fantasy, mexican, middle grade

Middle Grade Must-Read – Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Rick Riordan Presents)
Written by Tehlor Mejia

Some saw Rick Riordan as piggybacking off of the popularity of Harry Potter when he began publishing his Percy Jackson. And while there are some surface-level similarities, it’s ultimately a celebration of Riordan’s love of Greek mythology. The same sentiment is present in Tehlor Mejia’s first entry in her Paola Santiago series, which Riordan presents. This is a celebration of Mexican folklore and culture delivered in an exciting manner that will draw in children whether they have a personal connection to the figures presented or not. The key to the book’s success are richly-drawn characters and a pace that keeps the reader hooked.

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culture, folktales, mexican, social studies

Author Spotlight – Duncan Tonatiuh

Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City in 1984 to an American father and a Mexican mother. Duncan’s family moved to the States when he was a teenager, and he finished high school in Massachusetts. Growing up, Duncan was drawn to the vibrant art of comic books and anime. This inspired him to make his own comics and prompted his exploration of art. In high school, he took up painting and claims his most significant influences to be Vincent Van Gogh and Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele. In college, Duncan began studying Mixtec art, the painting style found in indigenous Mexican art of the Oaxaca and Puebla peoples. This art style is the core influence in the children’s books Duncan writes & illustrates. It’s his way of reviving an old art form in a contemporary context that tells relevant stories to children.

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