Stories that feature a child main character that is suddenly transported to a world that forces him to overcome overwhelming odds to save the world/family/friends are very common (heck, I even wrote one). What sets certain books apart from the masses are dynamic characters and/or amazing world building. Ryan Calejo’s contribution to this genre, Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows, delivers on both.
Calejo’s pacing of his debut novel is perfectly balanced to provide the reader to the time to become in invested in Charlie, understand the Latin American mythology that is the backbone of the story, and making it almost impossible to put down. The combination on witty dialogue and thrilling action makes this book fun for any age reader.
With all of that said, I believe books like this are important as they expose young readers to kids from different cultures in a very accessible and welcoming way (The way the movie Coco did for many children). Also, it provides a strong character for children from similar cultures to connect with.
I truly recommend Charlie for your middle grade reader (and if you’re lucky, they’ll let you read it after they finish). Book release date is October 23rd – pre-order now!
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