The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora


Summer is just beginning and Arturo Zamora is about to start his first job at his family’s restaurant, La Cocina de la Isla.  Thinking he’ll be able to start in the kitchen where his mother is head chef, Arturo is disappointed to learn he’ll be spending his summer wet and soapy while washing dishes.  His summer takes an interesting turn when a family friend and his daughter Carmen move into the apartment complex where Arturo and his entire extended family live.   


This idea of an entire family living in one apartment building is both intriguing and terrifying.  The Zamoras are a very tight-knit and supportive family.  The grandparents immigrated from Havana, Cuba and worked hard to start their first business, the restaurant that is now owned by their daughter Cari.  Aunts, Uncles, cousins, and Arturo himself work at the restaurant and everyone is invested in the success.  Every Sunday the restaurant is closed so the family can have dinner together.  The fact that Cari can cook all day long, six days a week, and then put on a big family dinner on Sunday is amazing.  That’s a superpower.  Dealing with family 24/7 is another one.  


The themes of family and hard work are reinforced over and over again.  When a developer named Wilfrido Pipo tries to convince the community and city council that a high dollar development is better for the community than the restaurant expanding, Arturo and Carmen work together to stop him.  Between undercover missions, festival protests, an unexpected death, and city council meetings, the kids realize that working together with the family and never giving up is the only way to win.  


Highly recommend for those 10 & up.