Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chicanonautica: Springtime in Arizona

by Ernest Hogan 

It's springtime in Arizona. The temperature in more like early summer elsewhere. Lizards with brand-new neon racing stripes skitter across the desert in search of mates. The sunlight is rich and intense and makes the cactus blooms and wildflowers look gorgeous.

And I've got “Springtime for Hitler” for an earworm. Politics will do that to you.

Maybe it was seeing as much as I could stand of Donald Trump's speech in Fountain Hills. Not stopped by protesters blocking the highway, he did a serious fascist rap in front of a blond family in dark clothes and sunglasses that looked like models hired to represent the elegant New Nazis. It was like a scene from Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. I could only take it for a few minutes.

Fountain Hills is a town full of expensive homes, and people who are either rich or in debt up to their eyeballs pretending to be. It's named for what was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest fountain in the world, that wastes water in the desert to this day. I was sweeping the floor of an expensive house there when I got the idea for High Aztech.

Then came the day of the primary election. There has been a polling station in the library where I work, but not this time. I figured it would be a quiet day instead of election craziness, but I was wrong. Clerks spent a lot of time giving out directions to the nearest polling stations. Horror stories about long lines came in, a lot of them. Some people were mad about not being able to vote. The word “disaster” came up.

I found myself wondering . . . “Hmm, could it be that the powers that be in Arizona felt it was in their best interest if not so many people voted?”

Then it hit the news: Voters in some places had to wait over five hours “particularly in Maricopa County where Recorder Helen Purcell, a Republican, was responsible for the reduction in the number of polls from 200 in 2012 to just 60.” Which meant that each station had to serve “an average of over 20,000 voters.” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, for a Department of Justice investigation.

It's always been hard to vote in Arizona. They keep moving the polling stations, and giving you grief if you show up at the wrong one. I once saw a Native American woman treated like a criminal for that mistake.

This time a whole lot people were being treated that way.

At least the flowers are pretty. But it's getting hotter. I wonder how hot it will be in November?

And I can't seem to get “Springtime for Hitler” out of my head.

Ernest Hogan is the author of High Aztech. He lives in Arizona and mails in his early ballot as soon as possible.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Thunder Boy Jr.

Written by Sherman Alexie
Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

  •             Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  •             Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  •             Hardcover: 40 pages
  •             Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2016)
  •             Language: English
  •             ISBN-10: 0316013722
  •             ISBN-13: 978-0316013727

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie's lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales's striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.


* "An enchanting and humorous picture book....This has all of the qualities of a classic story like Goodnight Moon and is destined to be a modern classic, with youngsters wanting repeated readings."School Library Journal, starred review

* "Even if little one don't pick up on the cultural significance, they'll be entranced by the brilliant illustrations and Thunder Boy's rollicking determination to branch out on his own."Booklist, starred review

* "Echoes of Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian resonate in this vibrant first-person tale....Thunder Boy's energy is irresistible, as is this expansive portrait of a Native American family."Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Despite the dad-pleasing message, the book is too funny and real to veer into parental self-congratulation, and Morales's illustrations give great life and specificity to Thunder Boy's Lightning's family."Horn Book, starred review

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Enfrijoladas: Potluck, Company, or Everyday

Michael Sedano

It was the department party for the TAs. A pot luck. The department would supply the beverages, the TAs brought the food. One of the TAs came up to me and, in a gesture of camaraderie, warned "Watch out for the enchilados, they're really hot."

The myth of Mexican food had struck again. The dish prepared by The Gluten-free Chicano is anything but chiloso. Some tastebuds are more sensitive than others, and that particular crowd, it turned out, was typical of many. "Mexican food" means burn your mouth delicious.

By now, most diners understand "Mexican food" doesn't have to start out chiloso, but that's always an option, either in the preparation or serving a hot salsa on the side.

The enfrijolada can be made really hot by adding any number of chiles to the mix. Serving a pot luck or dinner crowd, the Gluten-free Chicano tones down the fire.

Pre-heat the oven to 350º.

Cube chicken meat (the Gluten-free Chicano used a COSTCO roasted chicken and removed the breasts for this dish).

Mince a medium-sized onion, six or eight branches of cilantro, a couple teeth of garlic.

Add ⅓ can of diced tomatoes.

You can use black olives but the Gluten-free Chicano wanted a more piquant flavor so this preparation added a dozen pimiento-stuffed green olives.

If serving people with appreciative taste buds, finely mince two serrano chiles.

Add a cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Fill generously.

Soften a good quality corn tortilla in hot olive oil in a small frying pan. The Gluten-free Chicano prefers Diana's brand of extra large tortilla de maíz. The manufacturer uses only corn, lime, and water, no xanthan gum and no additives.

Using tongs, dip the first tortilla on both sides until it is flexible. Transfer that to a plate. Dip the next tortillas on one side, and place the oiled side up on top of the stack.

The tortillas will cool enough to roll by hand.

Add a large pinch of filling and spread it across a softened tortilla. (You can soften the tortillas in a microwave oven. Wrap them in a dish towel and microwave for 30 seconds on high. But work quickly because microwaving makes them sticky as they cool).

Roll into a tight bundle
Roll the tortilla around the filling, packing it toward the edge. Slide it over and roll another one.

Repeat this until the baking dish is filled. If you run out of space while rolling, just roll on top of the done ones.

Fill the baking dish snugly
Prepare the frijoles. If you like the consistency of fried beans, make them a bit watery so they spread easily across the rolled surfaces.

Top with left-over stuffing
More than likely, you'll have some chicken remaining. Save that for tacos, or for a deluxe dish, spread the tops of the enchiladas with the mixture.

Add a layer of beans; fried or de la olla.
These are frijoles de la olla, straight from the refrigerator.

Slather sour cream or crema mexicana across the surface
Use a spatula or a fork to spread a layer of crema across the top.

Garnish with shredded cheese
Garnish with shredded cheese. Here you can get fancy and add queso fresco crumbles.

Set the timer for 45 minutes if using cold ingredients, 30 if using warm filling.

There are two schools of thought on service. I prefer to find the open-ends and spatula a single enfrijolada to each plate  (or two for larger appetites). You can cut through the top like a casserole and serve a 4" square.

Bake. Note the open ends for serving

Enfrijoladas is a low-cost, highly nutritious, and gluten-free dish. Beware "gourmet" tortillas as the "gourmet" part means some menacing industrial entity has added wheat to the masa.

A crisp green salad, a hearty red wine, or lots of Bard's Gluten-free beer will make the meal a major hit.

"Damn," one of the TAs said, pushing away from the table to get seconds, "I didn't know Mexican food could be so delicious! I'm sure glad you're in the program."

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Coiled Serpent: An Interview with the Poetry Anthology’s Creators

As already discussed here on La Bloga in a lovely review by Olga García Echeverría, Tía Chucha Press will publish this week a landmark poetry anthology, The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles. I am blessed to be one of the editors of this new book along with the very talented Neelanjana Banerjee and Ruben J. Rodriguez. The Coiled Serpent includes a powerful, eloquent introduction by the press’s founder, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez. Of course, without the vision and poetic reach of Luis, this anthology would not have been born.

Of this anthology, Ohio State Professor Frederick Luis Aldama observes: “The dexterous hands of this high-octane trio of editors pull together in one exquisite volume LA’s finest of polymorphous polyglot poetic voices. The 150-plus poets disparately drop us into the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch of our planet’s capital: the megalopolis of LA with its hybrid, polylingual, and interstitial peoples. As we brush up with and enter into the lives of the young and old, workers and artists, border crossers and code-shifters…. Persians, Asians, Latinos, African Americans, and all sorts in between, great seismic quakes of creativity invite us to feel life at its most sand-dirt blasting harshness as well as its most soothing and sweet. With The Coiled Serpent we feel the cyclonic force of poetic talent at the epicenter of change in the making of tomorrow’s planetary republic of letters.”

The Coiled Serpent will have its formal release event on March 30 at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles the week of AWP’s annual conference (more on the conference below).

In honor of The Coiled Serpent’s release, I posed two questions to Neelanjana Banerjee, Ruben J. Rodriguez and Luis J. Rodriguez. Here are their responses:

Which poems particularly touched you and why?

NEELANJANA BANERJEE: There were so many poems that touched me in this anthology. As an editor, anthology work is always about the lovely surprise of discovering new writers through the submission process and the joy of curating writers that you admire. In terms of the surprise, one of my favorite poets that I discovered through the anthology process was Yago S. Cura, who writes a series of LA Country Jail Sonnets, which come from his time as a teacher there. Of the poets whose work I was already aware of, I was especially moved by Xochitl Bermejo’s work about Chavez Ravine, and also her “The Boys of Summer” which draws connections between young people globally—from LA to Palestine. And I was proud to bring writers like the amazing Douglas Kearny to the anthology, since he is one of the poets putting LA on the map as a center for creative work right now.
Neelanjana Banerjee 

RUBEN J. RODRIGUEZ: Of the many poems about earthquakes that we received for this anthology, “The Valley and Family Tectonic” by Haley Laningham stands out to me as a particularly powerful one. Laningham equates tectonic shifts to familial breakdowns, such that both an earthquake and a father’s hand slamming an alarm clock can “halt the orbit of breaths through the rooms and rattle the whole home.” As a child there is no difference between the literal ruptures that occur underground and the emotional quakes that occur within—both shift one’s world. And Laningham’s piece, with a backdrop of the Northridge earthquake of ‘94, takes me back to the earth-shattering fears of childhood: of a father’s impending anger, of home’s ever-receding comfort, of two parents drifting apart. Many in L.A. share these fears—of cracks in soil as well as families—and by the end of the poem, Laningham touches upon how these fears can bring the fearful together as much as tear them apart. For that, I find Laningham’s poem to be a poignant reminder of all the various “quakes and shifts of Los Angeles”—both explicit and subdued.

Through extensive free-associative lines, from the abstract, “before no one answered the question,” to the deeply personal, “before somebody took my sister’s fa-sol-la and made it a nightmare,” Gail Wronsky’s “Dolphins are People, Too” takes the reader back through deep time with grace and beauty. Thus it lingers on my mind. It is a piece that resonates with its blunt displays of historical atrocities, accomplishments, trivialities, and platitudes, listed back-to-back as if in a rush to a punchline. By the time the punchline strikes it elicits less a chuckle than a breather, a pause to reflect on the vastness of all that came before (within the poem and without).
Ruben J. Rodriguez

LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ: All the poems work in their own way. I love the ones with a twist in the verse, a word that springs out of common language, an arresting image. I don’t want to say if any are better than others, but just contemplate these lines: “You carried the night with you...,” “Her nasty field of energy was the polar opposite of the magnanimous blind teenagers. I left it alone but it reminded me that the city is also filled with sour souls. The range is infinite in the urban electromagnetic spectrum,” “Past the neon signs raw as splinters,” “All nerve, this city / ferocious, it chews / and spits out / exhales blue / smoke and steel / and I am like this city / edging toward oblivion....” “We are 99 percent in this world off-kilter / more than flies drawn to sugar / more than this constant running, / more than fears driving men to cars.” “Large tokes and small conversation,” “Dive into my bones….”

I can go on and on. Lines that wake up the sleeper, forcing synapse surges in the brain; lines that re-imagine a city block, a bleeding sunset, an earthquake morning.

This is Los Angeles, in the only way this city can speak, and also about the multitude of voices, each in their own style, with their own music, arising from their own abysses of thoughts and feelings. From William Archila’s “Three Minutes with Mingus” to Tina Yang’s “Why My Mother, the Bald-headed Nun, Rejected Me” you know you have walked into a dreamscape of concrete, palm trees, and ghetto birds. This anthology is about the L.A. that erupts forth every day, every hour, yet only striding the foam and lava stones of its settling magma. Yes, we need more poetry, more anthologies, more Los Angeles. As co-editor Ruben Rodriguez points out, there can never be enough of these.
Luis J. Rodriguez

In your estimation, what is the importance of this anthology?

NEELANJANA BANERJEE: It is interesting to be at work editing a poetry anthology in the 21st century, to think of those hours we spent reading these poems last summer, that we spent discussing them—and now, in the Spring, there is an election going on that seems deafening, which is churning so much hate and anger. Right now, The Coiled Serpent anthology seems important in relation to all that noise, in relation to the idea that possible future leaders of this country are talking about closing borders and deporting Muslims. Los Angeles itself seems important in relation to all that noise—the diversity here, this city of immigrants and visionaries and dreamers and lost dreams, and as Luis puts it, of multiple uprisings. So, to be able to put together all these voices of Los Angeles, what a salve to the violence being spewed in this election. I think a poetry anthology is important as a snapshot of people, ideas, images, thoughts, and dreams of a city’s poets, and that is what this anthology gives us at this moment.

RUBEN J. RODRIGUEZ: Because sometimes the traffic is too much to go out and we just wanna sit away from a screen—to have a book in hand that brims with a plethora of voices, that neither conforms nor necessarily comforts, that speaks of L.A. from L.A. It is necessary to anthologize the poetry of this city and to do so often. Poetry is all-access story-telling without the restrictive syntax of prose. In just a few lines a poem can incite and frustrate and inspire and illuminate—but these poems do not silence, they do not ignore. And so the more anthologies the better. There aren’t enough pages in any one book to encapsulate the richness of this city.

LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ: Los Angeles is a largely made-up city—Hollywood lights, flat-head skyscrapers, billboard limbo. More images and sounds of L.A. have entered the homes, movies houses, and psyches of most people in the world than any other city. But, what of its multi-layered stories, its ardor, its poetry? That’s why we have to fill in the many sides of the mismatched L.A. puzzle.

This is riot town after all. It’s taco trucks, Venice shore bikers, Valley strip malls, Century City towers, Bel-Air opulence, and Skid Row squalor. It’s the iconic Watts Towers, nowhere in the world is there such structures, and Mariachi Plaza. It’s San Pedro and Long Beach ports, which combined does more business than any other U.S. harbor. It’s Griffith Park Observatory and crumbling Hollywood sign; its well toned and tanned walks near rising tides and sleeping broken next to graffiti-scarred concrete river slopes; it’s murals on the walls of federal housing projects and Asian lettering on cluttered business signs. Where cars are the medium and dried out hills the landscape. It’s low riders, leather-clad bikers, skaters, surfers, Mexica dancers, Korean drummers; it’s Thai food palaces, pupusa joints, the best chili dogs in the world and, arguably, the best hamburgers (In-And-Out, anybody?).

What poems can possibly sing such a city? The Coiled Serpent is our contribution to that question. The Coiled Serpent touches the heart of all this, yet also skims the dense surfaces.



We here in Los Angeles are delighted that the annual AWP Conference & Bookfair will be held this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center and JW Marriott. Many of us will be participating. You may check out the schedule to find your favorite authors and topics (I will be moderating a Latinos in Lotusland panel and participate on a Los Angeles magical realism panel, as well). There are also wonderful offsite events including the Con Tinta Pachanga & Award Ceremony. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

This week on my storytelling website, Tell Your True Tale, a very cool story by Jose Nuñez, a middle-school teacher in Huntington Park, about the street he grew up on in Watts one night.

Read "A Walk Up The Street"....

Great stuff! Share it if you like it.

Funeral in Del Rio, Texas

Melinda Palacio

While I am not ready to write about the end to my grandmother's difficult transition. As many have expressed, the truth is I am glad I was with her until the end. She took her last breath with me by her side. My gratitude to Edna and Bonnie from Hospice for also being at my grandmother's house during her final hours last Thursday. Thank you to everyone following my posts and your expressions condolences; I appreciate your kind thoughts and words.

For previous posts on this series, read Lessons in Dying from March 11 on La Bloga.

Steve took this picture of me in front of San Felipe Church.

Four uncles and two cousins serve as pallbearers

The family plot in San Felipe Cemetery. My grandmother always said there is room for more.

In the end, her casket.

My uncle Raymond is the last of his brothers to leave the cemetery. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

40 years ago...

To continue my post from 2 weeks ago...

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Argentina. In 1976, a junta formed by commanders of the three branches of the Argentine military suspended constitutional order and instituted a government based on state violence and terror. This so-called "Proceso de Reorganización Nacional" (Process of National Reorganization) was hailed as a set of necessary measures to bring order and stability to a nation in crisis. The junta claimed itself as chief defender of Argentina's national and cultural interests, which they defined as conservative and Christian. It was those in power who defined their enemies as "subversive"--a wide term that encompassed not only those belonging to armed militant groups, but anyone whose ideas were critical of the regime or whose field of study or work was connected to social justice:

“A terrorist is not only someone with a weapon or a bomb, but anyone who spreads ideas which are contrary to our Western and Christian civilization.”  -General Videla

Today, we remember the 30,000 desaparecidos and honor their legacy by recognizing their activism, their voices of dissent in the presence of oppression.

We must also remember that, when the military took over on March 24, 1976, many Argentines sighed with relief. In their eyes, the new government would finally restore law and order and everything would be wonderful again.

“It wasn’t people who disappeared, but subversives.”  
-General Ramon Camps 

UPDATE- Open Letter to President Obama: You can read here the open letter to President Obama signed by professors of Argentine studies in the U.S. and abroad. The letter urged President Obama to meet with representatives of human rights organizations during his visit to Argentina and to help declassify documents that could shed light on crimes committed during the Proceso. In response to repeated requests from activists and human rights organizations, Obama's office announced last week that it would move to declassify U.S. military and intelligence records related to Argentina's military dictatorship.

LECTURE- I'll be at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík next week to speak about "Memorializing Disappearance in Argentina through Literary Testimonies" (Wednesday, 3/30). For more info:

This Friday at the Bildner Center (NYC)
Politics and Aesthetics: Cuban Artists and Intellectuals, 1920-1952 
Politics and Aesthetics: Cuban Artists and Intellectuals, 1920-1952 - See more at:

March 25, 2016: 4:00 PM-6:00 PM
365 Fifth Avenue Room# 9204

Between the Street and the Ivory Tower: Cuban Artists and their Politics, 1940-1952.
Alejandro Anreus, William Paterson University
What were the politics of Cuba’s visual artists during the nation’s most democratic years? These varied from the leftwing nationalism of the 1920s generation to the apolitical elitism of the Orígenes group during the 1940s. What did the artists associated with Nuestro Tiempo stood for in reaction to the two previous generations? And how did they react to the end of constitutional democracy with Batista’s coup? These and other issues will be juxtaposed with definitions of pictorial styles and the sense of Cuban identity.

'Social' in Context: 1916-1938
Ana María Hernández, LaGuardia Community College
The revista Social, founded in 1916 by Conrado Massaguer, had harbored ambiguous aims from the start. On the one hand, it catered to the desire for prominence of the emergent Cuban middle and upper classes that had become enriched as a result of the rise in the price of sugar after World War I. On the other, following the urgings of Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring, director of the literary section of the magazine until its demise in 1938, it advanced criteria and ideologies that undermined the hegemony of new elites. Social was a unique blend of artistic vanguard and banality that encompassed social chronicle, fashion, film reviews, various kinds of advertisements, and some of the best poems and stories of its generation, as well as critical essays on art, music and architecture. This introduction creates a context for the visual and textual images to be presented by Vicki Gold Levi.

Art Deco in Cuba
Vicki Gold Levi, collector, curator and author, New York
Review of some of the iconic Art Deco graphics that appeared in magazines, brochures and advertising, including the masterful works of Conrado Massaguer.

Race, Art, and Social Thought in the Cuban Republic* (tentative title)
Mario Valero, Fashion Institute of Technology
Considering Cuban Counterpoint (1940) as a turning point in Fernando Ortiz’s intellectual career, I would argue that some of Ortiz theoretical principles governing his earlier criminological research on population control, particularly those works aimed to produce a typology of Cuban crime, would connect with his later anthropological work. Cultural specificities that earlier stood up for strictly criminological material began in the 1940’s to be presented as a source for cultural originality and nationalistic pride. As one of the leading figures of the “Negritude” movement in Cuba, Ortiz promoted afro-Cuban cultural production as a means of social integration, rather than racial difference. Following this theoretical avenue, Ortiz insisted on a “race-less” Cuban society, where racial differences would be reset through cultural features.

Moderator: Ana María Hernández, LaGuardia Community College (to be confirmed)

LOOKING AHEAD Houston: April 27, 2016

Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say
Makes History While We Save History #NP18

HOUSTON, TX - March 21, 2016 - As Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say (NP) turns 18, it is not only saving history by making sure that the voice of the Latino community is heard, NP is also making History because the NP papers are now collected at the Houston Public Library.

"We may be the only Chican@, Latin@ literary group in the nation that can ensure that books by and about Latino authors are taught in the classroom, are discussed on the air, and are preserved in the library for future readers and scholars-all in the same day," said NP founder, writer, activist, and professor Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante. "We are also blessed with the knowledge that we are capable of this and the drive to do even more."

The Nuestra Palabra Collection is housed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, part of the Special Collections Division of the Houston Public Library System. The documents, newspapers and photographs in this collection tell the story of a Latino literary movement that began in Houston, Texas in 1998. Visit the Texas Room of the Julia Ideson Building at 550 McKinney Street to view the Nuestra Palabra Collection and other Hispanic Archival Collections. The Texas Room is open Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 10am to 6pm, Wednesdays 10am-8pm, and Saturdays 10am-5pm.

Celebrate the 18th anniversary of Nuestra Palabra.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 6pm - 8pm
Talento Bilingue de Houston 333. S. Jensen.
Tickets available at
$25 at the door. $20 in advance.
$50 SuperTickets include guaranteed front row or reserved seating &
copies of NP author books.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Marisol McDonald and the Monster / Marisol McDonald y el monstruo

By Monica Brown
Illustrated by Sara Palacios

  •             Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  •             Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  •             Series: Marisol McDonald
  •             Hardcover: 32 pages
  •             Publisher: Children's Book Press (CA) (May 15, 2016)
  •             Language: Spanish
  •             ISBN-10: 0892393262
  •             ISBN-13: 978-0892393268

Marisol McDonald loves words that begin with the letter m—except the word monster. Monsters are scary, with big eyes, wild fur, pointy claws, and sharp teeth. One night, when Marisol hears loud bumps under her bed, she is immediately convinced that a monster is making the noise. Checking under the bed does not reveal a monster, but night after night, the bumps continue. When the bumps become especially loud one night, Marisol bravely leads the charge downstairs to find the cause. Turns out the monster making noise under Marisol’s bed does have eyes and fur and teeth, but it isn’t scary at all. It’s her dog, Kitty, playing ball against the kitchen wall.

Monica Brown and Sara Palacios once again bring Marisol McDonald to life. With her orange-red hair, golden-brown skin, and endearing individuality, Peruvian-Scottish-American Marisol learns to face her fears in this empowering story of harnessing the imagination and conquering nighttime monsters.

Marisol McDonald's Books 

Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash / 
Marisol McDonald y la fiesta sin igual

Marisol is turning eight, and it’s time to plan a birthday party that will be fabulous, marvelous, and divine. She also hopes that Abuelita, who lives far away in Peru, will be able to come to the celebration.

At the party store, Marisol can’t decide what kind of party to have. There are so many choices, but everything in the store matches! Nothing seems right for soccer, pirate, princess, unicorn-loving Marisol. Finally she comes up with just the right idea, and when her friends arrive for her Clash Bash birthday, a big surprise awaits. But in a heartwarming turn of events, Marisol gets the biggest surprise of all—a visit from Abuelita via computer.

In this delightful story told in English and Spanish, author Monica Brown and illustrator Sara Palacios once again bring the irrepressible Marisol McDonald to life. With her bright red hair, golden brown skin, mismatched outfits, and endearing individuality, this free-spirited Peruvian-Scottish-American girl is headed straight into the hearts of young readers everywhere.

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match / 
Marisol McDonald no combina

Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and nut-brown skin. Polka dots and stripes are her favorite combination. She prefers peanut butter and jelly burritos in her lunch box. To Marisol, these seemingly mismatched things make perfect sense together.

Other people wrinkle their nose in confusion at Marisol—can’t she just choose one or the other? Try as she might, in a world where everyone tries to put this biracial, Peruvian-Scottish-American girl into a box, Marisol McDonald doesn’t match. And that’s just fine with her.

A mestiza Peruvian American of European, Jewish, and Amerindian heritage, renowned author Monica Brown wrote this lively story to bring her own experience of being mismatched to life. Her buoyant prose is perfectly matched by Sara Palacios’ mixed media illustrations.