Sofia Martinez by Jacqueline Jules

The Sofia Martinez series, written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith, are junior chapter books for ages 5-8. Each story follows the everyday adventures of a spirited 7-year-old named Sofia. Sofia lives with her parents and two sisters and regularly visits her extended family, including her cousins and beloved Abuela, all of whom all live nearby.

The stories in the Sofia Martinez series were originally published as individual books (you might still find them this way at your local library or bookstore) but are now available in combined volumes that each feature three of the original Sofia stories.

The first volume, My Family Adventure, has the stories “Picture Perfect,” “Abuela’s Birthday”, and “The Missing Mouse.” In “Picture Perfect,” Sofia is frustrated that she and her older sisters look so much alike, so she strives to make her school picture one that stands out in a crowd. In “Abuela’s Birthday,” Sofia and her cousins decide to make a papier-mâché piñata for their grandmother’s birthday party. They also make a big mess, much to the chagrin of Sofia’s aunt. In “The Missing Mouse,” Sofia is tasked with watching her friend’s pet mouse. When the mouse gets loose, Sofia enlists the help of her sisters and cousin Hector to devise a plan to ensure the mouse’s safe return.

The second volume, My Vida Loca, has the stories “Singing Superstar,” “The Secret Recipe,” and “The Marigold Mess.” In “Singing Superstar,” Sofia gets a karaoke machine for Christmas, but when her family grows tired of her enthusiastic singing, Sofia must find the perfect audience. In “The Secret Recipe,” Sofia helps her grandmother make rice pudding for the church potluck. When she makes a small mistake that ends up ruining the dish, Sofia tries to correct the error without her grandmother knowing. In “The Marigold Mess” Sofia accidentally makes a muddy mess of her mother’s marigolds while washing the car.

The third combined volume is titled My Fantastica Family and has the stories “The Beach Trip,” “Abeula’s Special Letters,” and “Shopping Trip Trouble.” In “The Beach Trip” Sofia’s whole extended family spend a week at a beach cabin. In “Abuela’s Special Letters” Sofia’s sisters and cousins help her create a time capsule. In “Shopping Trip Trouble” the family loses track of Sofia’s four-year-old cousin, Manuel, during a big school supply shopping trip.

Each book in the series contains a variety of Spanish words (usually 1-2 per page) that are printed in pink. While most of the terms can be understood in context, there is a handy Spanish glossary at the back of every book for quick reference.

Sofia is a clever, kind, and entertaining character that kids and parents will love. This series is similar to the Kylie Jean chapter book series, which I reviewed here and here. Both Sofia Martinez and Kylie Jean are published by one of my favorite publishers, Capstone Young Readers.

I recommend the Sofia Martinez series for children in grades K-2. These books would also be great to read aloud to a preschooler!


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