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On These Magic Shores

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Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother's disappearance. Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mam Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother's disappearance. Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by ICE? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can't let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They'll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back. Minerva's plan falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva's audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she'll be prepared to face life's challenges--with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.


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Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother's disappearance. Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mam Minerva must take care of her sisters after her mother's disappearance. Twelve-year-old Minerva Soledad Miranda is determined to reach her goals, despite shouldering more responsibility than the other kids at school--like caring for her two sisters while her mom works two jobs. But one night, Minerva's mom doesn't come home, and Minerva has to figure out what to do. Was Mamá snapped up by ICE? Will the girls be sent to foster homes or holding centers for migrant kids? Minerva and her sisters can't let anyone know Mamá has disappeared. They'll just pretend everything is normal until she comes back. Minerva's plan falls apart the first afternoon, when her baby sister throws a tantrum during Minerva's audition for Peter Pan. But as the days pass and Minerva grows ever more worried about her mother, something magical seems to be watching out for them: leaving them cupcakes, helping her find money, even steering them to friends and distant family who can help. Eventually, Minerva must make the hardest choice of her life. And when she does, she'll be prepared to face life's challenges--with friendship, hope, and a little bit of fairy magic.

30 review for On These Magic Shores

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cande

    Minerva dreams of becoming the first Latinx US president. She has her life planned out and the first step involves getting a part in her school’s Peter Pan show. But things turn downhill very quickly when her mom disappears and she has to look after her two younger sisters, Kota and Avi. This story is beautiful and bittersweet, it explores immigration, growing up and Peter Pan’s racism sprinkled with magic. “The tooth wasn’t there. I searched frantically but instead of a tooth, I found a gold Minerva dreams of becoming the first Latinx US president. She has her life planned out and the first step involves getting a part in her school’s Peter Pan show. But things turn downhill very quickly when her mom disappears and she has to look after her two younger sisters, Kota and Avi. This story is beautiful and bittersweet, it explores immigration, growing up and Peter Pan’s racism sprinkled with magic. “The tooth wasn’t there. I searched frantically but instead of a tooth, I found a golden coin that sparkled, gleaming with magic and impossibility. Or was it possibility?" One of the things I always come back to with MR (magical realism) is how well it handles difficult themes or topics, making it almost feel out of the world and so close to home at the same time. After all, that is what magical realism does and Yamile does it so well. The events of the book feel so magical and impossible, but they make sense in this world, no explanations needed. On These Magic Shores takes a look at what it means to be the older sibling in an immigrant family, how taking the role of a parent completely changes your relationship with your siblings and the world. Taking from the story of the lost boys that didn’t want to grow, Minerva struggles with the bitterness that she had to grow up, that she was forced out of her childhood. It’s quite heartbreaking, and it’s also complicated and ugly. Peter Pain is a perfect novel to see side by side with this book because, in the end, it’s also a story of hope and belief. Hope that her mom will come back to them, hope that they can survive by themselves, hope for better things. The story has these perfect moments that may be unexpected, but give the three sisters exactly what they need. Sorry friends, I didn’t mean to go into details about MR in the book, but I also don’t want readers who may not be familiar with the genre miss what makes On These Magic Shores a phenomenal novel. I’m not planning to go too much into depth about Peter Pan, mostly because I haven’t read the book. But I do want to mention that Yamile takes the time to take a hard look at the racism of the novel and it’s called out on page many times. I’m not sure where to begin my love for the Argentine rep here. This is the thing I like to call, unapologetic Latinx because it doesn’t need to be explained or justified, it just exists. They think about milanesas, they use Argentine slang, they drink mate… Of course, they do, they are Argentine-Americans and this story is not about their struggle as Latinx girls. It makes my heart so full, for real. I feel validated and seen, how casual it’s done is wonderful. I will not call this book true Argentine representation, that would be ridiculous, as they’re so many different experiences and stories. But this feels so close to my own and that, that it’s more than enough for me. Now let me cry in the corner. Oh, wait, before we have to talk about the characters. Minerva is the sweetest, fiercest and strongest girl on the planet. Ok, I may be biased here but I adore her so much. She’s trying her best and has all these big dreams for her future. She had to grow up quickly, holding all these responsibilities and she’s angry. And tired, frustrated. She’s so sympathetic, that is it. I understand her heartbreak, as an older sibling myself. I understand how she can feel condescending of the other children and jealous at the same time. She wants to be cared for and loved, my sweet child. Her two adorable sisters made me so happy. I laughed with their ideas, I cried with their pain. I was so touched by these three sisters and their love. Oh, their love and my poor heart. I also adore Maverick, his kindness and support, the slow friendship they made. The characters shine here, they are all so full of life and complexity. Because in the end, these characters are more of what Minerva sees at the beginning, which speaks a lot how she feels like a grown-up but she is a still child. The ending is perfect for this story, it’s emotional and a little bit sad, but also hopeful and beautiful. I was worried about the way everything would come together, especially relating to the mother. Sometimes middle-grade forgives, I think, to quickly adults. But here, here, it’s such a satisfying ending. Not only makes sense in the context but forgiveness it’s slowly earned. And not an easy road. But don’t fear, although bittersweet, this is very much a happy ending. Yamile Saied Méndez creates a world that feels genuine and innocent when exploring sadness and fear, with wonderful character relationships and one unforgettable main character. I can’t wait to see where this author goes next. Read more reviews on my blog, Latinx Magic

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    One of the strongest middle grade books I’ve read. Tough and tender, it tackles many of today’s most pressing issues honestly and in a way that is respectful of children’s intelligence. Minerva and her sisters are affected by systemic racism, sexism, immigration policies, poverty, and police assumptions, but they draw on their resourcefulness, their love for each other, unexpected friendships, and a smidgen of fairy magic to prevail. Highly recommended for social justice warriors of all ages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Stimpson

    This is a beautiful story about a sassy pants heroine with a hint of *magic.* The story is multi-layered and deals with many important, relevant issues to today's middle grade readers, but the one that I appreciated the most was dealing with the story of PETER PAN. PETER PAN is in in my top five, all-time favorite books. I LOVE it. And yet, every time I read it, I cringe at the insensitive language and treatment of American Indians and the sexist themes that resonate in the book. It seems it woul This is a beautiful story about a sassy pants heroine with a hint of *magic.* The story is multi-layered and deals with many important, relevant issues to today's middle grade readers, but the one that I appreciated the most was dealing with the story of PETER PAN. PETER PAN is in in my top five, all-time favorite books. I LOVE it. And yet, every time I read it, I cringe at the insensitive language and treatment of American Indians and the sexist themes that resonate in the book. It seems it would be an easy decision to just stop reading the book. But I can't. I love it. I share it with my children, while stopping to have discussions about the insensitive language and the historical context. There are so many great books, so why keep reading this one? There are so many great plays, so why do schools keep producing this one? Well, because Tinkerbell and Wendy Darling and Captain Hook and Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, himself. And all the wonderful, beautiful themes that exist in that story. So what do we did with beloved classic literature and Disney movies that have problematic content but are also part of our culture and have important messages and ideas and *magic*? I think the answer is to do what Minerva does in ON THESE MAGIC SHORES. And if you want to know what that is, you'll just have to read the book. It's worth it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was lovely! More thoughts to come.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Minerva Miranda's single mom works hard to support Minerva and her younger sisters, Kota and Avi. It involves more than one job, child care provided by a friend for Avi, and hand-me-down clothes. The family is close knit and has fun traditions from the mother's Argentine background, including a tooth fairy mouse and feeding milk to the fairies, or pequenos. The younger girls love all manner of stories about fairies, but Minerva is less than thrilled about one stor E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Minerva Miranda's single mom works hard to support Minerva and her younger sisters, Kota and Avi. It involves more than one job, child care provided by a friend for Avi, and hand-me-down clothes. The family is close knit and has fun traditions from the mother's Argentine background, including a tooth fairy mouse and feeding milk to the fairies, or pequenos. The younger girls love all manner of stories about fairies, but Minerva is less than thrilled about one story in particular. Her school puts on a production of Peter Pan every year. Minerva goes to a lot of trouble to try out, only to be cast as Tiger Lily, a role which she thinks is extremely problematic. There are bigger problems, though-- one Sunday night, her mother doesn't come home. Minerva calls the nursing home where her mother works and finds that she did not show up for her last shift, but Minerva does not identify herself. She also makes sure that their landlord, Mr. Chang, doesn't find out. She finds some food for her sisters, takes Avi to day care earlier than usual, and gets herself and Kota to school. At school, she has made friends with Maverick, who is adopted and has six older sisters, and his help makes it possible for Minerva to juggle caring for her sisters. She tells the play director that she doesn't want the part, and is released from her obligation with the understanding that she needs to find someone else to take the part and pay the $50 participation fee. As the week wears on, Maverick's mother and sisters also help out, and Minerva reaches out to her estranged grandmother in Argentina. When her mother returns, having been in the hospital, Minerva knows that she will need a lot of help, especially since her mother seems to be getting worse instead of better. Strengths: For some reason, middle school students like to read about children who need to take care of themselves; I always refer to it as the Boxcar Children Effect. It is not something that would be good to have to do in real life, but it's interesting to think about. Readers in a similar home situation will feel seen, and readers who have not experienced this will feel lucky. Minerva is a great character who really thinks through her situation and deals with it the best she can. She reaches out to a support network when she is at the end of her resources. This is an important picture of the situation that many tween students live on a daily basis, and a good reminder that sometimes problems in class reflect this often unexplored reality. Weaknesses: I wish there had been more detail about the mother's illness; it was very serious, and it was good that the girls had their grandmother step in, but I wanted to know more about the nature of her illness. Also, I'm not sure how well current middle school students know Peter Pan. When my daughters saw it at a friend's house 20 years ago, I remember thinking "Oh, no. That is not something that holds up at all." What I really think: Like Rosenberg and Shang's upcoming Not Your All-American Girl (July 7th 2020, Scholastic Press), this covers a play and outdated social expectations for casting. Since this is set in the present rather than the 1980s, the teachers involved are open to changing the play, and even breaking with tradition and trying a new play.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This was heartbreakingly beautiful in the way that Fighting Words is. It's the pain that Mendez shows readers that make you ache for the main character's circumstances but for Minerva (Minnie) she just sees it as her obligation and her duty. She's the oldest girl taking care of her two younger sisters while her mother works long hours, but it isn't until her mother doesn't return home from the night shift that she's left to fend for themselves and wonder where she is, whether she'll be back, and This was heartbreakingly beautiful in the way that Fighting Words is. It's the pain that Mendez shows readers that make you ache for the main character's circumstances but for Minerva (Minnie) she just sees it as her obligation and her duty. She's the oldest girl taking care of her two younger sisters while her mother works long hours, but it isn't until her mother doesn't return home from the night shift that she's left to fend for themselves and wonder where she is, whether she'll be back, and how she can survive making ends meet while keeping up the charade. It's a way it's a typical middle grade story about overcoming the impossible with tween invincibility, but this story is anything but typical. Minnie wants to be Wendy in the school's play of Peter Pan because it will lead to student elections, then one day she'll become the first Latinx president of the United States. But there are obstacles in the way include macro and microagressions against her Argentinian heritage and the racism in Peter Pan itself that she takes charge to change. It's a show of strength but also community and friendship as Minnie teams up with a new friend, Maverick, a little help from Mr. Cheng the apartment's owner and their upstairs neighbor, and others along the way. The circumstances are magically helped along by invisible fairy forces that combine Argentinian folklore and magical thinking for three little girls in a big pickle. And the resolution is a mix of hopefulness and believable magic. "'As I was saying,' I continued, 'I have it all figured out. If I get elected to student body president in middle school, it will be easier to get elected student body president in high school. And then college. When I'm a lawyer, I'll run for president. Of the country. And when I'm in the White House, I'll be the most powerful woman in the world.'"

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from Lee & Lowe Books through Edelweiss+. Mendez creates a real life situation with hints of magic throughout. Minerva and her two sisters live with their single mom. They exist below the poverty level. One night, her mom does not come home and Minerva takes on the role of protecting her sisters and keeping them together without help. Finally, she trusts a new friend at school and he helps as much as possible. Her mom has told the three girls about the fairies from Ar I received an electronic ARC from Lee & Lowe Books through Edelweiss+. Mendez creates a real life situation with hints of magic throughout. Minerva and her two sisters live with their single mom. They exist below the poverty level. One night, her mom does not come home and Minerva takes on the role of protecting her sisters and keeping them together without help. Finally, she trusts a new friend at school and he helps as much as possible. Her mom has told the three girls about the fairies from Argentina. For the several days that their mom is gone, unusual events happen. They can't be explained and both younger sisters believe in the fairy magic. The story resolves with their grandmother coming from Argentina to reconcile with their mom and bring them all to Argentina to care for them and hope their mom can recover and survive. A few of the transitions were choppy and some of the character relationships and interactions didn't fit or make sense -Maverick's flip flop attitude; Bailey's brief story line. Overall, middle grade readers will relate to having to grow up too fast and step up to help with family situations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I debated between a two and a three star rating for a long time, but there were just too many things that didn't sit well with me in this book. Several things about this story are just too abrupt. For example, Avi going from not speaking to speaking with no transition or follow up was too abrupt. Maverick going from someone Minnie thought would be nice to a complete jerk to this amazing guy was also too abrupt. I also thought the whole dynamic with Bailey should have either been developed or lef I debated between a two and a three star rating for a long time, but there were just too many things that didn't sit well with me in this book. Several things about this story are just too abrupt. For example, Avi going from not speaking to speaking with no transition or follow up was too abrupt. Maverick going from someone Minnie thought would be nice to a complete jerk to this amazing guy was also too abrupt. I also thought the whole dynamic with Bailey should have either been developed or left out. Finally, my biggest pet peeve: rewriting Lily and her Amazons at the expenses of the boys. I applaud trying to smash stereotypes, but to make it at the expense of boys and men really makes me sad. We absolutely should celebrate strong women, but not if it means undermining boys and men. Both girls and boys, men and women are of inestimable worth.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sue Young

    Loved this book! Minerva Miranda is a 7th grader with 2 younger sisters and an immigrant mother who doesn't come home one day. She has to figure out how to care for her siblings and try to find out what happened to Mamá, while going to her classes and trying out for the outdated stereotyped school play. Unexpected help and encouragement shows up - could it be fairies as Avi, the youngest girl insists? Minerva is a heroine worthy of her namesake - the wise Greek warrior goddess. The author keeps Loved this book! Minerva Miranda is a 7th grader with 2 younger sisters and an immigrant mother who doesn't come home one day. She has to figure out how to care for her siblings and try to find out what happened to Mamá, while going to her classes and trying out for the outdated stereotyped school play. Unexpected help and encouragement shows up - could it be fairies as Avi, the youngest girl insists? Minerva is a heroine worthy of her namesake - the wise Greek warrior goddess. The author keeps the plot flowing - I found it hard to put this book down, rooting for Minerva all the way.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Davids

    This was an incredible heart-breaking and heart-warming story that kept me on turning the pages and not wanting to stop. While telling the turbulent, realistic tale of young Minerva, versatile author Yamile Mendez was able to sprinkle just the right amount of magic while tackling countless themes including growing up, importance of family, finding friends in unexpected places, while also addressing numerous contemporary issues like privilege and prejudice, representation, poverty and so much mor This was an incredible heart-breaking and heart-warming story that kept me on turning the pages and not wanting to stop. While telling the turbulent, realistic tale of young Minerva, versatile author Yamile Mendez was able to sprinkle just the right amount of magic while tackling countless themes including growing up, importance of family, finding friends in unexpected places, while also addressing numerous contemporary issues like privilege and prejudice, representation, poverty and so much more! A must read for all ages.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gracelynn

    rrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaddddd

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim Baccellia

    Sweet diverse tale sprinkled with magic. This story also addresses profiling and racism. Plus, of course, the power of believing not only in stories, but yourself.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tirzah Price

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Pérez

  15. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  16. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  17. 5 out of 5

    Yamile Méndez

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claribel Ortega

  19. 5 out of 5

    kim baccellia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Villasante

  21. 5 out of 5

    Isabel Ibañez

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lucianna Wolfstone

  23. 5 out of 5

    NoNieqa Ramos

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emma Otheguy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  26. 5 out of 5

    shawn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Falvey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bulls Vigo27

  29. 4 out of 5

    Arianne Costner

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

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