Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power) by Jacqueline Jules
I have seen this book listed as a Level M on various online sites.
Moving to Starwood Park Apartments has been a good thing for Freddie and his mother. It’s just the two of them now that his father was killed in the line of duty. Starwood Park is much nicer than their old neighborhood, cleaner and safer. Mom went back to school and can afford a better place for them. They no longer have to worry about having a good dinner. But there isn’t always money left over for extras, like new shoes. Especially not new, purple, winged shoes. Those arrive in a mysterious box outside Freddie’s door. And they are not just impressive to look at. They give Freddie superhero level speed. He uses this speed to do a variety of good deeds for his classmates and neighbors.
This series in an interesting option for a beginning chapter book because it provides a unique hero. Freddie Ramos is latino and the book is peppered with Spanish throughout. For many young readers this is a rare chance to see a character like themselves in a book. Others will be excited to see the Spanish words, since many kids either learn a foreign language in school or hear it in their neighborhood. It’s also not yet terribly common to see single parent families. I have had so many students over the years that would have liked to read about a character with a family life more similar to their own. Obviously, for students from military families with parents on active duty, this might not be a good choice as Freddie’s father did not come home from the war.
Age Recommendation: Grades 2-4. Advanced readers below grade two may also find this appealing and there is no objectionable content. Students in Grade 4 will likely be too old for this, but fourth graders who are reading below grade level may enjoy it.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – In the last place Freddie lived, big kids wrote bad words on the walls. “Poopee” which turns out to be a misspelling of puppy.
Death, Violence and Gore – Father was killed in combat.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.