The main character, Ximena, is described as complex and thoughtful. However, social situations and problems are seen as individual problems, not situated within a societal context. Her father, Daniel, is in prison because of an accident, but there is no further information. It is not clear why he had to spend 13 years in prison. Daniel is later attacked by other inmates. Unfortunately, Mexicans are usually associated with violence and prison in films and on social media. This puts the book at risk of perpetuating this stereotype.
The story is from the point of view of Carl, who is described as a normal boy who lives with a normal family in Colorado that is an expert in math (p. 1-3). This means that being a white male in a heterosexual family is what is considered normal in Colorado/the United States. Furthermore, while in Mexico, there is no Mexican voice participating in the story. It is an attempt to bring the reader closer to Guanajuato, but it falls short because it fails to empower the community.
La Sombras is a very engaging story about paranormal activity in the town of Buena Vista that captures the reader’s attention from beginning to end. There is visible diversity in the illustrations and this helps the reader visualize the characters and follow the plot.
Agentes secretos y el mural de Picasso is an easy level reader based in Spain (Pamplona and Barcelona), and Paris, with mentions of cultural products and places such as Picasso’s Guernica, the Spear of Destiny, Las Ramblas, Sainte-Chapelle, among others. All of these cultural landmarks are tied together throughout the story in a creative way. The photographs help the reader create a mental image of the different settings of the story. Since the book focuses on Spanish landmarks, the teacher has the opportunity to expand on deeper cultural practices.
The story of Ahorita makes an attempt to compare cultures and perspectives. Through the American character Wyatt, readers are able to explore his conception of time in comparison to Paco’s conception of time as a Mexican. The reader and educator are cautioned to not generalize that all Mexicans are “careless” with time, and to question the depictions in the story.
Readers need to be aware of the mentions of enslaved people, and the real possibility of triggering situations.
Piratas is a book that feels much like a fusion between sci fi, history, and surrealistic/futuristic passages.
Susana está molesta is an engaging story well-suited to a typical level 1 Spanish course. It uses simple language and cognates to tell the story of a young girl who is annoyed by various aspects of her life.
Esperanza is a novel based on true events that unfold in Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States, as an undocumented family is forced to leave Guatemala and travel to the United States in order to escape violence from their own government.
Kevin is an exchange student that goes on an adventure in Granada, Spain. There he finds a lot of cultural elements that are different from his own culture.
Felipe Alou is a moving true story about a Dominican baseball player in the United States in the 1950s. The story is inspiring and highlights the values of resilience and persistence. Throughout the book, we see how Felipe Alou trusted in what he had and worked hard to achieve his dreams.