Tag Archives: latinos in kidlit challenge

Latin@s in Kid Lit Challenge for February: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Once again, I’m posing a bit late for my Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge. Turns out the beginning of the year is TERRIBLE when your book launches in March. (LESS THAN A WEEK! GADS!) But I should be better this month! You know, after all the launch stuff.

I’m going to preface this by saying this book made me WEEP. Not just like, made my eyes itch for a little bit. I had tears running down my face. And no one even dies!

Okay. You may have heard of this book already, because it won a Pura Belpré medal, and they don’t just hand those out to everyone. This book has been on my radar for well over a year, but it wasn’t until A) the ALA awards happened, and B) I read The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind last month that I really, really wanted to read it. I stated somewhere (twitter?) that Meg Medina was on my watchlist, and this book just solidified that.

About the book: Piddy Sanchez (Medina once again showing her ability to come up with great names) doesn’t know who Yaqui Delgado is, but that changes when a girl named Vanessa tells her that Yaqui wants to beat her up. At first, Piddy’s not worried. After all, she did nothing to Yaqui, so why in the world would she want to kick Piddy’s ass? But it soon becomes clear that Yaqui isn’t backing down. And Piddy, who’s never been the fighting-back type, doesn’t know what to do. Fearful for what Yaqui has in store for her, Piddy loses track of assignments, starts ditching school, and even talks back to her mother.

So, I think the reason I began crying was because Medina really made Piddy’s fear and humiliation real for me. Piddy was so obviously a victim that I truly felt for her.


However, I also felt for Yaqui. I admit that I was a little disappointed when the book didn’t go the way I thought it would, revealing more insight into Yaqui’s character. There’s some insight, but it’s speculation. We never hear from the girl herself. I was also expecting some kind of understanding to happen between Piddy and Yaqui, which maybe would have explained things from Yaqui’s point of view, but that also didn’t happen. This doesn’t detract from the writing or the book in any way, but I’m a big fan of characters and I really wanted to know Yaqui better.

At the end of the book, there’s a sense of closure for Piddy, but there isn’t one for Yaqui. I was left with the impression that Yaqui will stick to her old ways and continue to bully other girls who say or do the wrong thing in front of her (or her boyfriend). And I craved that. Even if it isn’t realistic.

One thing I especially liked, though, was the ending, despite there being no resolution/explanations for Yaqui. I love that Medina had Piddy going to her school’s principal instead of having a Rocky-themed training montage and going after Yaqui in the parking lot. I’ve read quite a few books about bullying, and they often end in violence. It’s not a problem, because that is a realistic way to deal with a bully – to fight back. However, there are kids like Piddy who simply can’t fight back. They aren’t like that, or they just can’t bring themselves to do it. How are they supposed to stop their bullies?

I don’t believe going to an adult or an authority figure always works in the case of bullying, but sometimes it does. Medina did a great job of drawing a parallel between Joey’s abused mother and Piddy. Both were being bullied, and both refused to tell anyone. Piddy refused out of fear, while Mrs. Halper refused out of (it’s implied) love for her abusive husband. I loved that Joey told Piddy, toward the end of the book, that she should run if she needed to.

Sometimes running doesn’t seem like a good option. Running is perceived as cowardly, when in actuality running is a survival technique. When faced with something bigger and stronger than ourselves, does it make sense to stay and fight? I’m really glad this was something Piddy embraced.


Another thing I really liked was how totally Yaqui invaded Piddy’s life. Every problem Piddy had could be traced back to her situation with Yaqui. It was eye-opening, and I’d never thought of bullying that way – as something that can affect the victim so much that their whole personality starts to change. It makes sense, because I believe victims of domestic or child abuse go through the same thing, but it wasn’t until this book that I saw just how much bullying can affect someone.

My hat’s off to Meg Medina. Not only has she written two fabulous books, SHE MADE ME CRY BOTH TIMES. BOTH TIMES!

If you want to take part in the Latin@s in Kid Lit challenge, it’s not too late! Follow the link to sign up!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books

Latinos in Kidlit Challenge for January: The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina

My first entry for the Latinos in Kidlit Challenge is about Meg Medina’s fabulous The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. Meg Medina’s name will be familiar to many, as at the ALA awards her YA novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, won the Pura Belpré award. I’ve had YDWTKYA on my to-read list for a long time, but hold lines at the library were long. So instead, I decided to check out Medina’s debut YA novel.

And I’m really glad I did.

The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind is the story of Sonia Ocampo (GREAT NAME), something of a “miracle worker” in her tiny mountain village of Tres Montes, due to her birth coinciding with the halt of a particularly fierce storm. After a villager asks Sonia to pray for her son, who turns up dead, Sonia realizes that she is no miracle worker, and longs to leave behind the burden of holding the town’s hopes, dreams, and problems. She journeys to the capital, a bustling city where rich families are in constant need of labor, with three other women to be a maid.

This book was simply a joy to read. From the prologue, I was hooked into Sonia’s world, the rich language and the wonderful storytelling. Medina’s story reminded me of many magical realism books I’ve read – she encapsulates the whimsy of the ordinary so very well. In her author biography, Medina said that she was inspired by “old Latino tales – romantic and magical.” That’s exactly the impression I got from the story.


The only thing I was disappointed about was the disappearance of Sonia’s co-workers from the capital after she and Pancho leave to find her brother. I was especially interested to hear from Dalia, since I have a soft spot for hard-edged girls. And I wanted to know that Dalia would be okay after the events at the end of the book. (SO SAD. UGH)

I applaud Medina, though, for weaving such a brutal story and giving it a bittersweet ending. Also, the romance was so well-done. Romance is hard to do well, because you want a kind of slow build, and you want the sense of the characters really yearning for each other. I was beyond invested in Sonia and Pancho’s romance. I would say they’re now one of my favorite YA couples!


Now, here’s hoping I’ll get my hands on Yaqui Delgado, because I have the sneaking suspicion that Meg Medina is going to be one of my favorite authors. If you’re a fan of Jaclyn Moriarty like I am, Medina is an author I think you’ll love as well.


Random things I liked in The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind:

  • The names! And not just of people, but of towns, of places, of objects. The names made the world feel especially thought-out and real.
  • The omniscient narration. It was usually more of a “one chapter in this character’s POV, one chapter in this character’s POV,” but would occasionally switch POV in a single chapter. I think Medina used it really well, and the fact that the prologue was omniscient prepared me for it to show up again.
  • Sonia’s family. Actually, all of the characters in this novel, good or bad, felt real and whole and complete.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books