We are so happy to announce the selections for the 2019 Hermanas mentorship program. Las Hermanas is a selection-based mentorship program for traditionally unpublished Latinx kidlit writers. It connects unpublished writers with current Musas and Madrinas.
Mentees benefit from the craft and industry experience of their mentor and will have the opportunity to ask for publishing/marketing related advice and/or receive help with a specific manuscript.
We are so excited to work with these talented writers, get to know them via their social profiles below!
Melanie Marquez Adams - Twitter | Instagram
Carolina Flórez Cerchiaro - Twitter
M. M. Collins - Instagram | Twitter
Megan Karina Jensen - Twitter
Mariel Jungkunz - Twitter
Josie Melendez - Twitter | Instagram | Blog
Jessica Parra - Instagram
Sonora Reyes - Twitter
Shirley Espada Richey - Twitter | Facebook
Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez - Twitter
Angela M. Sanchez - Twitter
Stephanie Seales - Instagram
Christina Truillo - Twitter
Interested in becoming an Hermana?
Our first round of applications ran until July 15th, 2019. Upcoming rounds will be announced via our social channels. Stay tuned for more!
Mirrors, Windows and Walls: 8 Children’s Books for Seeing Ourselves, Others and Breaking Down the Walls that Separate Us
We have so much information. We have voices on the TV and hot takes on social media. We have photographs that pierce our hearts and haunt our dreams. We have oceans of ink spent on getting the details, the facts – and sometimes the lies – just right. As Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop said, we need mirrors and windows to understand people who are like us (or like our parents or grandparents) and people who are not like us. We need something greater than information. We need story.
In my debut YA novel, The Grief Keeper, Marisol Morales crosses borders, sacrifices her physical and mental well-being and endures racism, for the chance of safety for her sister, Gabi, and herself. I can easily understand why someone would risk so much, but I am a daughter of immigrants. The idea of having to flee your homeland, whether because of violence or because of a lack of opportunities does not seem farfetched to me at all. But I know that for some people, it can seem foolish, or downright selfish. My intention in writing The Grief Keeper was to engender understanding and deep empathy—of ourselves and of others who are not like us.
Here are 8 books for children that I think do the same.
We are so excited to reveal to you the DELIGHTFUL cover of Kim Baker's THE WATER BEARS!
But that's not all! In addition to revealing this lovely cover we are also sharing the first chapter AND doing an ARC GIVEAWAY!
To enter leave a comment at the end of this blog post! (Open until August 15th)
ABOUT WATER BEARS...
Newt Gomez has a thing with bears.
Last year, he survived a bear attack. Now he finds an unusual bear statue that just might grant wishes. Newt’s best friend, Ethan, notices a wishbone on the statue and decides to make a wish. When it comes true, Newt thinks it’s a coincidence. Even as more people’s wishes come true, Newt is not convinced.
But Newt has a wish too: while he loves his home on eccentric Murphy Island, he wants to go to middle school on the mainland where his extended family lives. There, he’s not the only Latinx kid, he won’t have to drive the former food truck— a gift from his parents— and he won’t have to perform in the vaudeville festival. Most importantly, on the mainland, he can escape memories of the attack. Newt is almost ready to make a secret wish when everything changes.
Tackling themes of survival and self-acceptance, Newt’s story illuminates the magic in our world, where reality is often uncertain but always full of salvageable wonders.
The Water Bears is a quirky, empowering story arriving April 21, 2020 from Wendy Lamb Books, Random House Children’s Books.
Read the 1st chapter...
TAKE ACTION NOW • RAISE YOUR VOICE
The migrant story is our story. We are the descendants of immigrants. We are immigrants. We are descendants of ancestors indigenous to these lands. From them we all rise. Yet in this America, state-sanctioned policies of imprisonment and terror along the border and across the US destroy families and communities of color and the very fabric of our nation. As authors for children, our work is part of the human chain – the brown and black links that seek to create a bridge for all of our brothers and sisters. Our work is our prayer, our poetry, our memory, our voices, our protest.
We do not consent to the inhumane treatment of any migrant.
We do not consent to the imprisonment of refugee and immigrant families in concentration camps.
We do not consent to the separation of children from their caregivers.
We do not consent to massive ICE raids of migrants in our cities.
We do not consent to funding these draconian policies with our tax dollars.
We do not consent to allowing US corporations to profit from this terror.
\We do not consent that our government creates and supports these inhumane conditions.
We do not consent to the molestations and rapes.
We do not consent to their deaths.
We do not consent.
We do not consent.
We do not consent.
We seek justice in the present to ensure the future of goodness and beauty on this planet. Cross our hearts, our voices will be a wall of resistance and rebellion to the racism, sexism, and homophobia that are responsible for these gross violations of human rights.
Authors (in order of appearance): Aida Salazar, Donna Barba Higuera, Ernesto Cisneros, Mia Garcia, Daniel Jose Older, Meg Medina (Cuba), Ismee Williams, Yamile Saied Mendez, Rebeca Balcarcel, Alberto Ledesma, Alex Villasante, Kim Baker, Nonieqa Ramos, Matt Mendez, Ana Meriano, Rene Colato Lainez, Natlia Sylvester, Liliam Rivera, Emma Otheguy, Nancy Mercado (Latinx In Publishing), Monica Brown, and Yuyi Morales.
Español traducido por David Bowles:
La historia de los migrantes es nuestra historia. Somos descendientes de inmigrantes. Somos inmigrantes. Somos descendientes de ancestros indígenas de estas tierras. De ellos todos surgimos. Sin embargo, en el Estados Unidos actual, las políticas de encarcelamiento y terror sancionadas por el gobierno a lo largo de la frontera y en todo el país destruyen a las familias y comunidades de color y al tejido mismo de nuestra nación. Como autores de libros para niños, nuestro trabajo es parte de la cadena humana, eslabones cafés y negros que buscan crear un puente para todos nuestros hermanas y hermanos. Nuestra obra es nuestra oración, nuestra poesía, nuestra memoria, nuestras voces, nuestra protesta.
No consentimos el tratamiento inhumano de ningún migrante.
No consentimos el encarcelamiento de familias de refugiados e inmigrantes en campos de concentración.
No consentimos la separación de los niños de sus cuidadores.
No consentimos las redadas masivas de inmigrantes hechas por ICE en nuestras ciudades.
No consentimos en financiar estas políticas draconianas con nuestros impuestos.
No consentimos que las corporaciones estadounidenses se beneficien de este terror.
No consentimos que nuestro gobierno cree y apoye estas condiciones inhumanas.
No consentimos los abusos y violaciones.
No consentimos sus muertes.
La historia es lo que hacemos para buscar justicia en el presente, para asegurar el futuro de la bondad y la belleza en este planeta. Ojalá y nuestras voces sean un muro de resistencia y rebelión ante el racismo, el sexismo y la homofobia responsables de estas graves violaciones de los derechos humanos.
Las Musas are thrilled to host the exclusive first look at the cover of Loriel Ryon's debut INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS!
INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS comes out April 7, 2020 from Margaret K. McElderry Books. Learn more about this gorgeous debut and cover below!
Read the dynamite first chapter...
Yolanda crept to the bedroom door, cracking it just so and peering inside. Her abuela, Wela, was lying in bed with a yellow serape tucked beneath her arms, her chest barely rising. Three orange-and-black butterflies nestled into her long white curls, their wings opening and closing ever so slightly as the morning sun flickered through the tree branches outside the window. It was exactly the same sight it had been for the past two weeks.
Yolanda sighed in disappointment and pushed open the door, letting it groan loudly on its hinges, hoping the sound would cause Wela to stir. Wake up. Wela, please wake up. But Wela didn’t move.
Was this all her fault? She sighed and walked over to the nightstand, twisting the vase of scarlet milkweed blossoms toward the light. Two butterflies sipped nectar from the wilting flowers. She brought the vase to Wela’s fingertips in hopes that her touch would liven the blossoms. But they remained wilted, and she made a mental note to switch them out before she left for school.
The way the light danced across the serape and the fine lines surrounding Wela’s closed pale lips made Yolanda’s heart sink even lower. She’d seen this before, less than a year ago.
When I was a teenager, there were two things I longed for most: my own room, and to somehow change my roots from Mexican to Italian. I got my wish for the former in my university dorms at the age of twenty-two; the latter, not unexpectedly, was impossible to achieve. Still, I tried.
I’d long been obsessed with Italian food, spending my free time trying to master dishes, especially lasagna. When my friends went on a trip to Rome, I thought I would die from jealousy. I practically crawled into their laps when they returned, sighing with longing at their descriptions of ancient stone ruins, endless glasses of blood-red wine, and the cutest boys they’d ever seen, each one flirtier than the last.
I knew I was meant to be Italian, somehow. I was mixed up from birth, or had a secret parent, or maybe a variety of past lives to account for my connection. I imagined myself a peasant, gathering sun-warmed grapes on a vineyard, or a baker, crossing each loaf of bread for protection before it entered the fire. When Eat Pray Loveby Elizabeth Gilbert was published, I was almost twenty, and I read about Gilbert’s travels in Italy over and over again. I hosted dinner parties centered around pasta, I brought home books on Italian cooking, on the language, on the history.
It's clear to me now, that although Italy has a rich and gorgeous history and culture, my attraction, my longing for my identity to be a part of it in some way was centered in the idea that who I was—Mexican American—just wasn’t enough.
All my life, I’d heard ‘Mexican’ as synonymous with an insult. People made jokes on our height, our food, the volume of our voices, the ways we celebrate, the ways we mourn. My mother told us stories of her childhood: being called spic by white men while walking on the street. How my grandparents, who were migrants, were forced to used separate facilities in their travels. How they encountered signs that proclaimed,No Mexicans allowed.
I remember, as a teenager, pronouncing empanada at a Mexican restaurant, and my friend’s white father becoming intrigued. “Say it again,” he told me. “Again.” As though I were a circus animal, saying things correctly for his entertainment.
I remember one of my sister’s white friends, making faces over my mother’s enchiladas, cheesy and bubbling from the skillet. She took one bite and ran to the trash to spit it out.
I remember my grandmother and her internalized racism, refusing to call any white man or woman by their first names, even at their insistence.
In conversation with fellow Musa, Sara Faring
It’s my pleasure today to introduce Las Musas blog readers to Alex Villasante, the brilliant author of one of my favorite YA novels of 2019—The Grief Keeper.
The Grief Keeper is the tender, moving, and compulsively readable speculative tale of seventeen-year-old Marisol, a young Salvadoran who flees her country with her little sister after their brother is murdered. Marisol is offered a chance at asylum in the U.S. if she agrees to participate in a dangerous experimental trial: she must take another’s grief into her body.
A Junior Library Guild selection, an Indies Introduce pick, and a Barnes & Noble debut of the week, THE GRIEF KEEPER has been called an “engrossing debut” by Publishers Weekly and a story that “will grip readers and provoke empathy” by Kirkus Reviews.
Alex, thank you for speaking with me. Without further ado...
What was the very first seed of THE GRIEF KEEPER? Was it a question you needed answered, an image that wouldn't leave you, a character whispering in your head, or something else entirely?
The idea for THE GRIEF KEEPER came from two trains of thought I’d been mulling over – my parent’s immigration story, their experiences and sacrifices; and an article about a wearable device being tested that might alleviate the symptoms of PTSD in soldiers returning from war. These thoughts knocked around my head until they collided with a ‘What if?’ What if there was a way to take grief from one person and give it to another? Which begged another question: Who would be the giver and who would be the receiver? I followed this string of questions until I had Marisol firmly in my head. Then I followed Marisol to the rest of her story.
What fell out of the overstuffed closet in your brain (we all have one) that you knew you needed to include in this story? Did you come across any fascinating details while working on the book that you ultimately chose to exclude?
Oh, my overstuffed brain! I’m always adding details and characters and scenes that tumble out of my head in the first draft. Most of those superfluous ideas, I manage to weed out (back into that brain-space you go! Eight ghost brothers bent on revenge maybe needed for another book!) but there was another pair of siblings in this book – an adult brother and sister working through their own, very different, reasons for grief. My editor wisely saw that this pair did not add anything to the narrative, and worse, took tension away. OFF they went!
The sisters in this book shine so bright from the very first pages. What did you want to highlight in Marisol and Gabi's sisterly dynamic?
Siblings is a theme I come to again and again in my writing. There isn’t another person who will be closer to you in your life. Even if you hate your brother or sister – that bond of emotion is close and complicated. As I discovered who Marisol was, I wrote Gabi and their older brother Pablo, defining each sibling as they were in relation to each other. That’s how siblings grow, in shadows of others, in protection or competition, hatred or love or both. I wanted Marisol and Gabi’s relationship to be a centerpiece of the book because that is what motivates Marisol in the hard choices she makes.
What books, movies, and television shows do you like to think THE GRIEF KEEPER is in conversation with?
THE GRIEF KEEPER is an immigrant story, in the way YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR and AMERICAN STREET are immigrant stories – though these are very different. Exploring what it means to be other, what it means to feel apart, is at the core of my book. Also, as you and I have discussed, I’d say that NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishigurois a book I think about a lot in context with THE GRIEF KEEPER. (I love that book, it haunts me still. I am not putting my book on a par with that masterpiece, let’s be clear!) Like NEVER LET ME GO, THE GRIEF KEEPER explores what it means to be human, how we disregard humanity to the point of dehumanization for the sake of progress. It also questions who gets to benefit from technology and who suffers.
In the book, you beautifully and sensitively explore the way that this process of passing grief from one individual to another could be used to help the privileged and hurt the needy. As a reader, it's impossible not to empathize with GK's protagonist, Marisol, a young Salvadoran who seeks asylum in the US and is given a chance at that for herself and her sister if she agrees to participate in this very risky experiment. Detailing how this experiment affects the lives of teenagers is a visceral, intimate way of examining inequity in the world. What parallels did you hope to draw between Marisol's world and ours?
I see Marisol’s world and ours as essentially the same. The only difference is the technology. The forces that seek to make us despise otherness are here right now. The moral ambiguity that comes with having power, money and privilege is here too. Even the drive to protect the ones we love at any cost is here. We’re living in Marisol’s world. THE GRIEF KEEPER takes existing situations and turns them up a notch.
Las Musas books are proud to announce two new expansions to Las Musas family: Hermanas and Madrinas.
HERMANAS is a selection-based mentorship program for unpublished Latinx kidlit writers. It will connect unpublished writers with current Musas and Madrinas. Mentees will benefit from the craft and industry experience of their mentor and will have the opportunity to ask for publishing/marketing related advice and/or receive help with a specific manuscript.
Mentees should be Latinx (comfortable identifying on the female spectrum) authors who would like guidance on a specific Middle Grade or Young Adult project for a period of six months.
We will be selecting up to five Hermanas. Priority will be given to marginalized community members and those who can demonstrate advanced progress on their MG/YA projects.
APPLY TO BE AN HERMANA
MADRINAS is comprised of Latinx established authors who would like to provide advice, mentorship, collaboration, camaraderie, and more among our growing collective. As Musas they will be able to ask their fellow Musas for help promoting their new projects and of course, a sounding board for whatever they may need.
MEET THE MADRINAS & LEARN MORE
LAS MUSAS started in the Fall of 2018 as a collective of women and non-binary (identifying on the female spectrum) Latinx MG and YA authors coming together in an effort to support and amplify each other’s debut or sophomore novels in US children’s literature.
Since then we have continued to grow and change as we build from this seed and interact with the publishing community. Because of this we hope the Hermanas and Madrinas programs will help us continue to expand our community and reflect the rich variety of voices in the Latinx community.
- Las Musas
Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.
This week Ann Dávila Cardinal stops by the Musas blog to talk about her debut novel FIVE MIDNIGHTS! FIVE MIDNIGHTS is a YA horror novel set in modern day Puerto Rico which uses the myth of El Cuco to examine topics such as identity, loss of faith, and substance abuse. But first a little more about the book...
If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping through Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they'll have to step into the shadows to see what's lurking there—murderer, or monster?
OK, Querida! Let's get started!!!
1. What was the first image or visual that sunk its teeth in and wouldn't let go?
I love this question! Honestly, it was the amorphous image of El Cuco. I know, that sounds contradictory to the question, right? But when I first found out about him, that he was present in many different Hispanic cultures under different names, I kept asking people, "but what does he look like?" Most people just shrugged, some had their own images. But the idea of him not having a set shape was SO intriguing to me. Because ever since I was little, my imagination was always WAY scarier than reality, so I imagined him like the English boggart, taking the form of the thing you feared most. I loved that they found Naomi Romero's illustration of him for the cover because I think she really captured the visual that was in my head.
2. Speaking of monsters. Some people in the genre believe that the monster must never be visible - or at least not fully - in order to keep the tension up. Are you of this camp and how did you wrestle with keeping your monster amorphous being while keeping the dread a very tangible thing?
I actually had a lengthy discussion about this with my brother George. There was a scene where El Cuco took the form of a huge snake, and I got very detailed about it, describing the muscled body, the triangular head. George felt that level of description took away from the tension for the reason you mentioned. Since he's a psychoanalyst and understands much more of the human mind than I do (and has a dozen years of horror reading on me) I took his advice and went less specific in the end, more of a formless evil but with snake-like qualities...the sound of scales scraping, slitted yellow eyes, that sort of thing. He was right: it upped the tension. So I guess my answer is that I'm coming over into the less visible camp...slithering over, you might say.
3. I feel a bit of my chef side coming out with this next question. As I was reading I kept getting hints of classic tales and authors like dash of flavor coming out. I'd read a page and think, "oh here's a hint of King here," in the best way. What are some of your influences as you were writing this?
Oh, influences as I was writing it? I mean, I think at this point in my life I've had so many years of gathering influences that their voices are all in there, you know? I mean, what horror writer isn't influenced by Stephen King? Whether they admit it or not. I was a huge fan in my youth. And Anne Rice, Interview With a Vampire came out when I was 13. Gorgeous Gothic literature (don't even mention the movie to me. Sheesh! Tom Cruise as Lestat?).
But mostly when it came to horror it was movies that influenced me the most. I was lucky to be around for what I feel is the absolute heyday of horror cinema. And a childhood friend of mine, Maitland McDonagh, is a horror film critic, so she brought me to more films than I can count. Some great, some awful. I would answer the phone and find myself talking to Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) or Michael Rooker (Merle in The Walking Dead) who were calling for their interview (both have really sexy phone voices, BTW). Fifty-six years of these story-lines, literary and cinematic, wound their way into my psyche, so I'm not surprised they're visible in my work...or that I have spent years in therapy.
4. ...you talked to Robert Englund!?!?! WHAT?!?! We need to sit down and just walk through everything and also help me get new glasses. So, as someone who also juggled multiple storylines - how did you keep personalities separate? How were dynamics particularly important for the story?
Oh, it was just a hello and a "Hi, can I speak to Maitland McDonagh?" type thing, but it was enough for me to fangirl out! But Michael Rooker called me "Darlin'." Sigh.
Keeping the personalities separate wasn't the hard part for me, it was during the revision process, my agent or editor would say, "Lupe needs some more substance" then I would beef up Lupe, and then Javier would seem one-dimensional. It's kind of like when you fix up one room of your home, the others suddenly seem shabby. I eventually hit on the right balance, though. But it is a balance. And the dynamics between the two were so important because to me they represented the two cultures that I was stretched between as a kid. I think that's something that a lot of teenagers can relate to these days. They sometimes fight, but mostly compliment each other.
5. Speaking about culture. I notice that Lupe shares your last name (Dávila) and the moniker of Gringa-Rican in the book. Can you talk a bit about if and how you spoke to that feeling of being between two places and what it meant for Lupe to carry your last name?
It’s so interesting. It wasn’t until you sent this question that I realized Lupe had that name before I did! I was born Ann Marie Hagman. My dad was a Swedish/Irish/English 6’2” gringo. I was named after my great aunt, Ana Maria Dávila. We were born on the same date. But my father thought Ana Maria was too “ethnic.” I’m still disappointed my mother caved. When I got married, I took my husband’s Native American name, Cardinal, and used Hagman as my middle name.
After my mother died I held tight to the Dávila side of me, a way of keeping her around. When I started writing this book six years ago, I gave the character my maternal family name as an homage. Then I realized I’d worn the Hagman name for 55 years and I felt more Dávila. So I changed my middle name to Dávila. In traditional Spanish families we would keep all these names anyway.
When I called my Tío Esteban to tell him I was legally a Dávila now, he said, “you always were, Sobrina.”
6. Puerto Rico - of course - plays a big role in Five Midnights. It is also squarely in the present delving into a lot of the social, economic and emotional status of the island. Can you talk a little bit about your approach, any hesitations you may have had or how setting can often become another character?
Oh, so many hesitations. I've never lived on the island for more than a few months. I know that when you hit that one thing, that "Wait! no one uses that expression in Puerto Rico! That's more a Mexican expression!" you lose readers. They no longer trust you. So I worked hard on that and had many many other eyes on it, people who live and work on the island year-round.
And when setting a book on Puerto Rico, how does it not become a character? Good Lord, the pull from that land is extraordinary. It's a drug that gets in your veins and you think about all year long (particularly during the long hard winters!). And it would be irresponsible to not address the more difficult situation the island is in these days. Even pre-Maria it was a tough time. I saw it start in the 70s and 80s when my mother's town started to change. It was farmland, bucolic, then drugs came in and I learned the term tiroteo when I was a small child. It was hard to watch because I wasn't seeing it every day, when I came back I would be shocked at the changes, and my aunt would be surprised, because she was like that frog in the proverbial boiling water, it happened slowly so she didn't notice it encroaching on her private jungle.
Initially when I wrote about Puerto Rico I portrayed it as idyllic, heaven, the way it is in my heart. But that's not fair either. That's exoticizing it. I love it with all its brightness and dark corners. I love it with all my heart.
7. You deal with a lot in this book, from colonialism, substance abuse, faith and loss of faith, culture clashes and family. Did it feel like too much at times? Why was it necessary? I promise after this I'm going with fun questions!!
Oh boy! You are asking the tough ones! But that is fitting given the content of the question. I mean, yes, it’s a lot. Some of that was intentional, and some just came organically when telling the story, like loss of faith. That just happened naturally while telling Javier’s story. I think loss of faith is often a prerequisite for addiction. Not always, but often.
And substance abuse was just part of my daily life as a child. I had to hide the car keys sometimes, and clean the house and do the laundry. When you’re young and you can’t rely on the adults in your life you don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for yourself, you just do it. I hope i can reach a reader growing up in a similar situation and give them some kind of hope.
You asked if all these things were necessary. I don’t know about that, but I think all those things are there because they’re part of my own story. And no matter how hard I try to write away from that, it always bleeds through one way or another.
8. Let's switch this up a bit and do some fun ones! How about what are some of your favorite horror texts or movies and why?
Favorite horror...that's a tough one. In terms of books, loved The Ruins by Scott Smith. Great book, the movie...not so much. Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. Very different kind of horror, more sociological based. I actually had coffee with him at BookCon this past weekend and grilled him as to what he thought was actually going on in that novel and he wouldn't answer. In terms of young adult literature, anything Daniel Jose Older writes makes me happy, and Zoraida Cordova's Brooklyn Brujas series is FIRE. Love her work. But my favorite young adult horror of all time was The Forest of Hands and Feet by Carrie Ryan. It's ten years old and is still the most gorgeous writing in the genre.
Movies...I loved Bird Box based on the novel by Josh Malerman. And A Quiet Place. Both made me think, a lot. Which is always something I like. And Get Out which was ground breaking in SO many ways. Of course I love the classics, anything by David Cronenberg or Guillermo del Toro. And as far as television, I'm a zombie enthusiast, but my love of Walking Dead is waning, I"m sorry to say. Though it will always have a special place in my heart and the first season is BRILLIANT. And I'm really in to the Danish series The Rain. Very interesting.
9. LAST QUESTION!!! If you could write from the POV of any monster - tell their story, get in their head - who would it be and why?
I would be Chupacabra, but since I LOVE goats, I would be goat KISSER rather than a sucker. Besocabra? Snort!
Buy a copy of Five Midnights wherever books are sold or borrow it from your local library!
For those looking to lay out on la playa or hammock this summer with a nice tall glass of limonada and an awesome pile of must-read Latinx debut and sophomore kidlit books, you need look no further than Las Musas. Scroll down for a list of all of our great middle grade and young adult titles out in time for summer and get your Las Musas reading on! Salud!
LAS MUSAS - MIDDLE GRADE
STORM RUNNER by J.C. Cervantes
Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles
A contemporary Maya mythology adventure from Rick Riordan Presents! Zane Obispo’s backyard volcano is the one place where he can escape other kids who make fun of his limp. But he soon learns that it is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to his. A destiny that thrusts Zane into an ancient prophecy that could mean the destruction of the world unless he can find a way to stop it.
ANA MARÍA REYES DOES NOT LIVE IN A CASTLE by Hilda Eunice Burgos
“A Latina Little Women with a modern Washington Heights Flair” -Julia Alvarez
Ana María hopes to attend New York City's best private academy, but her parents can’t afford that with four daughters and another baby on the way. So Ana María must nail her piano piece at the upcoming city showcase to win a scholarship. She practices through distractions and interruptions, including a family trip to the Dominican Republic, and, with help from family and friends, figures out what truly matters.
THE WIND CALLED MY NAME by Mary Louise Sanchez
Perfect for fans of Esperanza Rising and Little House on the Prairie.
The winds of the Great Depression blow Margarita Sandoval, a ten-year-old Hispanic girl, away from her ancestral New Mexico home to Wyoming, and she is determined to make a new friend there. But when her Papá risks losing his job, possibly because of her new friend, Caroline, Margarita invokes a Wyoming saint to intercede, and he more than answers her prayers.
BLIZZARD BESTIES by Yamile Saied Méndez
Perfect for fans of Sit, Stay, Love and Allie, First at Last.
Vanesa Campos can't wait for winter vacation and her week at Pinecloud Lodge promises to be perfect. Never mind that glamorous Beck writes off Vanesa right away; twins Emma and Eric are ready to join the fun out in the snow. But when the flakes start falling, and Vanesa's little brother, Hunter, might be stranded out in the blizzard, she will have to team up with all the kids - plus one giant dog - to rescue him.
A SPRINKLE OF SPIRITS by Anna Meriano
Perfect for fans of Meg Medina and Coco
Leonora Logroño is finally learning her family's bakery bruja magic, but trouble bubbles up again when her dead grandmother appears in her room! It turns out that spirits are popping back to life all over town, and Leo will need help to solve the mystery of what caused the chaos--and how to stop it! The Logroños return in a new story featuring a heaping helping of amor, azúcar, and magia.
THE MOON WITHIN by Aida Salazar
Perfect for fans of Judy Blume and Sandra Cisneros
Celi's life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction. And her best friend's exploration of what it means to be genderfluid. But most of all, her mother's insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It's an ancestral Mexica ritual that their community have reclaimed but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within to take a stand for who she wants to be?
SILVER MEADOWS SUMMER by Emma Otheguy
Perfect for fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan and Elizabeth Enright
When Carolina’s family moves from Puerto Rico to upstate New York, Carolina is stuck attending summer camp at Silver Meadows Farm with her bossy cousin Gabriela. Luckily, Carolina makes a friend of her own, Jennifer. The two girls stumble upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods, which becomes their secret haven. When the kids discover the cottage might be destroyed, they come up with a plan to save it. Will it work?
LAS MUSAS - YOUNG ADULT
THE RESOLUTIONS by Mia García
Perfect for fans of Erika L. Sánchez and Emery Lord.
From hiking trips to never-ending group texts, Jess, Lee, Ryan, and Nora have always been inseparable, but with senior year on the horizon, they’ve been growing apart. So Jess makes a plan to reinstate their New Year’s Eve tradition with a twist: they assign resolutions to each other. Amid first loves, heartbreaks, and life-changing decisions they test the bonds that hold them together.
WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Zoraida Cordova
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained as wives for affluent families far removed from the political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, harboring a dark secret that might send her back to the fringes of society. But when she is asked to spy for a resistance group will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of an equal Medio—and a chance at forbidden love?
THE LAST 8 by Laura Pohl
Perfect for fans of The 5th Wave and Illuminae
Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth. After surviving the apocalypse, Clover finds The Last Teenagers on Earth at the former Area 51. Instead of heroes, the group is more interested in hiding than fighting back -- and if Clover wants to save Earth, she must convince the others to fight with her.
THE TESLA LEGACY by K.K. Pérez
Perfect for fans of X-Men and Marie Lu
Young scientist Lucy Phelps is thrust into a centuries-old battle between rival alchemical societies when a fateful encounter in the Tesla Suite of the New Yorker Hotel unlocks her dormant electrical powers. One side wants her help and the other wants her dead. Unfortunately, carriers of the genetic mutation―including Nikola Tesla―have a greatly reduced life expectancy. Even if Lucy can outrun her enemies, she can’t outrun herself.
DON'T DATE ROSA SANTOS by Nina Moreno
Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Gilmore Girls
The women in Rosa’s family are cursed: her abuela is exiled from Cuba, her mother is reckless, and Rosa is forbidden to go to the sea. Rosa dreams of finally seeing their island, but her study abroad plans crumble amid political changes just as she crashes into a quiet boy from the docks.
FIVE MIDNIGHTS by Ann Dávila Cardinal
Perfect for fans of Shadowshaper and Labyrinth Lost
Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución. If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping through Puerto Rico that lead them into the realm of myths and legends. Five Midnights is a “wickedly thrilling” (William Alexander) novel based on the el Cuco myth set against the backdrop of modern-day Puerto Rico.
THE GRIEF KEEPER by Alexandra Villasante
Perfect for fans of American Street and Mitali Perkins
When her brother is murdered, and her sister’s life is threatened, Marisol Morales flees El Salvador, and crosses the US border. After being detained by ICE, Marisol is given a stark choice: Be deported or participate in a clinical trial and become a grief keeper—taking the trauma and pain of others into her own body. It’s a risky experiment, but if it means keeping her sister safe, she will risk anything.
ALL OF US WITH WINGS by Michelle Ruiz Keil
Perfect for fans of Anna-Marie McLemore and Francesca Lia Block
Xochi is on her own in San Francisco where she meets tween genius Pallas and is hired as a live-in governess. When Xochi and Pallas’s riot-grrl ritual inadvertently summons a pair of ancient creatures bound to right the wrongs of Xochi’s childhood, Xochi must risk her place in her new family to save the mother that abandoned her and find a way to send the creatures home before the fog quenches their fierce magic.