September 2020, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 256 pp
This free verse middle grade novel, inspired in part by the author’s own childhood as an undocumented immigrant, tells the story of 9-year-old Betita, who believes that she and other migrants follow an Aztec prophecy to fly as free as cranes. When her father is deported to Mexico and she and her mother are detained by ICE, she turns to writing picture poems as her own way to fly above the deplorable conditions that she and other cranes experience while they are caged. Betita ends up leading other detainees in a picture poem campaign that goes viral on social media and helps to bring improved change to the conditions inside the detention center and the release of some of the cranes.
KIRKUS – “An emotional and powerful story with soaring poetry.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “Salazar’s lyrical verse fashions empowerment out of indignity and suffering, creating a stirring and accessible, all-too-timely story.”
Spring 2019, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 250 pp
This free verse middle grade novel tells the story of 11-year-old Cely, whose life swirls with questions about her changing body, her first attraction to a boy, her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid, and her mother’s insistence she have a Chicana moon ceremony for her first menses.
KIRKUS – “A worthy successor to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret set in present-day Oakland. . . Salazar’s verse novel is sensitive and fresh, featuring modern interpretations of pre-Columbian coming-of-age traditions that arise organically from the characters. . . An authentically middle school voice and diverse Latinx cast make this book a standout.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “An excellent addition for upper middle grade and middle school readers, especially for maturing tweens in the midst of puberty.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “The broader message is one of acceptance, celebration, and resistance: a period is just a period, Salazar suggests, but it’s also so much more.”
BOOKPAGE – “The Moon Within is both unique and universal, relatable to women and girls everywhere and singular in its context within Latinx culture. Salazar handles this story with beauty and grace, giving young girls a picture of what it means to stand in your own power and reclaim your own story.”