The Last Cuentista

by Debbie Barba Higuera Year Published: 2021


How about a Newbery refresher? First awarded in 1922, the Newbery award is given to the book published that contains an outstanding contribution to children’s literature. The award is typically given to books aimed at grades 3-8 and is selected by a secret enclave of librarians at American Library Association’s annual mid-winter conference. This year’s winner is The Last Cuentista by Debbie Barba Higuera, and it is a blend of traditional folktales, and dystopian fiction. Yes, you read that correctly. Set in the near future, Earth has to be abandoned because of an incoming comet. Petra and her family are selected to survive the journey by being put into stasis for nearly 300 years. When she wakes up, she realizes that no one remembers Earth, except for her. The Collective has taken over, and they see this as a chance to start anew, stopping at nothing to eradicate the past.  Woven with traditional Latin tales reimagined for Petra’s survival,  The Last Cuentista is also the Pura Belpre winner for outstanding writing that highlights Latin culture. Standing on the shoulders of Hour of the Bees, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and To Trap a Tiger, this book was simply fascinating on many levels. It is definitely worth checking out in the fourth grade and up classrooms. We have one copy available- check it out today! :)