MendezWHEN WE WERE FEARLESS by Matt Mendez (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, fall 2018). Young Adult. The novel tells the story of two high school friends growing up in a barrio community in El Paso, Texas.
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THE RESOLUTIONS by Mia Garcia (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, fall 2018). Young Adult. The book follows four friends who assign each other New Year’s resolutions to try to change the course of their disastrous lives.
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ZOMBIES DON’T EAT VEGGIES by Jorge Lacera and Megan Lacera (Lee & Low, fall 2018). The story follows Mo Romero, a young zombie who convinces his zombie parents to try (and love!) vegetables.

 

 

 

Zara Gonzalez HoangSurishtha SehgalKabir SehgalTHREAD OF LOVE by Kabir & Surishtha Sehgal, illus by Zara Gonzalez Hoang (Beach Lane Books/S&S, fall 2018). The picture book is a sibling-love and Indian-holiday story told to the tune of the classic song “Frére Jacques.”

 

Image result for margarita engle haku finds a homeHAKU FINDS A HOME by Margarita Engle with Amish Karanjit and Nicole Karanjit, illusustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran (Lerner, fall 2018). Picture Book.

 

 

 

 ANA MARIA REYES DOES NOT LIVE IN A CASTLE by Hilda Burgos (Tu Books, fall 2018). Middle Grade. About 11-year-old Anamay, who is upset to discover that she will be getting a new sibling until she travels to her parents’ native Dominican Republic and learns that family and community are more important than material possessions.