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The Magical Closet Mystery

A Puerto Rican Adventure

In this enchanting, middle-grade novel by María Pérez-Gómez, three siblings are transported from their closet in Buffalo, New York to their homeland of Puerto Rico where they must uncover their family’s secret past and save the rainforest from desolation by harnessing the magic that sent them.

All Luca wants is to go back to Puerto Rico where everything was perfect, and their dad was still with them.

After their Papi passes away, siblings Luca, Magia, and Mateo move with their Mami from their beloved Puerto Rico to Buffalo, NY. They miss both their Papi and their homeland. So when a mysterious song from home calls from their closet, they follow it. Within moments, they find themselves in the middle of the mystical El Yunque rainforest—not as kids, but as a rooster, a frog, and a pig! And nothing is the way they expected.

Before long the siblings realize that they weren’t transported by accident—they were brought to help Puerto Rico after it was hit by not one but two hurricanes. But to do so, they must discover their own magical powers and get the help of the Sleeping Giant, a folk legend most don’t believe exists.

Along with Pito the Parrot, Guanito the Iguana and other rainforest creatures, Luca and his siblings must solve the secret to renew the hope of healing for everyone on the island.

Bonuses included:


  • Two original songs that readers can access through scannable QR codes.


  • Translations of Spanish words, phrases, and cultural concepts.



•    Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award – Silver, Multicultural 

•    International Latino Book Awards – Honorable Mention

  Author María Pérez-Gómez  


Born in Buffalo, NY, María Pérez-Gómez moved to Puerto Rico when she was eleven after the tragic loss of her baby brother. While she has lived in Buffalo for most of her adult life, María is “as boricua as a coquí.” She’s as profoundly Puerto Rican as the little frog whose constant song has made it emblematic of the island itself. Her greatest goal as an artist is to craft stories in which other Latino(é) children can see themselves and help children of all backgrounds develop resilience. In addition to being an author, María has a long history as a playwright, performer, and vocalist. She is Managing Director for Raíces Theatre Company, the only Latino(é) theatre company in western New York. She has written several plays and musicals for Raíces, including the ten-minute musical The Magical Closet, from which the book developed. Alongside her husband and children, María has performed the original play of The Magical Closet for dozens of audiences across the country. She also recently co-wrote and directed the play ISLEÑA alongside her sister. A lover of various mediums, María has partnered with local artists Sara Rodríguez, Alejandro Gómez, and renowned Puerto Rican composer, singer, and producer Manolo Ramos, for the music that accompanies this adventure. When Maria isn't creating, writing, or composing, she works as the Assistant Director at Vive, a shelter for asylum seekers. One of María’s greatest joys is being a mother to her three biological and two “bonus” children—and being married to the love of her life.

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