Pardalita (2021)

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16-year-old Raquel lives in a small town in Portugal, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Her parents are divorced and she’s just been suspended for cursing out a school aide asking about her father’s new marriage. She has two best friends, Luísa and Fred, but wants something more. Then, from afar, she sees Pardalita, a senior and a gifted artist who’s moving to Lisbon to study in the fall. The two girls get to know each other while working on a play. And Raquel falls in love.

Using a gorgeous blend of prose poems, illustrations, and graphic novel format, author and artist Joana Estrela captures the feeling of being a teenager in a way that feels gentle, joyful, and real.

From: Levine Querido

Notes on This Title

This title was first published in Portuguese in 2021. An English translation was published in 2023.

The focal character is a queer teen girl.


Llibreter Prize for Best Children’s and YA Literature Book – Other Literatures


Starred Review: “Through a fledgling queer romance, the creator presents a story of change, connection, and transformation.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)

“Quietly resonant and sincerely told.” (Source: Kirkus Reviews)

“It’s not entirely accurate to call this a graphic novel. It’s one of those great hybrid novels that does so much. There’s drawings, short entries, poems, and sometimes page after page of nothing but illustrations.” (Source: Teen Librarian Toolbox)



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