IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA is coming soon from Simon for Young Readers, in August 2022!
Do not judge a bruja by her sombrero, but… feel free to judge this book by its amazing cover!
This bouncy, bilingual picture book is an enchanting, rollicking read-aloud for small ones with big imaginations:
On the night before Halloween, a new babysitter might be more than she appears. If she wears a black sombrero and cackles like a crow, she might just be a bruja! One little girl knows bath time is really the bruja’s way of putting her in a boiling cauldron, and the only way to keep her at bay is with a magic potion—or is it?
With boundless imagination and plenty of tricks up her sleeve, the young protagonist may just have the best night ever!
Read more about it at Mr. Schu’s blog and pre-order here!
Starting your holiday shopping? Looking for wonderful organizations and creators to support? Las Musas has got you covered!
Get the book-lovers in your life gifts curated by the authors themselves from Latinx/e owned businesses!
And BONUS they've matched them to books available for ordering or pre-ordering (a future surprise!) .
Stay tuned for part 2 & 3.
From Jonny Garza Villa, author of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun!
Pica Pica | Hija de Tu Madre | Trejo's Tacos Cookbook | Millennial Loteria
Las Musas is celebrating the release of Laura Taylor Namey’s brand new young adult novel WHEN WE WERE THEM, which comes out November 2, 2021!
WHEN WE WERE THEM has been described as “[a]n intimate portrait of friendship at the cusp of adulthood” by Kirkus Reviews and a “lovely, lush, and poignant story that begs to be read again and again” by New York Times bestselling novelist Kathleen Glasgow.
Today fellow musa Reina Luz Alegre interviews Laura Taylor Namey for the blog about her writing process, but first more about this emotional, beautifully written novel:
A huge Las Musas happy book birthday to Alexandra Katona on the release of her debut picture book, Dinner on Domingos!
Alexandra Alessandri interviews Alexandra Katona (tocayas!)—but first, here’s a little bit about this sweet story, which is part of the Children’s Book Council September 2021 "Hot Off the Press Reading List." Kirkus Reviews called it “an ebullient celebration of family and the rituals that bring a family together” and Booklist called it “a warm story of family, food, and fun [that is a] wonderful celebration of culture and family.
We’re so excited to unveil the cover for Anika Fajardo’s sophomore middle-grade novel, MEET ME HALFWAY, which is set to be released in May 2022.
But first, a little about the book...
When new classmates Mattie Gómez and Mercedes Miller meet and realize they have the same dad, the two reluctantly team up in this Parent Trap–inspired misadventure.
Determined to meet the father they’ve never known, these polar opposites suddenly have to work together to fake sleepovers, evade their friends, and plot daring escapes from school field trips in an effort to track down him down.
If only they could stop bickering long enough to get the show on the road.
With echoes of the themes from Anika’s first novel, WHAT IF A FISH, this sharp and poignant middle grade adventure examines the bonds that make a family.
And now for the gorgeous cover art designed by the talented EJ Chong, who perfectly captured the personalities of the two unlikely new sisters:
A huge Las Musas happy book birthday to Christina Diaz Gonzalez on the release of her latest middle grade novel, Concealed.
What does it feel to be on the run, always changing your name and identity, barely remembering who you once were? What if everything you knew… turned out to be a lie? These are questions Christina Diaz Gonzalez explores in this "gripping” story, “brimming with knotty twists and eccentric turns" (Kirkus Reviews).
Alyson Gerber, critically-acclaimed author of Taking Up Space, calls Concealed, “A masterful adventure with an authentic middle-grade voice about the power of identity and the journey to figure out who you really are.” ¡Felicidades!
Alexandra Alessandri interviews Christina about her novel, but first, here’s a quick look at Concealed:
This week, we've got a fantastic interview between Musas Karla Valenti and Donna Barba Higuera, in honor of Donna's latest novel, THE LAST CUENTISTA! Scroll on to learn where she got her inspiration from, her research process, what else she's got in store, and more!
Karla Valenti: To borrow from Betsy Bird's review of the book:
A delicious mix of dystopian fiction, Mexican folklore, and good old-fashioned high drama, this is the kind of science fiction that has the potential to lure in even those people that don’t usually indulge in futuristic fantastical imaginings.
What was the inspiration for THE LAST CUENTISTA?
Donna Barba Higuera: The idea came from a simple writing prompt. “Take a traditional fairy tale and make it Sci-Fi.”
I decided I didn’t want to use those stories that get tons of airtime: Snow White or Cinderella, The Little Mermaid or something that gets tons of airtime. So instead, I chose The Princess and the Pea.
Then came the…“So how do I make a story about a girl that couldn’t sleep because there was a pea under her pillow Sci-Fi?” I decided the “pea” would be the “P.E.A” or pellet of extended animation. (I know… I know… cheesy) that would put the character to sleep for her journey through time and space. But of course, the P.E.A. would malfunction, so she’d be awake for the journey that took hundreds of years. When the girl arrived, humans would be very different than when she was supposedly put to sleep hundreds of years before.
It was just short story without a lot of detail. But I liked the premise.
I explored the idea further. How would I feel if I knew I was leaving Earth for a journey to another planet that took hundreds of years. What would I take with me? What would I value most? And what if, when I arrived at the new planet centuries in the future, humans no longer valued those things?
I had the beginnings of my novel.
KV: That’s’ a fascinating origin story! A great example of running with a story prompt. So, what were some of the challenges you faced in crafting a world set almost four centuries into the future?
Las Musas is thrilled to reveal the cover to Yamile Saied Méndez's newest book, Friends Like These... and give readers a sneak peek with a short excerpt! But first, let's get into what this exciting book is all about:
Trouble in Paradise? In this second installment of Horse Country, critically acclaimed author Yamile Saied Méndez welcomes readers back to the ranch.
Carolina's hope of opening up Paradise Ranch to everyone is coming true: the Unbridled Dreams program is ready to welcome its first sponsored student!
Gisella Bassi seems like the perfect fit -- on paper, that is. When she arrives at Paradise Ranch, she's not as excited as everyone expects. She might even be... scared of the horses? But if their first student isn't a success, there's no way the program will continue. Can Caro and her new friend, Chelsie, agree on how to rope Gisella in?
Friends Like These (Horse Country 2) -- Coming from Scholastic on June 28th, 2022
By: Yamile Saied Méndez, Pura Belpré winner author
Illustrator: Winona Nelson
Designer: Stephanie Yang
And now for the cover! Drum roll.....
We’re so thrilled to celebrate the release of Alda P. Dobbs’s middle-grade debut, Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. We have a great interview between Musas Alda P. Dobbs and Anika Fajardo, along with Alda's letter to the reader, but first a little about the book!
AF: Congratulations on your debut middle-grade novel, Alda!
AD: Thank you, Anika! I’m a big fan of your beautiful middle grade, What If A Fish, and it’s such an honor to be interviewed by you!
AF: Thank you so much. Can you tell us a bit about your book in your own words?
AD: Sure! It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before Petra’s papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows that she will care for the family she has left―her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito―until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none.
Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: "They're like us barefoot peasants and indios―they're not meant to go far." But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border―a life where her barefoot dreams can finally become reality.
AF: What inspired you to tell Petra's story?
Las Musas is celebrating the release of Karla Valenti’s debut middle grade novel Lotería, out this week!. In their starred review, School Library Journal describes the novel as, “A magical, philosophical tale rooted in Mexican lore that will hold readers from beginning to end with its verdant language and setting.”
Scroll on for a conversation between Musas NoNieqa Ramos and Karla Valenti!
NoNieqa Ramos: Karla, your novel is captivating, breathtaking, and unforgettable. I postponed reading the ending so I could emotionally prepare. How did you conceive of the idea for Lotería? How did you feel when it went to auction?
Karla Valenti: For almost a decade I had been brainstorming a story about a girl who doesn’t know she’s trapped in a game. I tested out a number of variations of this theme, but none of them seemed quite right. Then my father gave my kids a game of “Lotería” (similar to Bingo but with images on the cards instead of numbers).
Around this time we were also headed to Oaxaca City (Mexico) for my brother’s wedding. Oaxaca is a very special city, and suddenly I found myself surrounded by its enchanting colors and sounds, food and music, an ancient culture wedded with a contemporary lifestyle. It was the perfect brew to jump start the story.
As soon as I returned from my brother’s wedding, I wrote the book… but, my first agent didn’t like it. I had suffered so many rejections at that point that I was devastated. I began to doubt that the story actually had any merit or that I had any talent as a writer. Fortunately, one of my dear critique partners had enough faith in the book (and me) to talk me off the ledge.
She also reminded me that this business is highly subjective, which allowed me to see that my agent at the time (a kind and lovely person) was probably not the right business partner for me and the kind of storytelling I wanted to do. We decided to part ways and I used Lotería to pitch new agents. To my immense delight, I received four offers of representation and ended up signing with the wonderful Ammi-Joan Paquette (EMLA). Shortly after, the book went out on submission. I was blown away by the enthusiasm it received, and I still cannot believe it went to auction.
How did that feel? Exhilarating, of course. But also, validating. At that point, I had spent more than a decade writing, revising, learning, revising, building my writing community, revising, and being rejected (hundreds of times!). To have my debut novel go to auction (as a two-book deal) helped me understand how important those ten+ years of work had been.
NoNieqa: The characters Clara and her cousin Esteban are crafted so tenderly and lovingly. What were you influences in creating these characters and their powerful relationship?
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