Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows
by Ryan Calejo
Recommended Ages: 10+
A boy's quest across the magic of multiple countries, united only by a Spanish-speaking culture, would be thrilling enough. More than Charlie's life is at stake, though. His adventures work on a similar level to Rick Riordan's repackaging of Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Nordic myths and legends, complete with the present-day kid's street-wise attitude and goofy sense of humor. Another book this reminded me of is The Avion My Uncle Flew, with its clever way of getting the reader to read (maybe aloud) words and phrases in a (ha, ha) "foreign" language, in this case Spanish. I think it's a lot of fun, and I would recommend it not just as an edifying lesson in cross-cultural understanding but as a solid piece of entertainment. And that, amigos, is as American as apple empanadas.
This is Ryan Calejo's debut novel. A sequel, titled Charlie Hernandez & the Castle of Bones, is set for release Oct. 22, 2019.