Fans of Latinx fiction might crave more Puerto Rican culture in this poignant story of tween friendship and adjusting to life in a new land. Though there's poetry in Silver Meadows Summer -- beautiful lines like "Caminante, no hay camino" ("Traveler, there is no path"), by Spanish poet Antonio Machado -- the person who delivers the lines, Carolina's Papi, drifts in and out of the story like a spirit. If Papi had helped Carolina find her own path, had been really engaged with her while she struggles to fit into the air-conditioned house in rural upstate New York, the poetry might find more life in the story.
Carolina's attraction to art inspires her to connect with a local girl named Jennifer, whose father is a painter. Caro finds herself enthralled by the artist, but he too drifts out of the picture, a missed opportunity. Kids will relate to Carolina's mother's urgent need to assimilate. But in this story, fitting in means whitewashing the culture shock that the family is feeling after the move. Caro and her father do steal a moment where they share a few words of Spanish, and Carolina helps make a fantastic Puerto Rican tooth fairy called the Ratoncito Pérez, which she sneaks under her brother's bed. Much of the food of the Caribbean, the stories, the colors are missing. But isn't that what happens when one moves? The old symbols, scents, memories, and music fade. If only that vibrancy made more of an appearance in this story before it slipped away.