Reviews of the 2022 Pura Belpré YA Award Winners


How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
High School    Simon    432 pp.    g
8/21    978-1-5344-4866-7    $19.99








Honor Books

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
by Jonny Garza Villa
High School    Amazon/Skyscape    354 pp.    g
6/21    9781542027052    $16.99








Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
by Laekan Zea Kemp
High School    Little, Brown    352 pp.    g
4/21    978-0-316-46027-9    $17.99








Where I Belong
by Marcia Argueta Mickelson
High School    Carolrhoda Lab    264 pp.    g
9/21    978-1-5415-9797-6    $18.99

Millie Vargas is a standout high school senior in Corpus Christi, Texas, whose family came to the United States from Guatemala as asylum seekers when she was a baby; she cares for her three younger siblings while her widowed mother works as a housekeeper. Millie is now a citizen, but her world is turned upside down when her mother’s employer, who is running for U.S. Senate, outs Millie’s previously undocumented status to the media while stating his case for supporting immigration. This revelation makes the Vargas family a target of xenophobic actions, with tragic results. Mickelson’s novel explores the devastating effect that a seemingly inconsequential action, done for political gain, can have. Millie confronts situations that would be difficult for even the most resilient of adults to face, and she must decide whether to shield herself and her family from further attacks or accept heavy responsibility and public scrutiny as an advocate for immigrants who do not have the benefit of the protections she holds as a citizen. The reader is drawn into Millie’s heartbreaking inner monologue as the story pointedly cultivates informed empathy for the diversity of immigrant experiences while emphasizing the importance of humility for those who stand as allies. NICHOLAS A. BROWN

From the January/February 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Read reviews of the 2022 Pura Belpré Author Awards here and of the 2022 Pura Belpré Illustrator Awards here. For more, click on the tag ALA LibLearnX 2022.

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