Take a chance?
Stay in the background?
Two years after moving to so-white South Dakota for Dad’s job, their Mexican-American family still faces racism at every turn, including the nosy ladies across the street.
For youngest kid Carlos, it’s been disastrous – his lisp got worse, he’s terrible at PE, and his classmates call him queer and tease him for loving art and fashion.
Luckily, RJ arrives in fifth grade and actually talks to Carlos (without spitballs). Her BMX bike team enters the town charity talent show and invites Carlos to ride with them – once he ditches the training wheels (his balance is just so bad….)
They have big competition – his big sister Marie dazzling with her interpretive dance, middle brother Juan’s astonishing magic act, and a chainsaw-wielding stump carver – plus the yummy biscochito cookies that Mom and the nosy ladies make for the bake sale.
Can Carlos’ bike skills catch up in time?
Will his flair for fashion and sparkles win over the judges?
Will that bully Scott ever quit pushing him down?
This graphic novel has its roots in the artist’s own childhood as a lisping, non-athletic Mexican-American gay kid who didn’t fit in with his South Dakota classmates and found his own happier future in another place.
What act would you perform for a talent show?
Book info: Carlos Gomez Freestyles…Heavy on the Style / written & illustrated by Chuck Gonzales. Reycraft Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.