On These Magic Shores

Written By: Yamile Saied Méndez

Cover Art by: Sarah Coleman

For Ages: MG & YA

Language: English, some Spanish.

Topics Covered: Immigration, Missing Persons, Family, Siblings, Magic, Fairies, Argentinian Culture & Traditions, Sickness, Theatre, Own Voices.


Minerva is the oldest of 3 girls, and her younger sisters Dakota “Kota” and Avalon “Avi” are her entire world, which is also sometimes incredibly aggravating. The sisters live with their mother in a tiny apartment, and Minnie takes on a lot of childcare responsibilities because their mother works two jobs. One morning, Minnie wakes up to find that her mom didn’t come home after her evening job. Minnie makes the executive decision to run the household herself until she gets back.

This book is a fascinating blend of family, culture, and fantasy. The plot had so many incredible twists and turns, I was instantly hooked and couldn’t put the book down. Minnie is under a lot of pressure to maintain the facade that things are fine, always fine, even before her mother went missing. They are not wealthy by any standards, and disconnected from the rest of Mamá’s family that lives in Argentina. There is a bit of fairy magic, sibling love, and friendship that help Minnie get through an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for her family. On These Magic Shores is utterly beautiful, engaging, and magical read.

This book was kindly sent by Lee & Low Books, but all opinions are my own!

Yamile Saied Méndez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary.

How does Yamile pronounce her name? Click on this clip from Teaching Books

Sarah Coleman

From Sarah’s website:

My name is Sarah J Coleman, with a pseudonym that evolved before I’d even left school.

Known as ‘The Lettering Girl’ throughout the nineties and noughties for my early pioneering hand-lettering and hand-drawn type, developing styles and approaches now ubiquitous in the creative industries, my work is shot through with a vivid inky thread of conversational energy, detail and movement, whether or not words are part of the image. 

My work’s been described as ‘unmistakable’ while ‘never staying still’; organic, restless, idiosyncratic; inspired by the penmanship of a more elegant era, but with a muscular grasp of experimentation and a healthy distrust of the rules. Ink runs through my veins and generally lands on paper, but new materials and methods have been embraced with enthusiasm throughout my two-decade career, from live-filmed murals for TV advertising, outdoor walls and giant breeze block murals to the minutiae of cross-hatching, embroidery, sculpture, built objects, wearable pieces and pixel-only creations.

I was the first person in 25 years to illustrate the cover of American Playboy, and created the 50th Anniversary cover of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and its prequel, Go Set A Watchman. I’ve spent a lifetime immersed in words – my own and other people’s – with over 700 book covers currently to my name and many more in the works.

I’ve worked for every major publisher in the UK and USA, alongside an extensive, global client list in advertising, design, and editorial work. I divide my between illustrating, blogging, interviews and public speaking in schools and colleges, and indulging in a ceaseless series of creative ventures (including two radio stations, a chocolate company, a vinyl accessories company, gallery, record label, shop and wedding stationery company). I’m also a regular contributor to BBC Radio. 

Our first short documentary, ‘Stupid Enough’, on the nature of creativity in business, was sponsored by Adobe, and premiered in Austria in the autumn of 2015, and my first fully-illustrated children’s book with author Josh Allen, ‘Out To Get You’, is published in September 3rd, just in time for Halloween.

When I’m not doing all that, you can find me throwing iron around in the gym, greedily taking in ghost stories or maintaining our fleet of unusual Japanese vehicles (look for Inkymolesmotors on Instagram!)

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