Lety Out Loud

208p. Scholastic. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338159349.
RedReviewStarGr 3–6—Cervantes returns to the Furry Friends Animal Shelter (the setting of Gaby, Lost and Found) in this new title. Ever since she moved to Kansas from Tlaquepaque, Mexico, Lety Muñoz has spent her summers at school with the other ELL students working to improve her English; but after finishing fifth grade, she's trying something new and attending a summer camp at the animal shelter. She's immediately drawn to both Spike, a dog she wants to adopt, and the job of shelter scribe, the person who writes profiles of the adoptable dogs and cats for the shelter's website. But Hunter also wants the job, and thinks he can do a much better job than Lety, since she's still learning English while he is already reading and writing at a high school level. Encouraged by their friends, the two end up in a secret competition to determine who gets to be the sole scribe. Lety is an admirable protagonist; she faces challenges, tries new things, and finds her voice. The focus on language, writing, and vocabulary will make this a good fit for a classroom read, and the premise and setting should entice young animal lovers. This novel is also a potential "mirror" book for young immigrants to the U.S. and ELL students, and one that can be an empathy-building "sliding glass door" book for other readers.
VERDICT Compelling and relatable, this is highly recommended for all middle grade collections.

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