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Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows

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The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America. Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America. Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving. But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself. Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world). No pressure, muchacho.


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The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America. Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America. Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving. But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself. Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world). No pressure, muchacho.

30 review for Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This is a debut novel and I am so impressed with the skill and craftsmanship of this first book! Fast-paced and full of adventure and fun, Calejo takes tried and true story tropes and plays with them so entertainingly. Charlie and Violet and terrific characters and Charlie's self-deprecating humorous voice pulled me in right from the first page. I'm sorry to say that I knew very little of Central, South and Iberian myths and legends and one of the great features of this book is the way Calejo int This is a debut novel and I am so impressed with the skill and craftsmanship of this first book! Fast-paced and full of adventure and fun, Calejo takes tried and true story tropes and plays with them so entertainingly. Charlie and Violet and terrific characters and Charlie's self-deprecating humorous voice pulled me in right from the first page. I'm sorry to say that I knew very little of Central, South and Iberian myths and legends and one of the great features of this book is the way Calejo introduces them to readers like me while never slowing the pace or sounding instructive. Thanks to Rick Riordon, myths are hot topics with young readers and this is an ideal book to hand to young fans. This will make a fabulous book talk ;-) I can't wait for the next installment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    LitPick Student Book Reviews

    In the book Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, a boy named Charlie Hernández suddenly finds that his parents have gone missing, and the next day, he finds horns growing out of his head! When Charlie finds a map in the locket his mom left for him, he follows it into a world of demons and monsters from the Hispanic legends taught to him as a boy by his grandmother. Along with his newfound friend, Violet, Charlie tries to find out who he actually is and save the world from a evil group In the book Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows, a boy named Charlie Hernández suddenly finds that his parents have gone missing, and the next day, he finds horns growing out of his head! When Charlie finds a map in the locket his mom left for him, he follows it into a world of demons and monsters from the Hispanic legends taught to him as a boy by his grandmother. Along with his newfound friend, Violet, Charlie tries to find out who he actually is and save the world from a evil group of people called The Black Hand. Opinion: Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows is one of my favorite books! Personally, I didn’t know much about Hispanic myths, so it was a very enjoyable experience to learn some of them. The characters were explained vividly, making the whole story more fun because I could see the monsters and characters in my head. The book uses some Spanish, but when it is used, I could figure out exactly what the words meant from the context. This was an incredibly good book, and I give it five stars. Reviewed by a LitPick student book reviewer, Age 11

  3. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    This was the type of book that I needed when I was smaller and had no Hispanic/Latino characters in books. I was always looking for a book with characters that I could culturally relate to and had stories that I was familiar with, and now, I finally have it. This book was a wonderful blend of all of the stories and mythologies that I had heard from my own grandmother brought to life for me in an entirely new way. To say that I loved this book, with its witty dialogue and dynamic characters and m This was the type of book that I needed when I was smaller and had no Hispanic/Latino characters in books. I was always looking for a book with characters that I could culturally relate to and had stories that I was familiar with, and now, I finally have it. This book was a wonderful blend of all of the stories and mythologies that I had heard from my own grandmother brought to life for me in an entirely new way. To say that I loved this book, with its witty dialogue and dynamic characters and monsters, is almost an understatement.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Look out, Percy Jackson. You have some fierce competition in Charlie Hernandez. This middle grade novel begins with a 12-year-old boy whose parents have disappeared, his house has burned down and he has grown two horns. When the horns disappear, feathers appear -- while he is in class. And so begins Charlie's quest to discover what is happening to him and how it relates to the disappearance of his parents. Along the way he teams up with classmate Violet and we meet a multitude of mythical creatu Look out, Percy Jackson. You have some fierce competition in Charlie Hernandez. This middle grade novel begins with a 12-year-old boy whose parents have disappeared, his house has burned down and he has grown two horns. When the horns disappear, feathers appear -- while he is in class. And so begins Charlie's quest to discover what is happening to him and how it relates to the disappearance of his parents. Along the way he teams up with classmate Violet and we meet a multitude of mythical creatures, many with their own quirky sense of humor. Charlie knows them all from stories his abuela told him. The book includes a glossary for reference and the promise of more stories to come. Thank you, Aladdin and Edelweiss, for a digital ARC of this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    This book is just chock full of figures from Hispanic mythology and I think middle school readers are going to love its humor and sense of exploration and adventure. Can’t wait to booktalk this one!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bartelloni

    I picked this up at book expo and I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but my 9 year old son loved it! Full review to come when I read :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Glendys Sanchez

    Absolutely loved this book. A winner! This book is perfect for middle school readers.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book is so much fun! It’s an adventure from beginning to end. Mythology, magic, & an unlikely mystery-solving duo.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Are you a fan of Rick Riordan's Lightning Thief books? You ain't seen any monsters till you have seen monsters from Hispanic mythology. Read Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows now. What with the adventures with various scary creatures from assorted Hispanic cultures around the world plus all the Spanish tucked into every page, I'm swooning with happiness to share this book with the universe.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nena Hernandez

    My daughter loved the book. She said it was fun, fun, fun! I recommended highly.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

    4 out of 10 It's a children book written in an adult manner with a bunch of unnecessary stylization. Weird combination. Fantasy meets science, mythos meets reality, fast pacing meets weak intrigue. Not my cup of tea. But! I like the cultural side of this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rendz

    It's a good 4! Maybe like a 3.85(ish) *OMG I am so complicated...* Full RTC!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenni Frencham

    Calejo, Ryan. Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows. Aladdin, 2018. Charlie loves studying the mythology of his Latin American culture. He knows all the stories about all the different monsters and gods from all the countries in Central and South America. But when Charlie is teleported into the very mythological world he loves so much, he will have to keep his wits about him in order to save his family and the rest of the world. This book is a perfect read-alike for the many Rick Riordan myt Calejo, Ryan. Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows. Aladdin, 2018. Charlie loves studying the mythology of his Latin American culture. He knows all the stories about all the different monsters and gods from all the countries in Central and South America. But when Charlie is teleported into the very mythological world he loves so much, he will have to keep his wits about him in order to save his family and the rest of the world. This book is a perfect read-alike for the many Rick Riordan mythology stories, and as there are still scores of fans of these books, this will be an easy book to recommend. There is plenty of adventure and fantastical stories in this book, and the compelling, action-filled story will keep readers turning pages to find out what happens next. Recommended. Recommended for: tweens Red Flags: mild fantasy peril Overall Rating: 4/5 stars Read-Alikes: Aru Shah and the End of Time, The Storm Runner I received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Tovar

    This novel was an amazing read! To begin, this novel features a diverse cast. I had been waiting for sooo long to read a novel like this that featured a Hispanic protagonist! Kudos to the author! However, the novel doesn't just provide the reader with a Hispanic character, but also uses many Hispanic myths and legends to develop the plot, and done very well indeed! I appreciated that in this novel, the myths and legends are part of Charlie's quest and are not just delegated to quick mentions. Pe This novel was an amazing read! To begin, this novel features a diverse cast. I had been waiting for sooo long to read a novel like this that featured a Hispanic protagonist! Kudos to the author! However, the novel doesn't just provide the reader with a Hispanic character, but also uses many Hispanic myths and legends to develop the plot, and done very well indeed! I appreciated that in this novel, the myths and legends are part of Charlie's quest and are not just delegated to quick mentions. Personally, I knew some of the characters from my own childhood, such as La Llorona, but there were others that I did not know, which led me to research them and learn more about my own culture and other cultures as well! This adventure book kicks it up a notch as soon as you start reading it, and I can assure you, it will be difficult to put down! Charlie's appeal is that the author created a well-developed, rounded character that we can relate to (sans his powers, of course), and it is wonderful to see that through his grandmother's stories, he is able to survive another day against the evil forces. The way that this novel pays homage to elders as Charlie uses his grandmother's wisdom is an excellent way to showcase how storytelling, passed down through generations, is invaluable! Overall, this book is a must-read for anybody that wants to find something different, something that highlights the Hispanic culture and at the same time provides enjoyment for readers! Whether you are a teen or an adult, this book is a great choice!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    Really fun middle grade read. Loved the Spanish sprinkled throughout the story. I felt like it flowed seamlessly (the language mixing) and added a lot to the feel of the story. I enjoyed learning some Hispanic and Latino mythology.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    2.5 stars RTC, but main reasons for low-ish rating: consistent use of ableist language and odd use of colonizer as a "good guy"

  17. 5 out of 5

    Beth Mendelsohn

    Charlie Hernandez grew up listening to his abuela’s stories about witches and monsters of Iberian and Central and South American myths. She made sure he knew everything inside and out. Charlie thought they were just stories until his parents disappeared and his house burned down. Soon after, Charlie started experiencing physical manifestations – horns sprouting from his head and feathers growing all over his body! Middle school is hard enough without having feathers sticking out from under your Charlie Hernandez grew up listening to his abuela’s stories about witches and monsters of Iberian and Central and South American myths. She made sure he knew everything inside and out. Charlie thought they were just stories until his parents disappeared and his house burned down. Soon after, Charlie started experiencing physical manifestations – horns sprouting from his head and feathers growing all over his body! Middle school is hard enough without having feathers sticking out from under your shirt. When Charlie finds his mother’s locket with a secret map inside, things are about to get even weirder. Newfound friend and longtime crush Violet Rey wants to help him find out what happened to his parents and what is now happening to him. Charlie realizes his grandmother’s stories weren’t just stories – they are real and happening to him! He is soon mixed up with the League of Shadows, who Charlie thinks is trying to help him, and La Mano Peluda (the Hairy Hand) who is trying to kill him. This debut novel by Ryan Calejo fits right in with other books about cultural mythology. Calejo introduces various mythological characters without slowing down the pace of the book. There is a glossary at the end to help keep track of the terminology. I was very impressed with this first showing and can’t wait for more! Great for fans of Rick Riordan fourth grade and up.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hilary Scroggie

    This was very delightful. I too would dress my best to meet a Witch Queen even if I was riding my bike there.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dorine White

    Charlie Hernandez's world has turned upside down. His parents are missing and horns are growing out of his head. Say What? Could the Latin American myths that his abuela told him about actually be real? He is placed in a foster home with weird Mrs. Wilson, an old lady that collects dolls. During middle school, Charlie does his best to hide his freaky outgrowths, including feathers and a lobster claw, but the school reporter, Violet Rey, uncovers the truth. Now she is sticking to him like clue as Charlie Hernandez's world has turned upside down. His parents are missing and horns are growing out of his head. Say What? Could the Latin American myths that his abuela told him about actually be real? He is placed in a foster home with weird Mrs. Wilson, an old lady that collects dolls. During middle school, Charlie does his best to hide his freaky outgrowths, including feathers and a lobster claw, but the school reporter, Violet Rey, uncovers the truth. Now she is sticking to him like clue as he tries to find out the mystery of his missing parents. The truth ends up being stranger than fact, as Charlie and Violet begin encountering mythical creatures, some good and some out to get them. From El Cadejo, a supernatural dog that protects men to La Sihuanaba, a cursed queen that kills. Charlie is thrown into an age old war between La Liga (The League of Shadows) and La Mano Peluda (the Hairy Hand). La Liga hopes that Charlie is the fabled Morphling, a being prophesied to come and save the world from darkness. My Thoughts- This middle grade book is a great intro into the world of Latin American myths and legends. Almost every chapter finds Charlie meeting something new, and he retells the story of the myths to Violet. You meet strange creatures with dark fates, plus a few good ones, like the Queen of Toledo, a witch who leads the League. At some points, I was a bit overwhelmed by just how many myths came flying my way. That being said, the quick introductions of mythical creatures leaves the story going at a fast pace, adventure and struggles building upon each other. Kids will love the fast flow. Sometimes I found the characters seemed to be a bit older than middle school. Violet mentions taking AP Pre-Chemistry, which seems more high school, and the bully that picks on Charlie is way mean and seems to play sports at a varsity level. These mentions would throw me out of the story at times as I tried to picture these kids doing such advanced stuff. Can I just say that the ending took me by surprise? I had no idea who the real villain was pretending to be. Creepy. I'm liking where this series is heading and I love the multi-cultural aspects. The book concludes with a mythical creature glossary so that you can figure out who is what. I'm giving this one 4 stars!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Libby Ames

    Life gets strange for Charlie Hernandez when his parents disappear and his house mysteriously burns. But then he grows horns and feathers. Creatures from his abuela’s Hispanic mythology start appearing. Soon Charlie and his friend Violet Rey are on a crazy and dangerous search for truth. Their search takes them on a wild ride and introduces them to mythological creatures both good and bad. Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows is a high action trip through the highlights of Hispanic mytholo Life gets strange for Charlie Hernandez when his parents disappear and his house mysteriously burns. But then he grows horns and feathers. Creatures from his abuela’s Hispanic mythology start appearing. Soon Charlie and his friend Violet Rey are on a crazy and dangerous search for truth. Their search takes them on a wild ride and introduces them to mythological creatures both good and bad. Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows is a high action trip through the highlights of Hispanic mythology. It is a great addition for fans of Percy Jackson and lovers of diverse books. Charlie and Violet are plucky characters that readers will enjoy. I look forward to more adventures to come. Recommended ages 10 and up This book is an excellent addition to the diverse books category and I'm excited for how Hispanic readers will relate to this new hero. That being said, I hope the writing improves a little with later books in the series. I found Calejo's writing choppy, the dialogue a little stilted, and more than a few plot holes. The action was great and I'm sure young readers won't mind the writing, but tightening the writing would bring this new series closer to perfection.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chacha Centeno

    Lots of thoughts: Hispanic, Latin, mythology, legends, etc. Any time someone uses mythology, legend and Hispanic to define a story, I begin to worry about a colonialized tale. The story has meat for discussion, even the 'myths' repeatedly state they are true and Charlie himself references colonization. I review books from an indigenous perspective, in this sense, the story has a ton of red flags; however, I am not an authority source for the history or stories Charlie refers to. I hope someone w Lots of thoughts: Hispanic, Latin, mythology, legends, etc. Any time someone uses mythology, legend and Hispanic to define a story, I begin to worry about a colonialized tale. The story has meat for discussion, even the 'myths' repeatedly state they are true and Charlie himself references colonization. I review books from an indigenous perspective, in this sense, the story has a ton of red flags; however, I am not an authority source for the history or stories Charlie refers to. I hope someone with this background reviews the book. I enjoyed the story, it would be a read-alike to Riordan, Allende and Bowles.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yasmeena

    4.5* What was that ending oml RTC ---------- A book with Spanish heritage AND the summary said it was like a crossover of The Lightning Thief and ahem Story Thieves? TWO of my favorite books combined?!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    Solid children's adventure story with fun elements taken from Hispanic myths and legends. I just wonder if non-bilingual readers will get as much enjoyment of all the random Spanish words and phrases sprinkled throughout.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    *3.75

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ms.Gaye

    Action-packed adventure with a host of creatures from Hispanic and Latino mythology! A story with themes of friendship and hope. Loved it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nikki S

    I hate to say this, but if I hadn't read another book just recently I might have enjoyed this one more.... BUT I still did like this one and I think you all ahould read it too. Real review to come.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Very fun, would definitely please Percy Jackson fans. Wonder if there's some fun books on the mythology in this one that I've missed or if this will get more info out there.

  29. 5 out of 5

    LOLA SALOMON

    My son really liked this book. A friend gave it to him for his birthday. Now my daughter is almost done. Thank you Charlie for getting my kids reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

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