Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for a really sweet new middle grade novel!
Mmmmmm.... A Dash of Trouble sounds delicious!
(synopsis from the teacher's guide)
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion—and no occasion is more important than the annual Día de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration…but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and to the bakery, she makes a startling discovery: her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a secret. They’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. Leo knows that she has magical ability as well, and she’s more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mamá and her hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all….What could possibly go wrong?
I am thrilled to be able to put A Dash of Trouble in my classroom library. I teach upper elementary students who have strong reading skills. They are always looking for books that include friendship and family. Leo is a lot like them. She’s curious, eager to grow up, and isn’t always sure of exactly the right path to take. The fact that Leo is also part of a loving family of sisters and has a strong friendship with Caroline makes it a great addition to the books I share with my students.
Some of my students are passionate fantasy readers, but others prefer realistic fiction. I love that Leo’s story will interest both groups. The realistic setting with a pinch of magic is a great way to help fantasy readers branch out into realistic books and vice versa.
The icing on the cake is the fact that A Dash of Trouble is another title that helps me continue to diversify my collection. I want books that stretch my students to see things from other perspectives. I also want books that allow my students to see themselves in the pages. Knowing that Anna Meriano brings an authentic voice to the novel makes me feel even better about sharing this story with my students.
Trying out the treats....
|Someone wanted to investigate my treats!|
"Leo's Lucky Pigs" -- though mine didn't fly!
1. I had most of the ingredients already, so you may also have them in your kitchen. I had a big bin of cookie cutters someone gave me years ago, too. I think I used up all of my "luck" when I found a pig cookie cutter inside.
2. My biggest challenge was trying to figure out whether my liquids were at "light syrup" stage. Eventually I just stopped simmering and poured it into the dry mix. It worked out fine, so I'm guessing this isn't a mission critical decision.
3. Working with this cookie cutter took some trial and error. The dough kept getting stuck inside! I ended up dusting the rolled out dough with extra flour to help it not stick as much.
The cookies were delicious - with a mild flavor that was only slightly sweet. I liked them, but I wasn't sure what kids would think. I shared my stash of lucky pigs with some students today, and many of them declared them the “best cookies they’ve ever had!” (Although some did put them second or third on their list after their parents’ chocolate chip cookies.) They also immediately declared that they want to read the book as soon as it ends up in the classroom library. I’m so excited that this is the start of a new series!
This isn't the first time I've dabbled in recipes that are included in books! Check out my "Top Ten Bookish Treats" post with librarian Crystal Brunelle on Nerdy Book Club from 2014.
About the Author
Anna Meriano grew up in Houston, Texas, with an older brother and a younger brother but (tragically) no sisters. She graduated from Rice University with a degree in English and earned her MFA in creative writing with an emphasis on writing for children from the New School in New York. She has taught creative writing and high school English and works as a writing tutor. Anna likes reading, knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and ASL. Anna still lives in Houston with her dog, Cisco. Her favorite baked goods are the kind that don’t fly away before you eat them.
Read a fun interview with Anna Mariano on Barnes & Noble's site...
And check out the other two stops on the Blog Tour!
1/21 Nerdy Book Club "COCO, THE FIRST RULE OF PUNK, AND EVERY MEXICAN (AMERICAN) STORY OUT THERE BY ANNA MERIANO" -- read about her concerns that this story "had already been told" and how she realized that her novel was definitely an important addition.
1/22 Bluestocking Thinking -- with the chance to WIN a copy of the book!
** I received an advanced copy of the book to read from the publisher, with no strings attached. I was happy to provide this review for a book I loved! **