On These Magic Shores
Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by immigration enforcement? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can't let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They'll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back.
Minerva's plan to go it alone falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva's audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping Minerva find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she'll be prepared to face life's challenges--with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.
What worked: Charming middle-grade tale of a young Latinx girl who gathers the strength within to help her younger sisters after her mother goes missing. A huge plus of this novel has to be the quiet strength of Minnie, who tries to step in and help her sisters.
Magic realism with hints of Peques, Argentinian fairies, sprinkled throughout the story. After her mother's disappearance, mysterious things appear in her house like cupcakes, hidden money, and glitter around offered milk on a plate. Though Minnie brushes these strange occurrences aside, her younger sisters do believe in the fairies gifts.
One huge thing I loved had to be how Minnie stands up and points not only how offensive some parts of Peter Pan are, but looks up ways to bring in changes that are empowering. She also reaches out to others when she needs help.
Sweet diverse tale sprinkled with magic. This story also addresses profiling and racism. Plus, of course, the power of believing not only in stories, but yourself.