I had never heard of Sarai Gonzalez, and I've never heard any kids talking about her, but apparently she appeared in a very popular music video a few years ago and is, according to her brief wikipedia page, a Latina icon. She'd be about 13 or 14 now and I'd guess from the style and the story that she's probably better known on the East Coast (she lives in New Jersey and the music video featured Brooklyn NY).
However! That's neither here nor there, as most of the kids I'm going to suggest this to are allowed limited, if any, access to utube. In her first book, Sarai is ten and has her own business making cupcakes. She has a normal relationship with her younger sisters and a large and supportive family. Sarai is ready for another awesome day when she gets bad news - her grandparents are going to have to move, since their rental house is being put up for sale. Sarai sets out to make enough money to buy the house that is central to her family's gatherings. First she tries baking cupcakes with her sisters, but they're too little to help and Sarai gets too bossy; it ends in disaster with little money to show for all her effort. Then she tries a lemonade stand, that morphs into a stand for chicha morada, a purple corn drink from Peru. Finally, she and her cousin Juju audition for a dance contest with a big prize.
In the end, the girls don't make it to the dance-off competition and they don't make enough money; but everything ends well as her family finds a new home that's right down the street where her grandparents and cousins can live and Sarai learns some lessons about being adaptable and listening to her sisters and family.
Although a bit rough and didactic, this is generally a very relatable story. Sarai and her family aren't wealthy by any means and although everything ends happily it's not a wish-fulfillment ending but a practical solution, finding another house and the family all working together to purchase it. Sarai has fights with her sisters, gets over-enthusiastic and messes up, and has grandiose plans that don't play out. She isn't immediately catapulted to stardom and she gets frustrated and upset. But her family is always there to help and the story gives readers a look into a warm and supportive, multi-generational family with a variety of traditions. Sarai and her family are shown going to church, partying with the family, and working together. Black and white illustrations show a variety of body types and skin colors and, in what might be my favorite part of the story, none of the many girls pictured are absurdly skinny. They're all healthy, happy, sturdy girls with a normal body for a child and the adult women show a variety of body types and sizes.
Verdict: While this may not be an everlasting classic, it's a great addition to diversify your beginning chapters and will be very attractive to readers (probably mostly girls) ages 7 and up.
ISBN: 9781338236682; Published August 2018 by Scholastic; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library