Summer Stories: Hispanic Heritage

For the characters in these Latino-themed stories, the summer's magic can be found in small (but mysterious) objects, such as a baseball, an old song, and a lucha libra mask. Where will their summertime adventures lead next?

Alicia's Fruity Drinks

Illustrated by: Laura Lacamara
Age Level: 6-9

"The fruit- blended juice drinks known as aguas frescas offered at a fair inspire a little girl and her mother to serve their own version after a soccer practice. The dual English/ Spanish text is augmented by summery scenes in opaque, rich colors. The simplicity of the suggested idea that homemade fruit juice will always be fun to make and delicious to drink is appealing." — KIRKUS Reviews

An Island Like You

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Judith Ortiz Cofer's award-winning collection of short stories focuses on life in the barrio. Rita is exiled to Puerto Rico for a summer with her grandparents after her parents catch her with a boy. Luis sits atop a six-foot mountain of hubcaps in his father's junkyard, working off a sentence for breaking and entering. Sandra tries to reconcile her looks to the conventional Latino notion of beauty. And Arturo, different from his macho classmates, fantasizes about escaping his community.

Firefly Summer

Age Level: 9-12

"In this turn-of-the-century novel, seventh-grader Teresa attends school in San Juan and travels home in time to celebrate the Feast of the Cross with her extended family, friends, and plantation workers on her parents' finca…Belpré submitted Firefly Summer for publication during World War II, but it was rejected because of a paper shortage; it is available now because of a national project whose aim is to locate, identify, preserve, and make accessible the literary heritage of U.S. Hispanics." — School Library Journal

Grandma's Records

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Every summer, Eric goes to live with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) while his parents work. Through the long hot days, Grandma fills her apartment with the blaring horns and conga drums of Bomba y Plena, salsa, and merengüe — the music she grew up with in Puerto Rico — sharing her memories and passions with Eric. Join Eric Velasquez on a magical journey through time and across cultures, as a young boy's passion for music and art is forged by a powerful bond between generations.

Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Max's Lucha Libre Adventures)

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: Maximilian acts like any other eleven-year-old aficionado of lucha libre: he worships all the players. But in the summer just before sixth grade, he tumbles over the railing at a match in San Antonio and makes a connection to the world of Mexican wrestling that will ultimately connect him — maybe by blood! — to the greatest hero of all time: the Guardian Angel. A 2012 Pura Belpré Author Honor Award winner.

Pacific Crossing

By: Gary Soto
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: In Japan for the summer to practice the martial art of kempo, Lincoln Mendoza sometimes feels like little more than a brown boy in a white gi. Yet with the help of his Japanese brother, Mitsuo, Lincoln sees that people everywhere, whether friend or kempo opponent, share passions much like his own — for baseball, family traditions, and new friendships.

Tortilla Sun

Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: When twelve-year-old Izzy discovers a beat-up baseball marked with the words "Becausemagic" while unpacking in yet another new apartment, she is determined to figure out what it means. What secrets does this old ball have to tell? Her mom certainly isn't sharing anyespecially when it comes to Izzy's father, who died before Izzy was born. But when she spends the summer in her Nana's remote New Mexico village, Izzy discovers long-buried secrets that come alive in an enchanted landscape of watermelon mountains, whispering winds, and tortilla suns.

Under the Mambo Moon

Illustrated by: Fabricio Vanden Broeck
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: On summer nights Marisol helps out in Papi's music store. As customers come and go, they share memories of the Latin music and dance of their various homelands, expressed in a dazzling array of poetry. The diversity of Latin American music is brought to life in poems that swivel, sway, and sizzle with the rhythms of merengüe, vallenatos, salsa, and samba. Back matter includes a map, author's note, and further information about the musical heritage of Latin America.

What Can You Do With a Paleta?

Illustrated by: Magaly Morales
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: As she strolls through her barrio, a young girl introduces readers to the frozen, fruit-flavored treat that thrills Mexican and Mexican-American children. Create a masterpiece, make tough choices (strawberry or coconut?), or cool off on a warm summer's day — there's so much to do with a paleta!

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash (Book 4)

Illustrated by: Miguel Benitez
Age Level: 6-9

Freddie Ramos' super running and jumping powers and his confidence disappear after the loss of his zapatos. When his special-soled shoes are found, Freddie is able to successfully confront a bully as well as his own swimming fears. Easy but lively language and line drawings present an engaging story for new readers in the fourth book in this series.