A present for you!
Here’s a bilingual playlist I pulled together in honor of Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, which will be in bookstores on April 6. If you attended the recent Candlewick Press 2021 preview event at ALA in January, you already received this in your virtual goodie bag. But for those of you who weren’t at ALA this winter, here’s a way to get in the mood for the book’s release. All pre-orders at the site of your choice are appreciated, of course.
I’ll have finals details for you soon about the virtual indie store book tour coming in April, where I’ll be talking all things Merci with some of my most admired friends in publishing. If you want a sneak peek at the dates and special guests we know so far, come over to the Events page. Remember, though, more are coming.
So on to the music.
You might not find all of these songs kid-friendly for students in elementary school, so listen first and pick your favorites. Why did each song make the list? Read on. Maybe readers will make their own list? I’d love to know what they’d put on their own playlist.
X/ Artist: Jonas Brothers, featuring Karol G
I’m sure this was on the DJ’s playlist at the Heart Ball. You can find a performance of this on You Tube that features some great dance moves that Merci would struggle with, for sure!
Con Calma/ Artist: Daddy Yankee
The twins and Lolo love to play a dance video game that features this tune.
Becky from the Block/ Artist: Becky G
Merci loves her family and her neighborhood. Even when she takes over Sol Painting Inc., some day, I think she’ll still be “Merci from the Block”.
Savage Remix/ Artist: Megan Thee Stallion, featuring Beyoncé
An example of a song that would make Abuela’s hair stand on end but that everyone else loves. It might also be what Edna sings to herself in the mirror as she gets ready for the Heart Ball!
Shower/ Artist: Becky G
Maybe this is how Merci secretly feels about Wilson…or is it still Jake Rodrigo who has her heart and makes her sing in the shower? You decide.
Ay Dios Mio!/ Artist: Karol G
The perfect song about Tía falling in love with Simón!
Cómo Fué/ Artist: Beny Moré
This is a famous old love ballad by beloved Cuban band leader Beny Moré. This is the song Abuela and Lolo were dancing to as Mami and Merci watched from outside.
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)/ Artist: Pitbull
I’m sure Tía Ines and Simón danced to this one on their date.
Oriza Eh/ Artist: Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco
This is an oldie but goodie – and a perfect song to learn to dance a merengue at The Suárez School of Latin Dance. It’s sung by Celia Cruz, one of the most popular Cuban singers of all time, in partnership with Dominican music legend Johnny Pacheco. I’m pretty sure I learned to merengue to this one myself!
Mayores/ Artist: Becky G, featuring Bad Bunny
I had to include Bad Bunny somewhere here, didn’t I? Here he is with Becky G. The lyrics reminded me of how Edna thinks she’s ready for “an older man” when she meets Vicente. (Bad idea, of course…)
Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors)/ Artist: Gloria Estefan
I have always loved this song by Gloria Estefan, another great Cuban musician. The lyrics are about opening new doors and closing old hurts… about how to move forward. In so many ways, the Suárez family has to do exactly that.
Milagro (Miracle)/ Artist: Gloria Estefan
This song is about how children are a miracle and a blessing in a family, which is what I think Mami and Papi would say about Merci, Roli and (even) the twins.