About Yamile Saied Méndez
Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary.
Mami looked at me, then at the bin at my feet. “What’s going on?” Her urgent tone frightened me. “What happened?”
“Mami,” I started saying, but then the mamacat peeked out of the bin as if she wanted to see who was talking. Beli and Juli saw the cat at the same time. Their reactions couldn’t have been more different. Julieta screamed like a banshee, and Beli exclaimed, “Un gatito? Ay, qué cute!” and walked briskly to me, her scarf trailing behind her. When she saw what was in the tub, she gasped and covered her mouth with her hands.
“Six gatitos!” she mumbled.
“Gatitos?” my mom shrieked. “Mami, for the love of summer, what do you mean?” “Shhh,” I said, not necessarily shushing my mom and my sister, but calming the mamacat, whose back was bristled up, prepared to attack these loud, menacing humans.
When I didn’t reply, Mami came over and looked down at the bin. Melting snow was already pooling at her feet. It was proof of how unexpected this was for her that she hadn’t even taken her boots off or demanded that Beli and Julieta did the same.
Mami was speechless. She just looked at me.
“I found them in the shed,” I said, standing between the cats and my mom. “There was a raccoon, and it was after them, Mami. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t let it eat the poor creatures.”
My heart pounded in my ears, and my throat felt so tight I couldn’t breathe right.
“Ay, mi amor,” Mami sighed, plopping on the sofa in the living room. She put her hands through her long hair that was wet and plastered on her head. “Cats? Six of them!”
“I hate cats!” said Julieta. “They’re like vampires with their claws and fangs. And all the hair!”
“They’re tiny,” I said in an even tinier voice.
Beli was kneeling next to the tub, petting the mamacat’s head. This was progress. My mom hardly ever said no to my sister, but to Beli? Anything my grandma said was the law.
“Let me explain,” I said in the calmest voice I could manage.
To her credit, Julieta didn’t interrupt me. Instead, after a cautious look at the kittens, she put the kettle on, and while I told the story of how I’d found the cats, she made hot chocolate for all, even for me.
Not wanting to ruin the moment, I left out crucial details, like how I had fed the mamacat the day before, and how I’d left the shed door open. Mami was smart, and eventually she’d put two and two together. For now, I needed time and the chance to prove I could help these poor gatos.
Title Random Acts of Kittens: A Wish Novel
Author Yamile Saied Méndez
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date December 26th 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon ● Chapters ● The Book Depository
When Natalia finds a lost cat with newborn kittens, she desperately wants to keep one. Whether or not her mami agrees to a new pet, Natalia will have to find homes for the rest of the litter. So she and her friend Reuben hatch the perfect plan: Using an anonymous account, Natalia announces to her classmates that she’ll be gifting kittens on Valentine’s Day.
As students vie to be matched with a cat, Natalia’s secrets pile up. Then, her former best friend, Meera, applies for a kitten. Suddenly, playing kitty match-maker gets a lot more complicated. Will her attempts to spread kindness help heal her friendships, or simply tear them farther apart?