Coming of Age: New Responsibilities

The Latino kids in these stories have lots of new responsibilities — some expected, others unexpected. Follow their journey as they care of their families, neighbors, and friends in new and important ways. Recommended for grades 7-12.

All for the Better: A Story of El Barrio

Age Level: 9-12

"In 1933 the Great Depression had hit Puerto Rico as hard as it had hit the United States. Evelina Lopez, then 11, left her mother and sisters to live with an aunt in New York City. Her journey to Spanish Harlem, El Barrio, and the life that followed there make up this simple biography. When she learned that food packages were available to those who presented the proper forms, but that most of her neighbors were too ashamed to apply, she found a solution.

Almost a Woman

Age Level: 16-18

"This book continues the life story that Santiago began in When I Was Puerto Rican. After her family's arrival in New York City, Santiago faced the difficult process of assimilation. As the oldest of eight children, she led her siblings in exploring the new culture and opportunities available to them. Santiago's memoir traces her personal growth through her teenage years; she describes her relationships with her family, her early dating experiences, and her first sexual encounters.

Becoming Naomi León

Age Level: 9-12

Naomi and her younger brother Owen have lived with their grandmother in a small trailer for many years, ever since they were abandoned by their mother. When Mom Terri Lynn suddenly returns, does she really have the kids' best interests at heart?

Gringolandia

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: Daniel's papá, Marcelo, used to play soccer, dance the cueca, and drive his kids to school in a beat-up green taxi — all while publishing an underground newspaper that exposed Chile's military regime. After Papá's arrest in 1980, Daniel's family fled to the United States. Now Daniel has a new life, but when Daniel's father is released and rejoins his family, they see what five years of prison and torture have done to him. Even though Daniel dreams of a real father-son relationship, he may have to give up everything simply to save Papá's life.

Heat

Age Level: 12-14

Product Description: Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. Newly orphaned after his father led the family's escape from Cuba, Michael's only family is his seventeen-yearold brother Carlos. If Social Services hears of their situation, they will be separated in the foster-care system — or worse, sent back to Cuba. Together, the boys carry on alone, dodging bills and anyone who asks too many questions.

Marcelo In The Real World

Age Level: 14-16

Marcelo Sandoval, a 17-year-old with an Asperger's-like condition, has arranged a job caring for ponies at his special school's therapeutic-riding stables. But he is forced to exit his comfort zone when his high-powered father steers Marcelo to work in his law firm's mailroom…Readers enter his private world as he navigates the unfamiliar realm of menial tasks and office politics with the ingenuity of a child, his voice never straying from authenticity even as the summer strips away some of his differences. — Publishers Weekly

Next to Mexico

Age Level: 9-12

"Lylice has skipped a year and is new to Susan B. Anthony Middle School in her hometown of Tucson. Worried about making friends, the sixth grader becomes the English Buddy to Mexico, a student from Nogales who lives with her aunt and is a talented artist…When Mexico is hospitalized because her aunt is about to be unemployed and can't afford her niece's insulin, the girls finagle a job interview for her by forging a letter on stolen school stationery. Then, because of a boy on whom she has a crush, Lylice hurts her friend's feelings.

Soledad: A Novel

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: Soledad couldn't get away fast enough from her contentious family. She's an art student at Cooper Union with a gallery job and a hip East Village walk-up. But when Tía Gorda calls with the news that Soledad's mother has lapsed into an emotional coma, she insists that Soledad's return is the only cure.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind

Age Level: 14-16

Sixteen-year-old Sonia Ocampo was born on the night of the worst storm Tres Montes had ever seen. And when the winds mercifully stopped, an unshakable belief in the girl’s protective powers began. Sonia knows she has no special powers, but how can she disappoint those who look to her for solace? When she gets a chance to travel to the city and work in the home of a wealthy woman, she seizes it. But when news arrives that her beloved brother has disappeared while looking for work, she learns to her sorrow that she can never truly leave the past or her family behind.

The Meaning of Consuelo: A Novel

Age Level: 16-18

Product Description: The Signe family is blessed with two daughters. Consuelo, the elder, is thought of as pensive and book-loving, the serious child — la niña seria — while Mili, her younger sister, is seen as vivacious, a ray of tropical sunshine. But, for all the joy both girls should bring, something is not right in this Puerto Rican family; a tragedia is developing, like a tumor, at its core.

The Pregnancy Project: A Memoir

Age Level: 14-16

Product Description: Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. Gaby had ambitions that didn't include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she "lived down" to others' expectations? These questions sparked Gaby's school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

Trino's Time

Age Level: 12-14

"In Bertrand's solid follow-up to the award-winning Trino's Choice (1999), 15-year-old Trino moves past the haunting memory of his friend's murder and takes on more responsibility in his family. To contribute to the small household income, Trino accepts a job in a grocery store, taking time from friends and schoolwork. When he's assigned a biographical report on Jose Antonio Navarro, Trino finds a hero who helps him aspire to more than just survival." — Booklist

Under the Feet of Jesus

Age Level: 16-18

"Migrant Mexicans shackled to a life of itinerant farm labor form the backdrop for a summer in the life of young Estrella and her family. Seemingly a prescription for sorrow, in Viramontes' hands the canvas instead teems with color and builds toward hope for a liberating future — at least for Estrella." — Booklist

Under the Mesquite

Age Level: 12-14

The oldest of eight siblings in her Mexican American family, Lupita is a talented actress and gifted writer. As she wonders what world she belongs in — across the border, taking her dying mother's place, or building a life of her own — she tells her story in verse, offering intimate access to the daily lives and conversation of family and friends and an outpouring of her innermost thoughts as she tries to find and establish her own identity. 2012 Pura Belpré Award Winner.