• Alex Lopez

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows

The middle grade genre for young readers is an excellent ground for youths to flourish in realms of imagination and high fantasy. In Charlie Hernandez and the Castle of Bones, Ryan Calejo demonstrates the power of channeling the adventurous spirit of youth and how one's character can grow through the process of undergoing the trails of life. Calejo certainly demonstrated his innate ability to convey a story full of heart where his main protagonist, Charlie Hernandez, wields his cultural identity as a source of strength and pride to fulfill his latest quest to save La Liga.

I absolutely loved the authentic element of Charlie's connection to his grandmother's stories of Hispanic and Latino mythology and the amount of authenticity that was created as a reflection of the author's own experiences. Overall, I found this to be an excellent work full of cultural awareness that will resonate with fans of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull or Obert Skye's Leven Thumps series. The young, and the young at heart, will surely revel in this fantasy adventure that emphasizes cultural connections and embracing the self to overcome all obstacles.

About the Books

Charlie Hernandez and the Castle of Bones

(Charlie Hernández #2)

by Ryan Calejo

Pub. Date: November 12, 2018

Publisher: Aladdin

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 608

Find it:

Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

Inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America, this bold sequel to Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, which Booklist called “a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan” in a starred review, follows Charlie as he continues on his quest to embrace his morphling identity. Charlie Hernandez still likes to think of himself as a normal kid. But what’s normal about being a demon-slaying preteen with an encyclopedic knowledge of Hispanic and Latino mythology who can partially manifest nearly any animal trait found in nature? Well, not much. But, Charlie believes he can get used to this new “normal,” because being able to sprout wings or morph fins is pretty cool. But there is a downside: it means having to constantly watch his back for La Mano Peluda’s sinister schemes. And when the leader of La Liga, the Witch Queen Jo herself, is suddenly kidnapped, Charlie’s sure they’re at it again. Determined to save the queen and keep La Liga’s alliances intact, Charlie and his good friend Violet Rey embark on a perilous journey to track down her captors. As Charlie and Violet are drawn deeper into a world of monstruos and magia they are soon left with more questions than answers—like, why do they keep hearing rumors of dead men walking, and why is Charlie suddenly having visions of an ancient evil: a necromancer priest who’s been dead for more than five centuries? Charlie’s abuela once told him that when dead men walk, the living run in fear. And Charlie’s about to learn the truth of that—the hard way.


Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows

(Charlie Hernández #1)

Author: Ryan Calejo

Pub. Date: October 23, 2018

Publisher: Aladdin

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 330

Find it

Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle,

Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

“This is a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan’s many series, particularly for those eager for mythologies beyond Greek and Roman stories.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A winner for all kids, but it will be especially beloved by Latinx and Hispanic families.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.

About Ryan

Ryan Calejo was born and raised in south Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He’s been invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to. His first novel was Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows.

Simon & Schuster Webpage | Twitter | Goodreads

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