Solimar : The Sword of Monarchs
"I advise you to tell no one about the gift unless you trust them implicitly."
Ever since Solimar was a little girl, she has gone to the ouamel forest bordering her kingdom to observe the monarch butterflies during their migration, but always from a safe distance. Now, on the brink of her quinceañera and her official coronation, Solimar crosses the dangerous creek to sit among the butterflies. There, a mysterious event gives her a gift and a burden--the responsibility to protect the young and weak butterflies with her magical rebozo, or silk shawl.
Solimar is committed to fulfilling her role, and has a plan that might have worked. But when her father, the king, and her brother, the prince, leave on an expedition, a neighboring king overthrows the kingdom and holds everyone left in the village hostage. It takes all of Solimar's courage to escape and then embark on a dangerous journey to save her kingdom, but she's not alone. Her pet bird, Lázaro, the butterflies she protects, and a magical rag doll, Zarita, are with her. Then, at a precarious moment, she meets a river boy who knows the rapids.
Even with help, can Solimar save her family, the kingdom, and the future of the monarchs from a greedy king?
Middle-grade fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, will find a new Mexican heroine to love in Solimar and a fresh, magical story!
Pam Muñoz Ryan is a New York Times bestselling author and U.S. nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. She has written over forty books, including Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León, Riding Freedom, Paint the Wind, The Dreamer, and Echo, a Newbery Honor book and the recipient of the Kirkus Prize. She is the author recipient of the National Education Association’s Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for Multicultural Literature, and is twice the recipient of the Pura Belpré Medal and the Willa Cather Award. Other honors include the PEN USA Award, the Américas Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, and the Orbis Pictus Award. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, but now lives near San Diego with her family. Many of her stories reflect her half-Mexican heritage
Award-winning author Ryan has masterfully crafted a story using cultural elements from Mexico with a generous sprinkling of magic. In this story of courage, determination, and ingenuity, readers will cheer on Solimar in her arduous journey to save what is near and dear to her heart.—Booklist
Full of energy and egalitarian ideas, Solimar gently but firmly resists some aspects of San Gregorio’s gender roles while honoring the kingdom’s traditions and protecting its ecological wonders...Ryan emphasizes cooperation and mutual assistance among individuals and communities; both Solimar and her kingdom are ultimately stronger for the friendships they forge.—BCCB
The story is rich with vibrant imagery, suspense, and humor...Muñoz Ryan has given readers a strong and appealing Latinx heroine, while weaving in beautiful elements of culture, ancestry, family values, and gender equality.—School Library Journal
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