Breaking to the Beat!

By Kirkus Reviews

A timid Puerto Rican child picks up the beats and gets down on the streets in the 1970s.

Young Manolo takes in everything in his Bronx neighborhood: Latin boogaloo singalongs, “hip-swaying rumba parties,” bass-heavy thrums, and the “zigga, zigga scratch” of DJs on turntables. A refrain appears throughout: “ROCK, ROCK, Y’ALL, AND YA DON’T QUIT!” It’s the rise of “HIP-HOP!” and break dancing. The B-boys and B-girls and their dance crews make it look way smooth—in dance-offs where spectators cheer and jeer with bravado—but Manolo slinks away, discouraged. Does he have what it takes? As the Bronx succumbs to the rubble and exodus caused by “corrupt politicians and greedy landlords,” Manolo perfects his top rock and six step, gaining a dance crew and a new moniker: Kid Flex. Soon enough, Kid Flex and the Borinquén Breakers make their mark, taking the pulsing beat of the Boogie Down Bronx to new neighborhoods. In this beatific tale, Acevedo serves up a fictional tale rooted in history that pays tribute to young Black and brown breakers. With text full of punchy words and phrases, the author invokes the indelible zest of hip-hop in a way that inspires. Morrison’s hazy, graffiti-flavored artwork is spellbinding, with bodies etched in movement that leaps off the pages.

An irresistible beat to get readers on their feet.