Title: Race to the Sun
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Release Date: January 14th 2020
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Genre: Middle Grade | Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.10 (of 646 ratings)
representation: indigenous MC and characters, half black/half indigenous side character
content warnings: kidnapping, attempted murder, violence
I was super excited for another edition of Rick Riordan Presents – and I was pleased to find another immersive world of culture and stories that shone like the precious gemstones mentioned in this story. Roanhorse shone with her infusion of her characters that are based on the culture and showcasing each indigenous tribe. What this imprint does best is to give a platform to tell stories that middle graders to see themselves and their culture in the pages, and this is yet another one that does just that.
I think my biggest problem with the story is that I just couldn’t connect. Having read so many stories in this imprint and a lot of stories like this, I think I’m too easy to pick up the formula in it. There is definitely nothing wrong with it, and readers that are new to the imprint, Riordan’s other books, and other action/adventure middle grade books will definitely find it exciting and enticing. However, for me, it didn’t captivate me as much as I would like. A Cinderella rating!
Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Middle Grade | Contempoary
Goodreads Rating: 4.14 (of 255 ratings)
representation: Latinx main characters, undocumented immigration
content warnings: absentee parent
This was an intriguing read. The first part was about a young boy’s eagerness to make it on a local football team and then all of a sudden, it turns into a pseudo fantasy world that is actually a metaphor for undocumented immigration. The whole concept of Mañanaland was highly interesting, and I thought it was a wonderful way to introduce the concept to middle grade. It didn’t feel too inaccessible, and it had a power to it. It was a land of tomorrows and possibilities – and this story infused the middle magic that it does best.
Our main character did have a few stumbles, for me. I think he would been a perfect hero if he was aged just slightly younger. Munoz Ryan did make a main character that doesn’t shrink back from an adventure and definitely is brave, but I wish he would have had a few more steps before he raced off into one and found out the true meaning of what the land was.
Although I read this as an audiobook, I would recommend reading it as a physical one. I heard there are some gorgeous pictures inside, and I, personally, did not feel as immersed as I would want to in this one when I believe the physical could be more. Plus, how can you go wrong with pretty pictures??? This was definitely an intriguing take on immigration, and I can see why it is this story would be such a rich story to give to a middle grader who is looking to expand their knowledge on the topic. A Pocahontas rating from me.
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What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!