After her father loses his job, 11-year-old Carolina moves with her parents and younger brother, Daniel, from their home in Puerto Rico to upstate New York.
She misses that open, breezy home, the flamboyán tree in the backyard, and the weekly art lessons with Señora Rivón. Carolina can’t seem to relate to her 13-year-old cousin, Gabriela, who is half–Puerto Rican and half-white. Carolina is afraid of losing her Puerto Rican customs, such as leaving Dani’s lost tooth for the Ratoncito Pérez to take instead of the Tooth Fairy. At Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s suggestion, Carolina and Dani join Gabriela at a farm day camp called Silver Meadows. She meets Gabriela’s friends and a girl named Jennifer who is also an artist. A friendship between Jennifer and Carolina blooms, and after Carolina finds a small abandoned cottage, Jennifer and Carolina turn the cabin into their artists’ colony, sneaking off to beautify it and make art there whenever they see the opportunity. The possible closure of the summer camp looms large over the plot; as Carolina strives to find a space for herself in Larksville, she also tries to figure a way to save the beloved summer camp. The poetry of Robert Frost, Luis de Léon, and Antonio Machado provides thematic counterpoint within Otheguy’s approachable, empathetic, third-person narrative.
A warm depiction of family and of standing up for what you believe in. (Fiction. 8-12)