I want you to stop for a moment and imagine being a parent telling your eight-year-old that you’re about to send him on a journey that will take him to another country, mostly by foot, across hundreds of miles, across all sorts of terrains, in all sorts of weather, facing untold dangers, in search of a better life. Now imagine that you’re the eight-year-old.
I want more of this kind of book for my kids. Without making it mushy or unbelievable, Fajardo masterfully intertwines the stories of this precocious not-child and his not-adult brother into one of the sweetest narratives I’ve read in a long time. She allows them to be vulnerable and share a very tender bond that flies in the face of the machismo we’ve been told to expect, and to celebrate.
As the youngest daughter of a Cuban family living in Miami, Lila Reyes has everything she could possibly want. She has spent her life learning to make all of the recipes her grandmother taught her while working at their family bakery, La Paloma. Cooking and baking are Lila’s heart and soul; they are the passions that drive her dreams and fuel her goals. The recipes her grandmother taught her go far beyond the kitchen where she spends so much of her time; they are the very beat of her heart.
There are people who carry a pocket US Constitution in their, you know, pocket. This book is not for those people. In my experience, the folks with the slim black copy of the Constitution in their jacket pocket tend to take the document as an unchanging lodestar, practically perfect in every way. I suspect they wouldn’t like this marvelous book aimed at middle grade Con Law scholars , because the authors present a more sophisticated, nuanced, and dare I say, correct view of the matter, one that shows us where the Framers got the Constitution right, and where they just got it written. And you know what? It’s a serious page turner.
This book is a beautiful journey through the past presidents of the United States with a twist–introducing the idea to children that at any time while there is a president in the White House, future presidents (up to 10!) are alive and doing wonderful interesting things.
To say that 12 year old Santiago has had a rough life would be putting it mildly. His father out of the picture, his loving mom dead since he was 5, Santiago has bounced between the houses of his malicious and abusive relatives. His abuela, la malvada, is the worst. After being banished once again to her house, Santiago decides he would rather run away than return to her.
From the streets of Oakland, to the plains of Zambia, from snowy Montreal to historic Howard University in Washington DC, we follow Kamala’s story as she sees injustice and tries to right it in ways big and small. Illustrator Laura Freeman’s colorful and bold illustrations are gorgeous, and Grimes’ prose is poetic but to the point.
It’s easy to read Paola Santiago and the River of Tears as the spellbinding story of the supernatural that it is, but just as Pao learns that there’s more going on beneath the surface of the Gila River, the reader discovers there’s more depth in the book too. Themes of place and belonging are brought into sharp relief as Pao chafes at what she sees as her mother’s backwards beliefs.
Claire is in seventh grade. She’s smart, funny, and is intrigued by science. Probably because, unlike her life, it can be measured and verified and it makes sense. On the other hand there’s her paranormal activity chasing father, her best friend who seems to have ditched her for someone new, her brother with whom she is perpetually feuding, and a dreamy boy she has a crush on.