The Hand-Me-Down Magic Series by Corey Ann Haydu

I’m so excited to introduce you to a new early-to-middle elementary chapter book series, Hand-Me-Down Magic by Corey Ann Haydu, illustrated by Luisa Uribe. The first two books in the series (Stoop Sale Treasure and Crystal Ball Fortunes) were released in June, 2020… Once we got our hands on them and I started to read them out loud to the girls this summer, they couldn’t get enough and we flew through both books! Needless to say, our girls will be thrilled when the next book(s) in the series release! Read on to see what makes this new series so delightful for young readers and listeners.

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The Hand-Me-Down Magic series, aimed at ages 6-10, tells the story of cousins Alma and Del, two girls of the same age and same extended family, but with very different family and life experiences thus far. Different, that is, until Alma’s family moves from their remote lake house to the city, where they move into the same apartment building as Del and her family, along with other extended family (including beloved Abuelita, Titi Rosa, and cousin Evie). Told in alternating voice (chapters alternate the perspectives of Del and Alma, neatly headed so that you know which character’s views you’re getting), the stories tell the adventures of both girls as they move through everyday life, as well as adjust to their changing extended family structure and routines.

My girls loved the accessible and relatable adventures that Del and Alma have, but also relished in the fact that so many details of their everyday lives are very different from ours. We see Alma struggle to adjust after a big move, we watch Del believe in the magic of a found good luck charm, and we feel the jealousy and conflict that can often happen between cousins who are more like siblings than cousins. But, they also enjoyed learning about life in a bigger city and ins and outs of living in a four-story apartment building.

As for me, I loved that Haydu has delightfully interspersed Spanish vocabulary and various cultural and family traditions (such as making homemade candy called gofio, or a weekly tradition of shopping neighborhood stoop sales) that were new to our family, as well as the multi-generational and multi-racial makeup of this extended family. Haydu fits these details in so naturally that my girls often didn’t even realize how much they were learning! Uribe’s illustrations are scattered throughout, adding enough visual interest to keep those newer to chapter books engaged, but without overwhelming the story and still challenging readers/listeners to visualize their own images.

What are your favorite chapter books aimed at this 6-to-10-year-old audience?

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