Monday, November 28, 2016


I am excited to announce that Freddie Ramos Rules New York was released in October 2016. This book is the sixth in the Zapato Power series about Freddie Ramos, the boy with super-powered purple sneakers. 

In Freddie’s newest adventure, he outgrows his special sneakers and must adjust to a larger pair. But will his new shoes work as well as his old ones? Freddie  contemplates the possibilities during a bus ride to New York.

          Uh-oh! Did my new zapatos give me super hearing? What about super speed? And super bounce? Could they do all three? I had two buttons on my wristband. What if two powers was all I got? Which ones did I want the most?
          Super hearing would be good when I wanted to hear what grown-ups were saying. Would I like it as much as running fast?
          I had to get off the bus and find out what my new shoes could do! But I was stuck in the window seat, watching more brown fields and buildings go by. How much longer till New York?

The inspiration for the Zapato Power series came from students when I worked as an elementary school librarian. My students never tired of discussing their favorite superpower and the requests for books on superheroes never stopped. The interest was especially intense when I shared Margaret Mahy’s The Seven Chinese Brothers in story time. This traditional tale is about seven identical brothers who each have a special skill. One brother has super strength. Another brother has super sight and so forth. My students and I had many lively conversations over which brother had the best super skill.
The process of choosing one superpower over another can develop critical thinking skills. Ask your students to write pros and cons for a list of selected superpowers. This can lead to a persuasive writing exercise in which students explain why the superpower of their choice is the most useful and effective for their particular needs. A high interest topic like this can motivate even the most reluctant of writers.
In the Zapato Power books, Freddie Ramos has trouble navigating the ordinary world with his superpowers. Ask your students to write about how they think their lives might change if they had super speed or super hearing. What kind of challenges might they face? Would it be difficult to keep your superpower a secret? Would you be tempted to eavesdrop on your friends or use super speed to an unfair advantage in athletic events? Ask your students to really examine how they would use their superpower and when.

There are many questions to consider. Would you try to stop bullies and make the world a better place? Would you enjoy doing good deeds if no one knew you were responsible? A list of writing prompts are available on this page of the Zapato Power Activity Guide. Enjoy!

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