January 10, 2020

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Lucky Broken Girl

By: Ruth Behar
Recommended for grade(s): 7
In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time. Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times. -- Penguin
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When we lived in Cuba, I was smart. but when we got to Queens, in New York City, in the United States of America, I became dumb, just because I couldn't speak English. So I got put in the dumb class in fifth grade at P.S. 117. It's the class for the bobos, the kids who failed at math and reading. Also in it are the kids the teachers call "delinquents."
  • Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish
    Juan Felipe Herrera

    Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish

    By: Juan Felipe Herrera
    Recommended for grade(s): 7

    From U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, here are stirring poems that read like music. Awarded the Pura Belpré Honor for this book, Herrera writes in both Spanish and English about the joy and laughter and sometimes the confusion of growing up in an upside-down, jumbled-up world—between two cultures, two homes. With a crazy maraca beat, Herrera creates poetry as rich and vibrant as mole de olé and pineapple tamales . . . an aroma of papaya . . . a clear soup with strong garlic, so you will grow & not disappear. Herrera's words are hot & peppery, good for you. They show us what it means to laugh out loud until it feels like flying. -- From HarperCollins

    Where to Find

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  • Cuba 15
    Nancy Osa

    Cuba 15

    By: Nancy Osa
    Recommended for grade(s): 8

    Violet Paz has just turned fifteen, a pivotal birthday in the eyes of her Cuban grandmother. Fifteen is the age when a girl enters womanhood, traditionally celebrating the occasion with a quincea̱ero. But while Violet is half Cuban, she's also half Polish, and more importantly, she feels 100% American. Except for her zany family's passion for playing dominoes, smoking cigars, and dancing to Latin music, Violet knows little about Cuban culture, nada about quinces, and only tidbits about the history of Cuba. So when Violet begrudgingly accepts Abuela's plans for a quincea̱ero-and as she begins to ask questions about her Cuban roots-cultures and feelings collide. The mere mention of Cuba and Fidel Castro elicits her grandparents'sadness and her father's anger. Only Violet's aunt Luz remains open-minded. With so many divergent views, it's not easy to know what to believe. All Violet knows is that she's got to form her own opinions, even if this jolts her family into unwanted confrontations. After all, a quince girl is supposed to embrace responsibility-and to Violet that includes understanding the Cuban heritage that binds her to a homeland she's never seen. —from the website at Penguin Random House

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.

  • Lucky Broken Girl
    Ruth Behar

    Lucky Broken Girl

    By: Ruth Behar
    Recommended for grade(s): 7

    In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time. Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times. -- Penguin

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.

  • Freddy Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power #1)
    Jacqueline Jules

    Freddy Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power #1)

    By: Jacqueline Jules
    Recommended for grade(s):

    One day Freddie Ramos comes home from school and finds a strange box just for him. What’s inside? ZAPATO POWER—shoes that change Freddie’s life by giving him super speed! But what will Freddie do with his fast new skills? Weird things are happening at the Starwood Park Apartments where he lives, and his friends at school need his help. Is Freddie Ramos ready to be a hero? In this imaginative new story by Jacqueline Jules, an ordinary boy in a city neighborhood learns how to use his new-found powers for good. Illustrations by Miguel Benitez lend just a touch of comic-book style to this chapter book adventure. --From Albert Whitman & Company

    Where to Find

    Score a physical copy of the book.