Friday, April 7, 2017

Book review - Rooting for Rafael Rosales

Title: Rooting for Rafael Rosales
Author: Kurtis Scaletta
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
                      The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
So much to love

Summary (provided by publisher): Rafael has dreams. Every chance he gets he plays in the street games trying to build his skills, get noticed by scouts, and—someday—play Major League Baseball. Maya has worries. The bees are dying all over the world, and the company her father works for is responsible, making products that harm the environment. Follow Rafael and Maya in a story that shifts back and forth in time and place, from Rafael’s neighborhood in the Dominican Republic to present-day Minnesota, where Maya and her sister are following Rafael’s first year in the minor leagues. In their own ways, Maya and Rafael search for hope, face difficult choices, and learn a secret—the same secret—that forever changes how they see the world.

My opinion: If you had told me that one book could make me care about bees, business ethics, the Dominican Republic, and the politics of baseball I'd have laughed. But Scaletta has put together a pretty remarkable story here. What strikes me most is that it's about caring - caring about people, the environment, and that hard to define "right thing". It draws a line between legal and right and asks the reader to consider complicated moral issues. These are big questions for a middle grade novel and Scaletta doesn't really try to answer them, only to get kids thinking about them, which is far more important to my mind. This a great book to discuss with a group.

More information: Rooting for Rafael Rosales releases April 25.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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