Jade didn’t want to leave Chicago and her friends and her abuela, but Mom’s new job with TV news in Atlanta is a big deal.
Thankfully, the first person she meets at private school is Chloe who explains things and introduces her to other 8th graders.
Little sister Katerina favors their Mexican-American mom, while Jade got her blonde hair and freckles from Dad, the professional gardener.
Walking the woodland path home from school, Jade meets an old man who tells stories like Abuela, about the early people of Mexico. Itztli’s tales fuel Jade’s drawings, moving her beyond pencil and notebook paper to vivid colors and deepest shadows that reflect their history and drama.
Chloe encourages her to practice with the cross-country runners, and Jade is thrilled to qualify for the team! If only the young woman could be confident about flirting and wearing makeup like her friends…
When Abuela must come stay with them, Jade learns more of their family history, painting the stories like Itztli does. Did her grandmother see animals in the obsidian mirror like Mom did? What will Jade glimpse there now?
Did Itztli look like a jaguar when she first saw him?
Will she see Chloe’s cute big brother at the high school during cross-country practice?
Wait, Mom is on TV reporting from New York City, where planes just flew into the Twin Towers…
This novel of magical realism starts in 2001, yet goes far back into ancient history with Itztli’s vivid stories as strong as oak trees, as nourishing as corn.
What story from your family starts furthest from where you are now?