I’m always good for a compassionate tear-jerker of a story, and Lety Out Loud with its sympathetic characters and focus on abandoned pets blessed me with three separate crying jags.
Lety Muñoz is an ESL student fresh out of fifth grade. She loves putting just the right words together—in Spanish or in English–to get the perfect meaning. Although she’s not very good with English yet.
She also loves animals. When she gets to help out at an animal shelter, she volunteers for the position of “shelter scribe,” writing animal profiles to be posted on social media.
But there’s a problem. Hunter, an arrogant boy in her mainstreamed class, also wants the job. Hunter figures he’s a shoe-in since Lety doesn’t know English as well as he does. However, the veterinarian in charge has them split ten profiles between them. Not satisfied, Hunter challenges Lety to a competition: whoever succeeds in getting all five of their featured pets adopted first, can remain the shelter scribe. The loser scoops dog food.
Both Hunter and Lety work hard to create the best profiles, and as the competition draws to a close, they learn a little more about each other. Lety grows in confidence, and Hunter allows her to glimpse the kind heart under his self-protective armor.
- Angela Cervantes uses several Spanish phrases matched with the English, an excellent way to teach English-speakers a little more of a foreign culture. My favorite: “sueños azules oscuros,” or “deep blue dreams.” Beautiful word picture in either language!
- The book is filled with themes of forgiveness and self-sacrifice. To build a child’s character while reading a great story is the best that any writer can accomplish.
I can’t think of a thing.
- If you wanted to volunteer for a certain job but weren’t sure if you were good enough, would you volunteer anyway or would you look for something you knew you could do, even if it wasn’t as interesting?
- How does Kennedy show support for Lety?
- Do you think the rules of the competition between Hunter and Lety were fair? Why or why not?
- When Hunter is introduced at the beginning of the story, he is full of confidence, convinced that he’s the best man for the of shelter scribe. Did you like him at that point? How did he change by the end? Did you like him once he had changed?
Most kids love animal stories, and they also like rooting for the underdog (pun intended). Lety Out Loud is a sure winner in both categories!