"Award-winning author Ryan has masterfully crafted a story using cultural elements from Mexico with a generous sprinkling of magic. In this story of courage, determination, and ingenuity, readers will cheer on Solimar in her arduous journey to save what is near and dear to her heart." —Booklist
"I advise you to tell no one about the gift unless you trust them implicitly." Ever since Solimar was a little girl, she has gone to the ouamel forest bordering her kingdom to observe the monarch butterflies during their migration, but always from a safe distance. Now, on the brink of her quinceañera and her official coronation, Solimar crosses the dangerous creek to sit among the butterflies. There, a mysterious event gives her a gift and a burden--the responsibility to protect the young and weak butterflies with her magical rebozo, or silk shawl.
Solimar is committed to fulfilling her role, and has a plan that might have worked. But when her father, the king, and her brother, the prince, leave on an expedition, a neighboring king overthrows the kingdom and holds everyone left in the village hostage. It takes all of Solimar's courage to escape and then embark on a dangerous journey to save her kingdom, but she's not alone. Her pet bird, Lázaro, the butterflies she protects, and a magical rag doll, Zarita, are with her. Then, at a precarious moment, she meets a river boy who knows the rapids.
Even with help, can Solimar save her family, the kingdom, and the future of the monarchs from a greedy king?
Middle-grade fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan’sEsperanza Rising, will find a new Mexican heroine to love in Solimar and a fresh, magical story!