Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya

Published by Kokila

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Summary:  Seventh-grader Emilia has a lot going on in her life.  Her mom leaves for a business trip the same day that her father returns from his latest overseas deployment.  Emilia depends on her mom for help managing her ADHD, and finds school challenging on her own. Her dad doesn’t seem to want to talk about why he never answered the 30 videos she sent him when he was away, and the only way they seem able to connect is working at her grandmother’s auto repair shop.  Abuela is well-meaning, but overbearing, and she and Emilia don’t often see eye-to-eye.  On top of this, there’s the usual middle school stuff, with shifting friendships and challenging teachers.  Emilia gets caught up in a social studies project that opens her eyes to racism and immigration issues in her town, and sometimes puts her at odds with her classmates.  Ultimately, Emilia finds that most of the changes are positive, as she learns to advocate for herself and get what she needs, both at home and at school. 336 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  I’ve been procrastinating reading this book for awhile now, and am so glad I finally got around to it.  Emila is an awesome narrator, and the author deftly handles a number of important issues that many readers will connect with.  He narrated the audiobook I listened to, which seemed strange at first, since the narrator is a girl, but he did a remarkably good job with the many different voices.

Cons:  Although I’ve been reviewing my high-school Spanish with Duolingo lessons lately, I still couldn’t catch all of Abuela’s conversation, and it wasn’t always 100% translated.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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