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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,712 ratings  ·  340 reviews
Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.

If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't tal
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,712 ratings  ·  340 reviews

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"He hoped it all came to pass-sunshine, blue skies, flowers and fruit trees, waterfalls and rainbows. A different tomorrow, one without fear and filled with kindness, safety, and hope."

Maximiliano Córdova belongs in my messy kids with big hearts club. You see, Max wishes to be a fútbol (soccer) star, it runs in his family. But new rules about the team makes Max's plans for the summer go awry. He is disappointed and frustrated, sad that his friendship is changing. When the opportunity to foll
Katie Hanna
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I don't know what I expected from this short, simple little middle grade book, but iT WASN'T BEING UTTERLY DESTROYED FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

Mañanaland is an allegory for the plight of migrants in today's world, particularly Hispanic migrants in the Americas. Set in the fictional country of Santa Maria, next door to the cruel dictatorship of Abismo (which literally means "Hell": I told you, this is an allegory), it weaves a tale of ordinary people who defy the laws of their own nation to
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Secrets, mysteries, and adventure are the foundation for many books, and Pam Muñoz Ryan lays that foundation early in Mañanaland, her first novel after earning a 2016 Newbery Honor for Echo. Maximiliano Feliciano Esteban Córdoba, now almost twelve years old, knows next to nothing about his mother. She left when he was a year old and hasn't been heard from since, but Max hopes she'll return someday to be a family with him, his father (Papá), and grandfather (Buelo). Papá used to play fútbol on th ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The gorgeous illustrations and storytelling give a fairy-tale feel to the narrative despite the spare prose. This is a quick read, but unpacks some truths for middle grade kids to consider. It is simple enough for young readers to grasp while still giving the opportunity for more mature discussions with older ones. There are some high stakes moments with a not quite happily ever after ending. I predict this one could be on the Newbery list for 2021.

Thank you to Scholastic Press and Edelweiss fo
I listened to this book via LibroFM as a part of their ALC program. This does not impact or affect my review in any way.

Wow this was such a powerful book and definitely wasn't completely what I expected.

Mañanaland is an interesting novel for several different reasons. It stood out to me because it starts off as a novel that seems to have no direction. There are two storylines: Max's obsession with being able to make the village fúbol team and his constant thoughts about his mother. At first th
Alex  Baugh
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eleven-year-old Maximiliano Cordoba loves playing fútbol, and hopes to someday play on the celebrated Santa Maria national team just like his Papá and his Abuelo did when they were young. And tryouts are only a few weeks away. But when Max is invited to join a fútbol clinic in another town, his father refuses to give him permission to go. Instead, Max is invited to help his father find needed stones for building a new bridge, and earning money to buy a new pair of coveted soccer shoes. Additiona ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Max Cordoba has grown up hearing the legends his grandfather has shared, stories of a mysterious gatekeeper who leads travelers to a safe haven, a place called Mañanaland, tomorrow land.

Then Max gets the opportunity to help a traveler in need of rescue. Can he do it, even though it is against his family's wishes.

It took me fifty pages to get into this story, but, once I did, I couldn't stop reading.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my top 5 books of the year, literal perfection!
Padma Venkatraman
Magical, meaningful and moving. Another book to win hearts, written by an award-winning author. Max loves stories and longs to solve the mystery of what happened to his mother who disappeared when he was a baby. His father and grandfather are loving, but money is tight - and one day, when his father is away, Max grabs a chance to run away to try and discover what happened to his mother. The problem is, another young run away depends on him. Can he keep them both safe as they journey together in ...more
This kind of allegorical magical realism just like isn't my cup of tea. This seems like it would be a good classroom read to talk about literary devices but I'm not sure how appealing it would be for a tween just looking for a book to read, tbh. I kind of feel like it's not realistic enough to serve as a compelling adventure story but it's also not fantasy-y enough to serve as a compelling fantasy? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to receive an advanced reader copy at the California School Library Association conference. Thank you Pam Muñoz Ryan for bringing the copies! This will be a great choice for middle school students. Set in a fictional Central American country, 12-year-old Max is determined to discover the mystery of where his mother is and why she left when he was just a baby. During a courageous and dangerous trip helping a runaway young girl, what he learns is not what he expected.
LS Johnson
Apr 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I continue to read more fictional books that bring to light (at least for me) events, atrocities, and situations that highlight historical events, but also shine a light on current events. Bravo to authors for seeing the present in light of the past, in hopes of a better future. A favorite quote from this book - “It only takes one or two people to generate hate and make it escalate.” This is not my favorite book written by Muñoz Ryan, but she remains one of my favorite authors.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Do you believe in happy endings?" Paused this audiobook so many times to write down quotes. Beautiful.

“You will witness the best and the worst in people. Embrace the best and dismiss the worst."

“Being a guardian is not about borders or laws or money. We never took money. It’s about people helping people.”

“A different tomorrow; one without fear and filled with kindness, safety, and hope.”

“It only takes one or two people to generate hate and make it escalate.”

“Isn’t that the most comforting thoug
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Touching Story

A story of a son abandoned as a baby 🚼by the mother and a father who tries to keep the mother in the boy's ❤after she is gone. It is apparent that the mother has escaped to the US and they are in a Latin American country but he always hopes mom will come and the father keeps that hope alive.
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2020
I really enjoyed this read, it was whimsical, thought provoking, and hopeful. It would be a great read aloud. I would love to read it with kids in Spanish.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bravo! This book has just the right amount of adventure, well fleshed out characters, a rich setting, and a satisfying ending. I loved and rooted for Max and his family from beginning to end. Through Max, Munoz teaches many valuable lessons, but it never feels forced or overly sentimental.
Amber K.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is going to stick with me for awhile...

Max is a young boy living with his father. His mother left a long time ago and he doesn’t remember her or know her. He wants to meet her desperately. Then he discovers a family secret while snooping through his dad’s stuff. A secret about an underground network of “guardians” who lead people fleeing their country to safety. Through this secret he continues to uncover clues about his mother and his own past.

Sadly, this story of people fleeing the
Leonard Kim
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I preferred Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus, which came out a week before this and has a somewhat similar scenario.
Ms. Yingling
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Maximiliano Córdoba lives with his father and Buelo, since his mother left when he was young. His father is a stone mason who has been given permission to take stones from some ruins and construct bridges near the small village where they live. The father had also been a big soccer star, and Max wants desperately to go to a soccer camp run by the coach of the team he wishes to join, but his father is loathe to let him, especially since the coach is requiring a birth cert
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-author
I am a Pan Munoz Ryan fan. Esperanza Rising and Becoming Naomi Leon are wonderful stories, and I was so happy when her book Echo won a Newbery Honor award! So I was very excited when a copy of her soon-to-be-released book arrived on my doorstep!
The story is of a young boy named Maxilimiliano, or Max. He lives in a small village with his Papa and Buelo. He loves futbol and hopes to make the competitive team to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. His family are stonemasons, and
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, arcs, middle-years
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am grateful to have received this advanced copy from Scholastic Press

For anyone who does not believe the strength of eleven, almost twelve-year-olds, they have not met Maximiliano Feliciano Esteban Córdoba. It's summer and Max's dream of trying out for fútbol is dashed when his father won't let him join a local team so he can improve. Within the clash with his father, Max worries that he will lose a best friend who plans to join. Max will have to help his father and sometimes his grandfather
Melanie Dulaney
"You will witness the best and the worst in people. Embrace the best and dismiss the worst. You are not doomed to live beneath other people's misguided notions. Rise above their narrowness. Pity them. And create your own noble worth."

Max loves his family, but yearns for a mother he never knew and wishes his Papa wasn't so protective of him. Secrets are revealed and Max begins to understand about evil that exists close by and learns that his family has a legacy of helping those who cannot help th
Linda Wolfe
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 6-9
I would give this book to grades 6-9.
Setting this story in a mythical country somewhere int he Americas was brilliant. The book is relevant to so many, and is (or isn't) a story about coming to the United States. Therefore, the story can leave out all the ugly politics in the United States about immigrants, and deal with people as being people.
The only part that left me questioning the story was when Max sees tomorrow with the old woman gate keeper. That part is a little too magical for me in
Joanne Kelleher
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Max’s family is rich in stories about a mythical gatekeeper who guides brave travelers to a better tomorrow, but there is a wall of secrets surrounding his mother’s disappearance. And then there are the everyday worries such as wanting to make the elite fútbol team.
When a lost soul shows up at his door, Max uses his knowledge of the family legend to escort her to the mysterious Mañanaland. Muñoz alludes to the stakes of the journey, but while the travelers run into a bit of trouble, all obstacle
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Pam Munoz Ryan's new book reads like a fable about immigrants fleeing from oppressive circumstances. Max's frustration with his father's secretive and overprotective nature makes sense until the final revelation at the end. If definitely has fable-like qualities from Max's ability to lead someone on a dangerous journey with only the words of a story to guide him to his father's quick acceptance of his decision to even undertake the journey on his own. Suspend your disbelief and go on this journe ...more
The Reading Countess
Woah. This is vastly different from any of Pam Munoz Ryan’s other books, yet it has the same thread winding itself through it along with all of her other highly decorated books: she doesn’t talk down to her readers.

This is an important book written and placed into the world at a time that we need to read it. The magical realism allows kids to take the bait-and hook, line and sinker they will.

Lots of rich discussions await the teacher, librarian, loving caretaker or young reader themselves in thi
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating story on so many levels. Yes, it is fiction and takes place in a made-up town "somewhere in the Americas," but the messages it teaches and the experiences that happen are very real. It is a story about family connections, about dreams, about searching for lost loved ones, and about "the hidden ones." I don't want to give too much away but think -- modern-day Underground Railroad. This is a story that middle-grade children could read and enjoy (the main character is 11) but has powe ...more
I'm not a big fan of quest adventure stories, but Pam Muñoz Ryan is such a talented writer that she had me hooked from the beginning. Some kids will get pulled in by the fútbol storyline, others will appreciate the fairy tale aspect, but close readers will see the refugee story told through legend and lore. This skews toward the younger end of middle grade, but it has a timeless feel that could attract some older readers too.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm a big fan of Pan Munoz Ryan but this was my least favorite of hers. I just kept waiting to hear why exactly the hidden ones needed to be hidden. Why were there so many that they needed to basically have an Underground Railroad for decades in place to take care of all these people? I liked the main story but felt like there were too many unanswered questions.
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Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author of the New York Times Best Seller, ECHO, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book, and winner of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books for young people—picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels. She the author recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, the Willa Cather Award, the Pura Belpré meda ...more

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“You will witness the best and the worst in people. Embrace the best and dismiss the worst. You are not doomed to live beneath other people's misguided notions. Rise above their narrowness. Pity them. And create your own noble worth.” 0 likes
“Stand firmly in the reality of today, or life will only disappoint you tomorrow” 0 likes
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