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Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya Book Review


I WAS SO EXCITED TO BE INVITED TO REVIEW PABLO CARTAYA'S NEW BOOK, EACH TINY SPARK, especially as I had loved his book, Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish, which I had reviewed last summer (you can read my review by clicking here), and I was not disappointed!

Each Tiny Spark tells the story of Emilia Rose, a tween living outside Atlanta, Georgia, with a lot of different puzzles to figure out in her life: how to deal with having ADHD, understanding her father who has returned from overseas active duty, town politics affecting her school, her own latina heritage, and the history of immigration and it's impact on her neighbors, friends and family.

Emilia Rose's story is compelling, entirely relatable, and poignant. In many ways, the multiple threads of the storyline mirror Emilia's ADHD in that you don't spend long amounts of time on any one of them, but rather Cartaya skillfully weaves vignettes together-Emilia trying to deal with her father's lack of communication while at the same time they work on fixing up an old Shelby Mustang together, the pressure she feels from her Abuela to conform to traditional dress and activities of young latina girls, navigating a friendship that is rapidly deteriorating, and coming to terms with the strong emotions school redistricting is surfacing in her town. Running through each of these is a common thread of identity, which Emilia Rose ultimately discovers as she works to untangle the facts she learns about her state's history and which develops a sense of purpose within her to raise awareness about immigration law and the unfair treatment many immigrants have received.

Pablo Cartaya
One of the most fascinating aspects of Cartaya's book is the local history-I learned so much about my own country through the research his character, Emilia, does for her school project. As she digs deeper into the past, Cartaya treats the reader to an informative overview of the law and it's impact on individuals and families. What I love about this is it's accessibility to young readers, and how the development of Emilia's understanding is contagious-as you read her process, you cannot help but want to get involved, too-an incredible message for today's young readers!

:) Julie

For more information:
BOOK DESCRIPTION
Emilia Torres has a wandering mind. It's hard for her to follow along at school, and sometimes she forgets to do what her mom or abuela asks. But she remembers what matters: a time when her family was whole and home made sense. When Dad returns from deployment, Emilia expects that her life will get back to normal. Instead, it unravels.

     Dad shuts himself in the back stall of their family's auto shop to work on an old car. Emilia peeks in on him daily, mesmerized by his welder. One day, Dad calls Emilia over. Then, he teaches her how to weld. And over time, flickers of her old dad reappear.

     But as Emilia finds a way to repair the relationship with her father at home, her community ruptures with some of her classmates, like her best friend, Gus, at the center of the conflict. 

     Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya is a tender story about asking big questions and being brave enough to reckon with the answers.

Pre-order Here:

AUTHOR BIO
Pablo Cartaya is an award-winning author, speaker, actor, and educator. In 2018, he received a Pura Belpré Author Honor for his middle grade novel, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. His second novel, Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish, is also available.

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