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Levine Querido

Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice by Anna Lapera (Hardcover)

Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice by Anna Lapera (Hardcover)

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Middle Grade Fiction - Social Themes - Adolesence & Coming of Age


“Anna Lapera expertly voices a young girl’s middle school trials, but with a voice so unique and heartfelt you will be cringing one moment and cheering the next. She weaves a distinctive story filled with humor, family heartache, and secrets while a young girl releases the fear of her voice and grasps its power.” — Newbery Medalist Donna Barba Higuera

For fans of Donna Barba Higuera's Lupe Wong Won't Dance and Aida Salazar's The Moon Within, comes Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice -- a contemporary middle grade novel full of spunk and activist heart.

Manuela “Mani” Semilla wants two things: To get her period, and to thwart her mom's plan of taking her to Guatemala, a place that has always been more of a mystery than an answer. Mani can’t imagine leaving behind Las Nerdas, her band of misfit friends, for the summer. But after she finds letters written between her mother and her disappeared-journalist aunt, Mani’s idea of what it means to be a woman takes flight. Reading the letters reveals both the beauty of Guatemala and its history of violence against women, and slowly transforms Mani from quiet bystander into budding activist.


Anna Lapera teaches middle school by day and writes stories about girls stepping into their power in the early hours of the morning. She is a member of Las Musas, a 2022 Macondista and Kweli Journal mentee, and has received support from Tin House, Kweli and SCBWI. When she's not writing, you can find her visiting trails and coffee shops in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she lives with her family. Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice is her debut novel, and she's currently working on a historical fiction young adult novel set during Guatemala's civil war, as well as a short story collection for the grown folks. You can find her online at
Author Residence: Silver Spring, MD

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