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NEWS & REVIEWS

Praise for A MALETA FULL OF TREASURES

 

Both A MALETA FULL OF TREASURES and LA MALETA DE TESOROS are named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

 

“This book has charming themes of family and connecting to family culture, even if it’s far away. Distance does not diminish the love of family. This is a wonderful book that will be highly relatable to many families. A must-have for any picture book collection.” — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (STARRED REVIEW)

“[A] beautiful and poignant homage . . . Sylvester weaves an emotional storyline that explores, through the loving, long-distance relationship, the nuances of being first-generation and longing for a land you’ve never visited but always heard about . . .  In its vibrant, warm palette, Medina’s cozy style of illustration brings to life Abuela and the magic of her maletas while capturing the bittersweetness of alternating joy and sadness that such an anticipated visit causes.” — BOOKLIST (STARRED REVIEW)

“This tale of bridging gaps is sure to especially resonate with immigrant families, as well as those who find themselves far from their roots. A cozy story of family treasures that sustain connections across the miles.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

Praise for BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN

"Intricate, nuanced, and empowering." — KIRKUS REVIEWS (STARRED REVIEW)

 

With attentiveness rooted in the author’s lived experience, Sylvester seamlessly explores bodily autonomy and familial expectations through a perceptive protagonist, sharp narration, and complex relationships. Verónica’s progress toward overcoming the boundaries created by family, friends, and society alike is powerful and engrossing." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)

"An authentic portrait of a character who wants to be seen for who she is and not the limitations placed on her. . . . From managing dual identities, sexism, and career expectations from her immigrant parents, Vero's warranted anger and sometimes impossible life is one worth rooting for." — BOOKLIST

BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN will be published in Poland by Wydawnictwo Kobiece!

Praise for RUNNING

“Sylvester's YA debut embodies the theme of our decade: to stand up and speak up for what we believe in." — Mahjabeen Syed, BOOKLIST (Starred Review) 

"This powerful novel will provoke much discussion on topics like the political machine, youth activism, and environmental justice. Highly recommended for all libraries." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (Starred Review) 

Kirkus Reviews calls RUNNING "a timely call to stand up for your beliefs," adding that "Sylvester adeptly delves behind the scenes in political families' lives while presenting the complexity of a young woman realizing that her parents are not the heroes she always believed them to be."

The Guardian spotlights RUNNING as one of the Best Books to Understand Latinx Culture, saying it "investigates the complexities that exist within immigrant communities, rejecting the notion of the community as a monolith."

RUNNING was named a 2020 Junior Library Guild selection!

Praise for EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME

 

"A novel that is timely, beautifully written, with descriptions and moments so tangible I was utterly immersed." — ROXANE GAY includes EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME in her 2018 year in reading and writing.

"EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME won the International Latino Book Award for Best Latino-Focused Fiction Book of 2018  

"Sylvester’s work is less interested in revelations and happy endings... Like her parents’ reasons for immigrating, Everyone Knows You Go Home revels in uncertainty and refuses easy answers." THE VILLAGE VOICE 

 

Expertly narrated, this timely multigenerational immigrant story explores the unique challenges families face while examining the corrosiveness of secrets and the redemptive power of forgiveness.” — LIBRARY JOURNAL (STARRED REVIEW)

"You know you’re doing something right when Roxane Gay calls your second novel 'beautifully written, tangible, engaging.' In fact, Natalia Sylvester is doing a lot of things right." — GIRLBOSS

“EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME is prescient, tackling issues of family division, the arduous journey of crossing from one country into the next, and the sacrifices we make in exchange for a better future.” HOUSTON CHRONICLE

"What Sylvester illustrates goes beyond the danger of crossing the border. The novel acknowledges the complexities of birthplace and identity." — SAN ANTONIO CURRENT

 

"Though Sylvester's novel delves into strained familial bonds and the traumas of separation (and sometimes of reunification), the book is also incredibly funny." MIAMI NEW TIMES

 

"[A] work of magical realism about hope, redemption and final farewells." — PARADE MAGAZINE

"Sylvester urges readers to see beyond trauma and respect the ordinary." — AN INTERVIEW WITH KIRKUS REVIEWS 

 

“The book transitions smoothly from past to present, and Sylvester is in complete control of her story... A forceful record of migration within a family and the dangers and triumphs of our undocumented population.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Full of grayscale moralities, the family’s tale is one of difficult choices and the consequences that follow.” — HARPER'S BAZAAR

"Sylvester memorably depicts the precarious existence and difficult choices that face undocumented immigrants to America. "

— PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

“Fans of Alice Hoffman and Polly Samson will appreciate [Sylvester’s] ability to blend the supernatural with the humdrum, imbuing each character in this droll yet tender novel with wit and warmth.” — BOOKLIST

FORTHCOMING WORKS

 

SPRING 2026:

Jessica Smith at Aladdin has bought world rights to the contemporary middle grade novel The Never Ever Sisters by Chantel Acevedo (l.) and Natalia Sylvester, pitched as a reverse The Parent Trap set in Miami. Seventh grade polar opposites Melisa Flores and Roxy Romero find out their parents are engaged and devise a plan to break them up, only to discover the true meaning of family, friendship, and sisterhood. Publication is slated for spring 2026; Stephanie Abou at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents represented Acevedo, and Laura Dail at Laura Dail Literary Agency represented Sylvester. (Publishers Weekly Rights Report)

 

FALL 2026:

 

Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired world rights, in a two-book deal, to The Warmest Light, a picture book by Pura Belpré, Schneider Family Honor, and International Latino Book Award winning author Natalia Sylvester (l.) (Breathe and Count Back from Ten), illustrated by Ziyue Chen. The book offers reassurance for a child in pain or in the hospital, and answers uncertainty with love and a reminder of their inherent wholeness. Publication is slated for fall 2026; Laura Dail at Laura Dail Literary Agency represented the author, and Mela Bolinao at MB Artists represented the artist. (Publishers Weekly Rights Report)

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