Flora la Fresca & the Art of Friendship (Hardcover)
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From an NYT bestselling author comes the first in an illustrated middle grade series about a Panamanian American girl who uses humor and a little mischief to navigate her best friend moving away and her sister’s overbearing and all-consuming quince preparations.
Flora Violeta LeFevre, aka Flora "la Fresca" (so called because she tells it like it is, occasionally to her parents' chagrin) can always count on her best friend Clara Ocampo Londra to turn anything-from a day at the skate park to dreaded Saturday Spanish school into an exciting adventure. But amidst Flora's personal nightmare that is her sister Maylin's never-ending dress try-ons and dance practices for her upcoming quinceañera, news breaks that Clara's moving, and Flora doesn't know how she'll survive without her. The girls quickly roll up their sleeves and use their larger-than-life imaginations to make the most of each passing day together. But things get complicated when Clara moves and starts making new friends, an unlikely alliance blossoms between Flora and a new student, and preparations for Maylin's quince take a disastrous (but hilarious) turn.
About the Author
Veronica Chambers is the editor for Narrative Projects at The New York Times. She is a prolific author, best known for the New York Times bestseller Finish the Fight!, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir Mama's Girl and picture book biographies Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb and Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, she writes often about her Afro-Latina heritage. She speaks, reads, and writes Spanish, but she is truly fluent in Spanglish.
Sujean Rim is the author and illustrator of the beloved Birdie series, Zoogie Boogie Fever!, Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland, and more. She has worked as an illustrator for clients including Tiffany & Co., Target, and the website DailyCandy. Sujean lives in New York with her favorite artist and husband Bob, and their son, Charlie.
*“Chambers places universal friendship trials within the specific joy and beauty of an Afro-Panamanian family, capturing the deep, intense emotions of childhood bonds. Rim’s delightful illustrations punctuate the text and capture the mood of the characters’ journeys. . . . Funny, heartwarming, and sweet.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Pencil-like b&w sketches from Rim pepper vivacious prose by Chambers, punctuating Flora’s moments of elation and sorrow as she works to navigate her shifting relationships. Realistic familial dynamics and a fair amount of tween antics from Flora and company add verve to this warm friendship story.”—Publishers Weekly
“Chambers has captured the many real and raw feelings that a child may experience when a friend is moving. Paired with the splendid illustrations by Rim that enhance the story, this is a delightful look into the special connections one can have with friends and family.”—Booklist
“The girls’ friendship is full of inside jokes and heartwarming anecdotes, and both pals are realistic modern tweens, writing code in Scratch, practicing TikTok dances, and skateboarding. The mix of Spanish and English dialogue between the friends shows their growing Spanish language skills, and their relationships with their Latinx mothers deftly convey the parent/child dynamic of second-generation kids trying to honor their heritage. Having a close friend move away in childhood is a common theme in middle grade and YA lit, and Chambers’ compassionate look at Clara and Flora’s relationship may make the journey more bearable for those facing a similar scenario.”—BCCB