This title by Pablo Cartaya. Arturo’s Miami summer is marked by the arrival of poetry enthusiast Carmen, who helps him use the power of protest to fight the plans of a land developer who wants to demolish his Abuela’s restaurant.
Grades 4-7 /* Starred Review */ Arturo is looking forward to a Miami summer filled with friends, ice cream, and working at his family’s popular restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla, but his plans get derailed from the start. Carmen, his mother’s goddaughter, comes to visit, and Arturo doesn’t understand why his stomach can’t settle down around her. His job at the restaurant is harder than he thought, and worst of all, his family’s plan to expand into an adjacent empty lot seems hopeless when flashy real-estate developer Wilfrido Pipo comes to town with plans of his own. Arturo hopes the community his abuela and abuelo loved for so long will support them, and with the help of his family, friends, and the work of Cuban poet and revolutionary hero José Martí, Arturo finds the strength to fight for what he believes in. Cartaya’s lively debut, filled with kind, dynamic characters and interspersed with letters, poems, and Twitter messages, offers a timely tale of a community steeped in tradition and multiculturalism, working together against encroaching gentrification, and Arturo ’s inviting first-person narrative is the perfect entry point for middle-grade readers. Unitalicized Spanish phrases appear throughout, always with enough context clues that non-Spanish speakers will have no trouble following along. At turns funny, beautiful, and heartbreaking, this engrossing story will get kids cheering for triumphant, relatable Arturo and his powerful connections to family, tradition, and community. — Paz, Selenia (Reviewed 4/1/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 15, p76)