Five-Must Read Chapter Books for Tweens by Latino Authors

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With an upcoming pre-teen (and known as tween) I am always looking for books that he will be interested in reading.  At 9 years old he’s beginning to be selective with what he reads.  However, my main focus will always be a book that he can read in either in both languages Spanish and/or  English,  but that are also written by Latino authors.

All five-must read chapter books for tweens by Latino Authors listed here we own them and have read them together.  We’ve been doing the “he reads one page in Spanish and I read another” strategy with my nine year-old.  If the book is in English he will read it by himself.  Four of these books are bilingual flip books Spanish on one side, and English on the other ideal for bilingual kids.

Disclosure:   Some of these books I have received for purposes of a review.  All opinions are mine, and I only review books that I truly believe in. This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase one of these books I will receive a small monetary compensation.  Thank you! 

 

 

The Case of the Three Kings: The Flaca Files / El Caso de Los Reyes Magos: Los expedientes de Flaca (Flaca Files / Los Expedientes de Flaca) (English and Spanish Edition) 

Synopsis

Flaca, or Detective Flaca as she prefers to be called, is pleased with her Christmas gifts. Finally, she has the tools needed to do her job: a fingerprint-taking kit, a police-quality mini flashlight, and most exciting of all, police tape to block off crime scenes! However, she is not at all pleased with the airline tickets to Puerto Rico she and her sister La Bruja are given. She has case deadlines to meet! La Bruja isn’t very happy either since their grandmother’s house doesn’t have air conditioning, cable TV or Wi-Fi.

Their parents are sure the girls will enjoy celebrating Three Kings Day, a huge holiday in Latin America that takes place on January 6 and involves putting grass in a box under the bed for the wise men’s camels. Three men on flying camels sounds very suspicious to Detective Flaca, who once again is faced with a case begging to be solved. Where do the Three Kings get the gifts to put in the boxes? Do they steal presents from Santa Claus? Or do they take them from under Christmas trees around the world?

We were thrilled to receive this book for review.  Little one and I had the opportunity to read this book together.  It was a fun read since we had just returned from a trip to Puerto Rico where Three Kings Day is a huge holiday.  He was able to relate to the main character’s experience celebrating this holiday; mainly because he too has traveled to Puerto Rico during this time of year.  My son chuckled at Flaca’s inquisitive nature and determination to solve the mystery of the Three Kings. How in the world was she going to figure out who were these three men?   Whether your children have celebrated Three Kings Day or not this children’s book will give them an insight on the beloved tradition of Three Kings Day in Puerto Rico through the eyes of an inquisitive detective who tries to decipher The Case of the Three Kings.  This book is ideal for any child’s home library or a great addition for the classroom.  

Age Range: 8 – 11 years

Grade Level: 3 – 4

Series: Flaca Files / Los Expedientes de Flaca (Book 2)

Paperback: 115 pages

Publisher: Pinata Books; Bilingual edition (May 30, 2016)

Language: English, Spanish

ISBN-10: 1558858229

ISBN-13: 978-1558858220

 

 

Letters from Heaven / Cartas del cielo (English and Spanish Edition)

Synopsis

Celeste is heartbroken when her grandmother dies, and nothing can make her feel better. But everything changes when a letter mysteriously comes in the mail from Grandma! I know you miss me as much as I miss you. Don’t be sad. Where there is love, there is no sadness. As letters continue to arrive from the beyond, each with a recipe of a favorite food she used to prepare, Celeste follows her grandmother’s advice and consoles herself by learning how to cook the dishes.

With Grandma gone, so is her social security check. Celeste’s mom needs to get a second job to make ends meet, and Celeste has to quit her favorite activity, dance lessons. At school, Amanda the bully gloats over the fact that Celeste won’t participate in the upcoming recital. And her friends think that she’s gone crazy; dead people can t send letters! 

When a final letter arrives, Celeste realizes that all the recipes combined make an entire meal: café con leche, guava and cheese croissants, congrí, plantain chips, ropa vieja and flan. Can she really make a Cuban feast to celebrate her cherished grandmother’s life? 

We all process grieving very differently and it’s even harder on children.  My baby was having difficulty coping with the loss of his Grandpa so it helps when I find a children’s book that he can relate to. I bought this book Letters from Heaven/Cartas del cielo by  Lydia Gil for him. It’s the story of Celeste who is heartbroken when her grandmother dies, and nothing can make her feel better. Everything changes when a letter mysteriously comes in the mail from Grandma!  She continues to receive letters that also includes recipes.   Little one and I have read this book together. This book not only takes us through Celeste’s  grieving process following the death of her beloved grandmother. It also a gives us a glimpse into her Cuban heritage, culture, her Grandmother’s Puerto Rican friend, and how this story revolves around food,strong family ties,  friendship and love.  We read this book in both English and Spanish. Taking turns reading in a different language each chapter. What we loved the most are the recipes found in the book, and how my son can relate to it. Little man and I are looking forward to cooking together and fondly remembering his Grandpa.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 4

Paperback: 128 pages

Publisher: Arte Publico Pr; Bilingual edition (October 31, 2014)

Language: English, Spanish

ISBN-10: 1558857982

ISBN-13: 978-155885798

 

Related Post:  Tips for Motivating Language Learning in Pre-Teens

 

The Shameless Shenanigans of Mister Malo/ Las Terribles Travesuras De Mister Malo: The Mister Malo Series / Serie Mister Malo (English and Spanish Edition) 

Synopsis

During the school day, Lance García looks like a typical fourth-grader at Oakland Elementary School. But after school, dressed in disguise black jacket, black baseball cap and dark, cool sunglasses with tiny, rectangular mirrors so he can see who’s behind him he checks the mailbox labeled Malo Mail. No one realizes that he is the infamous Mister Malo, righter of wrongs, punisher of bullies.

There’s an interesting plea for help in the mailbox. Isabella Santos spread a rumor that Madeline Wilson passed gas on the playground, and now everyone makes rude noises when she walks by. No one will talk to her, and a group of boys in particular are making her life miserable. Madeline offers Mister Malo a large box of tropical-flavored fruit snacks if he’ll teach Isabella a lesson. Soon Lance is busy plotting the perfect revenge. He wants to rehabilitate the bullies and help them realize how hurtful their actions are. What will be the best tactic to convince Isabella that being laughed at and picked on is no fun?

But Mister Malo’s scheme doesn’t go exactly as planned, forcing him to think outside of the box. Meanwhile, Lance has to deal with his own problem in the form of his difficult cousin, Manuel. This entertaining bilingual “flip” book will resonate with kids ages 8-12 in its examination of popularity on the school grounds and dealing with troublemakers.

The setting of this story is ideal for kids in elementary school, and  perfect for my own 4th grade child.  Lance, is a Puerto Rican kid in fourth grade that leads a double life.  He is Mister Malo  and he is on a mission to help kids deal with the troublemakers. He has his own mailbox where students can request his services.  After scheming his revenge for a plea for help that doesn’t go as planned  things start to get interesting!     It’s a perfect book to help kids deal with the dynamics of peer-pressure, popularity and bullying.     

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 4 – 6

Paperback: 115 pages

Publisher: Pinata Books; Bilingual edition (October 31, 2017)

Language: English, Spanish

ISBN-10: 1558858539

ISBN-13: 978-1558858534

 

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A Mystery Bigger Than Big: A Mickey Rangel Mystery / Un misterio mas grande que grandisimo: Coleccion Mickey Rangel, Detective Privado (Mickey Rangel … Privado) (English and Spanish Edition)

 

Synopsis

Rumors are flying about Natalia, the new girl in school. She’s so quiet that everyone is sure she’s hiding something. Was her father a drug lord in Mexico, killed by rival gangs? Or were her parents Russian spies, caught doing what spies do? Maybe she’s the sole survivor of a plane crash?!?

Mickey Rangel, detective extraordinaire, knows all of the stories going around are bogus. But when his arch rival, Bucho, challenges him for the answer, Mickey vows to crack the case of the new girl. He’ll prove once and for all that he’s the real deal, a private detective!

Natalia is peculiar. She’s very skinny, and eats her lunch so quickly that Mickey wonders if she got something more appetizing than he did. She never talks, and her shoes and clothing are worn and shabby. But his efforts to discover the girl’s secret come up empty, until he overhears a conversation. Is Natalia really one of those undocumented children he has heard about on the news? Did she really travel all the way from Guatemala by herself? Why would she leave her family? And why would her parents let her go?

In this fourth installment of the bilingual Mickey Rangel Mystery series, acclaimed author and educator Rene Saldana, Jr. writes a thought-provoking novel for intermediate readers that explores the contemporary issue of immigration from a young person’s perspective. And in this case, Mickey learns some hard truths about being a detective and a good person, ultimately realizing that some mysteries are best left unsolved.

We have not had the opportunity to read the previous three installments of this series:  1) The Case of the Pen Gone Missing / El caso de la pluma perdida (2009), 2) The Lemon Tree Caper / La intriga del limonero (2011), and 3) The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker / El misterio del malvado marcador (2013) and this one being his 4th book.  I received this book for review, and it has become a favorite in our home.  Mickey is a detective questioning a new girl’s arrival at his school.  Of course, my son had a quick opinion on how not to assume things about people as we read this book together.  Reading this book with my son has sparked conversations on immigration and undocumented minors.  It’s a hot topic today and one that needs to be discussed since we have so many children often traveling without their parents.  This book can be read in either English or Spanish.  A must-read especially with the current immigration status going on in our country. 

Age Range: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 4 – 6

Series: A Mickey Rangel Mystery / Colección Mickey Rangel, Detective Privado

Paperback: 78 pages

Publisher: Pinata Books; Bilingual edition (May 30, 2016)

Language: English, Spanish

ISBN-10: 1558858245

ISBN-13: 978-1558858244

 

Related Post:   Spanish Chapter Books for Kids

 

 

 

Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos 

Synopsis

Acclaimed author and Pura Belpré Award honoree Lulu Delacre’s beautifully illustrated collection of twelve short stories is a groundbreaking look at the diverse Latinos who live in the United States.

In this book, you will meet many young Latinos living in the United States, from a young girl whose day at her father’s burrito truck surprises her to two sisters working together to change the older sister’s immigration status, and more.

Turn the pages to experience life through the eyes of these boys and girls whose families originally hail from many different countries; see their hardships, celebrate their victories, and come away with a better understanding of what it means to be Latino in the U.S. today.

This book is only available in English but the title alone was enough to grab my attention when looking for a book for my 9 year old mixed Black and Latino child.  I purchased this book with the intention of showing him how different Latino children live across the country: their struggles, their fears, and hopes all depicted in short stories in this book.  We live in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and it was my wish for my son to see how  diverse yet how alike all young Latino stories are. I especially recommend this book to educators, and to parents for their children. 

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (August 29, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 006239214X

ISBN-13: 978-0062392145

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