Summary: Lety Out Loud
Meet Lety Muñoz, whose parents are hardworking Mexican immigrants. She and her brother are also learning English, and she’s very self-conscious about speaking correctly in this new language. She doesn’t give herself enough credit for how much she’s made. Still, this summer is supposed to be fun. She’s volunteering at an animal shelter with her best friends. But it quickly becomes stressful when two boys set up a contest between Lety and another volunteer (who reads at the high school level) for the role of Shelter Scribe.
Lety is a sweet girl with two good friends named Kennedy and Brisa. From the first few pages of the book, we see how insecure she is about her English and how eager to learn she is — overthinking her responses, asking friends what new words or strange English idioms mean. This is a great book to show kids how tricky the English language can be as common sayings like “you’ve missed the boat,” stump Lety throughout the story.
The animal shelter setting will lure readers who love animals, especially as readers really get to know all the animals with Hunter and Lety writing profiles for each of them. Kids who love to write will love this narrative arc.
With their challenge to squeeze in a new “big word” in each profile, readers have even more excitement as they (probably) root for Lety.
The scenes at home with Lety’s family are all sweet and we learn about how tough immigration can be even for adults. This book also does a great job of portraying how harmful racism is when Brisa, Lety, Brisa’s mom, and Lety’s brother face off with a racist man who keeps insisting they speak English at a store. It was great to see Lety and her friends find opportunities to support each other throughout and the adults in this book are all supportive.
As the story unfolds, Lety learns to believe in herself and the power of her voice. I love how much we learn about the other characters and how well-rounded and rich this story is, even at 208 pages long! As someone who’s had to learn multiple second languages, my heart went out to Lety and her family. Also love the inclusion of Spanish phrases throughout the book!
Overall: Lety Out Loud
Lety Out Loud is a CUTE and inspiring young middle grade book about the immigrant experience, pets, and building friendships. Set in an animal shelter with a bilingual protagonist, this book will appeal to kids who love to write, and those who love animals. It’s a powerful addition to the lineup of middle grade books featuring Latino protagonists!
Here are some specifics to know about the content.
- Violence: None
- Racism: In one scene, an angry man harasses Lety and her friends for speaking Spanish instead of English
- Sexual content: None
- Ethnic: Lety and Brisa, as well as several other characters are Latino, Hunter and his family are white
Recommended for ages: 7+
Good for kids who like:
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang
- The Lost Language by Claudia Milla
- Critter Club series
- Books about animals
- Books with writer protagonists
|Publisher details||Scholastic Inc.|
|Publication date:||February 26, 2019|
|Cover artists | Designer:||Michael Frost | Nina Goffi, Yaffa Jaskoll|