Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

Sourcebooks. Sept. 2021. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728234656.
Gr 5 Up–Set during the Mexican Revolution, mostly during 1913, this book follows Petra and her grandmother, her sister, and her baby brother as they flee the Federales after the burning of their village. Loosely based on the stories from the author’s own family, the novel weaves traditional Mestizo tales and desert knowledge, historical events, and original storytelling. The book is compelling, with well-paced action that flows and keeps readers engaged. The lyrical writing perfectly evokes the loneliness of the desert, the companionship of fellow refugees, and the bravery of Petra. Throughout the journey, Petra struggles to recognize that she is a leader in her family and must choose new paths even while respecting and balancing the place of her grandmother’s traditional knowledge. The conclusion is thrilling, though cheapened slightly as Petra pedantically explains what she has learned. End materials include an author’s note on Dobbs’s own family’s experiences and her research methods, as well as a time line of historical events.
VERDICT This beautifully written and exciting story of a family fleeing during the Mexican revolution offers a new perspective in historical fiction. An excellent addition to all collections.

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