Young chocolatier Coco searches for an ancient Amazonian tree on a life-changing, magical trip to Ecuador.
Thirteen-year-old Coco Hidden’s heart hurts. She loves El Corazón, the bean-to-bar chocolate shop her mother owns in the fictional Colorado town of Heartbeat Springs. But ever since Donut Delite opened across the street, business has plummeted so much Coco’s mom may have to close the shop. Meanwhile, Coco’s former best friend, Leo de la Cueva, is ignoring her in favor of “seventh-grade royalty,” and he even competes against her in a dessert contest to win a weeklong trip to the Amazon. Coco wants to win because she’s dreamed repeatedly of a ceiba tree that speaks to her, promising treasure that could save El Corazón. Providentially, they tie for first. When Coco (who’s white but fluent in Spanish) and Leo (who’s of Mexican descent), along with their moms and elderly Spanish friend Gali travel to Ecuador’s rainforest, they stay in a remote Huaorani village, befriend Isa and her family, and discover that the community as well as the ceiba trees are endangered by greedy logging and oil-drilling enterprises. Resau once again blends the magical (the ceiba tree also narrates chapters throughout the story) with the contemporary in this well-researched and beautifully told tale that encourages readers to advocate for Indigenous and environmental causes.
A moving exploration of friendship, activism, and how chocolate makes everything better. (author’s note, language note) (Fiction. 8-13)