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The Street Belongs to Us

The Street Belongs to Us

By Karleen Pendleton Jimenez
Categories: Children's & Young Adult, Children's
Paperback : 9781551528403, 216 pages, 2021


A sweet middle-grade chapter book about two best friends who transform their torn-up street into a world where imaginations can run wild.

In 1984 Los Angeles, Alex is a tomboy who would rather wear her hair short and her older brother's hand-me-downs, and Wolf is a troubled kid who's been wearing the same soldier's uniform ever since his mom died. They temporarily set their worries aside when their street is torn up by digging machines and transformed into a muddy wonderland with endless possibilities. To pass the hot summer days, the two best friends seize the opportunity to turn Muscatel Avenue into a battleground and launch a gleeful street war against the rival neighbourhood kids.

But when Alex and Wolf make their headquarters inside a deep trench, Alex's grandmother warns them that some buried things want to be found and some want to stay hidden and forgotten. Although she has the wisdom of someone who has survived the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Flu, and immigration to a new country, the kids ignore her warning, unearthing more than they bargained for.

The exuberant and expressive line drawings by Gabriela Godoy perfectly capture the summers of youth, when anything feels possible and an adventure is always around the corner. Bursting with life and feeling, both the people and the land come alive in a tale interwoven with Mexican-American identity, experience, and history. The Street Belongs to Us is a story of family, friendship, and unconditional acceptance, even when it breaks your heart.

Ages 8 to 12.


Such a joy to read! The Street Belongs to Us is a wholehearted, fun story that also focuses on navigating life's challenges like puberty and losing one's mom. -Claudia Rodriguez, author of Everybody's Bread

This delightful and sensitive story is both rich with emotion and with cultural and historical experiences. A book tenderly written, one to be cherished and enjoyed. -Gianna Patriarca, author of Italian Women and Other Tragedies

The Street Belongs to Us creates a complex, rich, and beautiful world. Jimenez shows us the beauty and importance of gender diversity and how kids can navigate the difficult and exciting changes that lie ahead. -Lisa Selin Davis, author of Tomboy: The Surprising History of Girls Who Dare to be Different

The Street Belongs to Us magically addresses gender, grief, pain, longing, and illness, all with a writing cadence that makes us love each character like family. -Joie Lamar, author of Mambo Lips: A Memoir of a Girl Who Found Strength in Being Different

Look to The Street Belongs to Us for truth about kids, how they talk, how they mask and unmask their true feelings when faced with the hard truths of life. Truly affecting throughout to its deeply touching conclusion. -Cecile Pineda, author of Entry Without Inspection and Apology to a Whale

Super duper wow! Jimenez's The Street Belongs to Us is an amazing read. A joyful, captivating, corazon-tugging cuento. It is all queer fun, family love y carino. -Veronica Reyes, author of Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives

Beautifully written, this story of discovery and healing reminds us of the power of digging deep in both our own yards and in those of collective history. -Olga Garcia Echeverria, author of Falling Angels: Cuentos y Poemas

Jimenez has painted an authentic picture of puberty with a light touch that is both respectful and endearing. Godoy's animated drawings, economical and evocative, add to the overall magic. -Linda Schuyler, co-creator and executive producer of the Degrassi franchise

Full of humour and heart, The Street Belongs to Us is a beautiful and subversively queer story that probes the depths of intertwined human loss and connection. -Cory Silverberg, author of Sex Is a Funny Word

Pendleton-Jimenez offers readers a powerful middle-grade novel that not only explores Mexican-American identity but movingly explores the complications of family relationships, friendships and gender identity. -The Globe and Mail

At once tender about how its characters accept each other's concerns without question, and humorous about their everyday adventures, this sweet portrait of an impromptu summer deepens through the children's awareness that their families don't always resemble what they'd hoped for, but that love and safety still surround them. -Foreword Reviews

The Street Belongs to Us is delightfully entertaining and taps into how it feels to be young. Yet, it also has hidden depths. Readers, as well as characters, find joy in what happens on Muscatel Street, but they will dig beneath the surface to find truths about their world, themselves, and those they love. -CM Magazine

Young readers will be captivated by these strong characters who, armed with a newfound maturity, are empowered to move forward when they come to see their loved ones in a new light. -Quill and Quire

A terrific summer read with appealing cartoon drawings interspersed throughout. Godoy's illustrations complement Jimenez's warm prose, lending a lightness to Alex's story of a pivotal summer. -Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)