What If a Fish

What If a Fish cover
What If a Fish by Anika Fajardo

by Anika Fajardo

Simon & Schuster, 2020
240 pages

Ages 9-12

A sudden change in summer plans sees Little Eddie, 11, traveling to Cartagena, Colombia, where his late dad was from, to visit his half-brother. Big Eddie, 18, is caring for his ailing maternal grandmother, who wants to meet Little Eddie. Thinking of the end-of-summer fishing contest back home in Minnesota, Little Eddie hopes Big Eddie will teach him how to fish, like their father once taught him. Little Eddie barely remembers their dad, but knows he once entered the contest, too. But Big Eddie is resistant to fishing and preoccupied with caring for Abuela, who raised him after his mother’s death. Abuela, for her part, calls Little Eddie “Tito” and shares stories about his dad when he courted and married her daughter. She also helps him understand and experience the beauty and magic of Colombia. After Abuela’s death, Big Eddie accompanies Little Eddie back to Minnesota. Little Eddie still hopes his brother will teach him how to fish in time for the contest, but Big Eddie is moody and withdrawn. He’s grieving, Little Eddie’s mom, who is white, explains. Still, it hurts. So does the behavior of Little Eddie’s friend Cameron, who seems to have gone from a girl unafraid of being her singular self to follower of a trio of racist siblings who taunt him. A captivating narrative voice, deftly managed plot, and complex characters propel a story exploring identity, grief, loss, friendship, and, above all, love and family.  ©2020 Cooperative Children’s Book Center