Reviewed by Jessica Walsh
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Her last name may mean “kings,” but Ana María Reyes REALLY does not live in a castle. Rather, she’s stuck in a tiny apartment with two parents (way too loveydovey), three sisters (way too dramatic), everyone’s friends (way too often), and a piano (which she never gets to practice). And when her parents announce a new baby is coming, that means they’ll have even less time for Ana María.
Then she hears about the Eleanor School, New York City’s best private academy. If Ana María can win a scholarship, she’ll be able to get out of her Washington Heights neighborhood school and achieve the education she’s longed for. To stand out, she’ll need to nail her piano piece at the upcoming city showcase, which means she has to practice through her sisters’ hijinks, the neighbors’ visits, a family trip to the Dominican Republic . . . right up until the baby’s birth! But some new friends and honest conversations help her figure out what truly matters and know that she can succeed no matter what.
Ana María Reyes may not be royal, but she’s certain to come out on top.
MY TWO CENTS: Ana María (Anamay to her family) is a 6th-grader, living in a two-bedroom apartment with Mami and Papi, her older sister Gracie (8th grade), and younger sisters Rosie (6) and Connie (3). With barely enough time and space to practice her beloved piano to prepare for her Lincoln Center performance, Anamay is less than excited when Mami and Papi announce that a new baby is expected to arrive in December.
It’s no surprise that Ana María doesn’t feel seen or appreciated at home until Tía Nona comes from the Dominican Republic to visit. Tía Nona knows just how to make Anamay feel special with regular phone calls and praise for her piano-playing successes. When Tía Nona announces that she is getting married in the Dominican Republic, Papi quickly declares that they can’t afford to pay for everyone to attend. But with a little convincing from Ana María, and a financial intervention from Tía Nona, the Reyes family soon finds themselves preparing for the big trip and the big day. Continue reading.
Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos
Published by Lee & Low Books on 2018
Reading Level: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
Review Source: Latinx in Kid Lit
Buy at Powell's Books
Publisher's Synopsis: With a new sibling (her fourth) on the way and a big piano recital on the horizon, Dominican-American Ana María Reyes tries to win a scholarship to a New York City private school.