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From Pura Belpré Honor-winner Donna Barba Higuera—a brilliant journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.

"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes – truly a beautiful cuento."—New York Times

"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive."—The Wall Street Journal

★ "This tale packs a wallop. Exquisite."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

★ "Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

★ "A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others."—School Library Journal (starred)

Había una vez . . .

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.



But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether.

Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?

About the Author


Donna Barba Higuera grew up in Central California and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has spent her entire life blending folklore with her experiences into stories that fill her imagination. Now she weaves them to write picture books and novels. Donna's first book, Lupe Wong Won't Dance, won a PNBA Book Award and a Pura Belpré Honor.

The Last Cuentista is her second novel.

Praise For…


“The Last Cuentista is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, and centers family, community, and the oral histories that keep us together.”-Tor.com,


[STAR] “A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others.”- School Library Journal (starred),


[STAR] “Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic.”- Publishers Weekly (starred),


[STAR] “Higuera spins a tale that crosses the depths of space, interweaving Mexican folklore with a mystical strand of science fiction.”- Kirkus (starred),


“Readers will find in The Last Cuentista a promise that the past is not the enemy of the future, but a gift that grants the perspective to meet that future with compassion and bravery.”  - Bookpage,


"The brilliance of Higuera’s narrative is that it shows rather than tells us the power of story. As Petra shares her tales and they guide her shipmates out of darkness, readers will find corners of their own hearts illuminated as well. This book is gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes - truly a beautiful cuento.” - New York Times,


"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive.” - The Wall Street Journal,


Product Details
ISBN: 9781646140893
ISBN-10: 1646140893
Publisher: Levine Querido
Publication Date: October 12th, 2021
Pages: 336
Language: English

The Last Cuentista (Hardcover)