Chunky is a new graphic memoir in which Yehudi (Hudi) conjures an imaginary friend/mascot, Chunky to support him through a challenging time in his life. Hudi is a funny kid with a serious interest in comedy Because of childhood illness, Hudi has had one lung removed. He is also chubby with zero athletic prowess, in a family of athletic people. His dad won so many sports trophies in school and encourages Hudi to pick a sport. His mother thinks sports will also help Hudi regulate his weight. And so Hudi begins to try sport after sport — with hilarious results, and Chunky cheering him all the way.
Stella Diaz Dreams Big is the third book in the Stella Diaz series and Stella is finally in fourth grade! Her brother Nick is a high schooler, and both he and Stella are shocked by the volume of HOMEWORK they now have to do compared to what they did in their prior classes. Nick is also working part-time at a pizzeria and Stella’s fourth-grade goals have her signing up for several extracurriculars — and stretching herself thin.
Camila the Record-Breaking Star is the first in the Camila the Star series by Alicia Salazar, illustrated by Thias Damiao. In this book, young Camila who has always wanted to be una estrella discovers that one way she can do this is by breaking a world record, but which one? After much thought and many failed tries, she finally finds the perfect thing for her. She’s not going to break any previously set records; she’ll set hers instead!
Winnie and Ingrid Lopez are the first Latino First Daughters and their Papa’s tenure is just about done. The President-Elect (and first Female African-American President) has twin daughters Skylar and Zora. In a never-before-done move-in style, the Lopez’s allow the Williams family to move in with them seven weeks ahead of inauguration.
The Lopez girls have mixed feelings about leaving the White House after spending most of their childhood there. Twelve-year-old Winnie is eager to get away from under the public gaze and the pressure to be perfect, whereas 11-year-old Ingrid is sad to be leaving everything behind. Both girls decide to play some good-natured pranks on the Williams girls who are nervous about stepping into their new roles as First Daughters. When the Williams girls retaliate, it becomes a full-on prank war as both sets of daughters try to outdo each other.
Lupe Wong Won’t Dance is Donna Barba Higuera’s debut middle-grade novel. Her protagonist Lupe is a Mexican-Chinese girl who loves baseball. Her Chinese father died several years ago, so she lives with her Mexican mom and her brother Paolo. However, both her abuela and her Chinese grandparents are very present in their lives. Lupe is excited to get all A’s this year because her uncle has promised her a meeting with baseball star Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese like her if she does. But all of a sudden, there’s a new development in her gym class: Coach wants them to do square dancing instead of like, actual sports. And guess what? Lupe does not dance.
I’ve been planning this list of best Latino middle-grade and chapter books for a while now. I enjoy Latin American culture and literature, especially where middle-grade is concerned. In this list, I’ve tried to include chapter books and middle-grade books by Latino authors. I’ve read several books on this list and many of these authors have other books which I may not have mentioned on this list, but hopefully you can follow the breadcrumbs.
Bryan loves comics and hanging out with his mom — and even his big sister sometimes — with no drama. His dad has a temper and has been in jail for some misdemeanor. Now though, he’s on parole, and it seems like things may be looking up. But when a new boy his age, Mike, worms his way into Bryan’s family, it appears Bryan may have a new friend.
Jennifer Torres’s The Fresh Face of Griselda follows young Geez (as Griselda is called by her family) as she adjusts to her family’s new socioeconomic situation. Her dad’s landscaping business recently shut down and the family lost their home. As a result, they’ve had to move in with her Nana.
In Strange Birds, four girls form an unlikely friendship that leads to activism. Ofelia Castillo (budding journalist), Aster Douglas (bookish foodie), Cat Garcia (bird aficionado), and Lane DiSanti (artist) are as different as can be. But when the Floras — their local Scout troop — plans to crown its next queen with a hat of feathers, the girls band together to fight for birds.