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Sing It Like Celia (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Reading Sing It Like Celia is like opening Russian Nesting Dolls, each doll revealing a new person who helps Salva find her own voice and discover a community in which she can shine. From her estranged investigative reporter dad to Maj, a new best friend who stands by Salva through it all, to a mysterious new campground resident with a beautiful voice and wisdom to share, to a family struggling against their mother’s incarceration for being undocumented, and even her own mami whose secrets endanger Salva’s sense of stability. Through it all, Salva has Celia Cruz who her mami says, “sang big so life wouldn’t make her small.” This is an incredible story of creating community through love and kindness.

— From Linda's Kids Picks


Perfect for fans of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Merci Suárez Changes Gears, Sing It Like Celia is a revelatory story about a Mexican American girl who finds her voice and herself with the help of her role model and icon, Celia Cruz.

Twelve-year-old Salva Sanchez has always been a fan of Celia Cruz, also known as “the queen of salsa.” Her love of Celia stems from her mother, who leaves Salva without explanation one awful day. Now Salva is stuck with her investigative journalist father in an RV campground. In the middle of nowhere.

As Salva acclimates to her new environment and desperately tries to figure out why her mother left, she befriends a posse of campground kids who have started a band. When the kids discover that Salva has an amazing singing voice, they convince her to join their group. Soon, Salva learns how to find her voice—and herself—with the help of her newfound friends, her dad, and the one and only Celia Cruz.

About the Author

Mónica Mancillas based her debut middle-grade novel on her own childhood experiences and those of her beloved sister, who shares her love of music and will someday take the world by storm. Mónica received her BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley before pursuing a decade-long career in the recording industry. She currently teaches piano in Burbank, California, where she resides with her husband and daughter. Her previous work includes Mariana and Her Familia, The Worry Balloon, and How to Speak in Spanglish. Find out more about Mónica at

Praise For…

"A tender coming-of-age story about kindness, courage, and community." —Kirkus Reviews

"Mancillas handles the difficult topic of a parent who is incarcerated with care. . .an uplifting exploration of family and friendship, mental health, and finding one’s place." —Horn Book

"¡Azúcar!” Middle-grade readers will sing after reading this uplifting tale of music and friendship." —Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593659304
ISBN-10: 0593659309
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English