The Golden Hour (2021)


Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he’s teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.

Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.

From: Hachette Book Group

Notes on This Title

The main character of this title is a queer Latino boy. His experiences with PTSD are depicted.

An act of gun violence is a central incident of the book, but is only described, not shown on panel.


2022 Kirkus Prize Finalist
Kirkus Best Books of 2021
SLJ Best Books of 2021
NYPL’s Best Books of 2021


“Exceptionally graceful and delightful.” (Source: Kirkus Reviews)

“To say that I was moved by this beautiful and tender look at trauma, healing, and hope is an understatement.” (Source: Teen Librarian Toolbox)

“This is a story about healing and resiliency, new friendships, and even young love.” (Source: Graphic Medicine)


We Need Diverse Books: “Q&A With Niki Smith, The Golden Hour

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