Did Nancy Drew keep her cool with a paleta? Probably not. Did the Hardy Boys keep their nerve with an extra dose of Cholula? Doubtful. Children’s and young adult mysteries have traditionally featured Anglo characters in settings lacking in diversity. René Saldaña Jr along with authors Sara Cortez, Dean James and Sharon Draper addressed this issue on a panel last week at the Texas Library Association annual conference. Titled Colorful Crimes: Diverse Characters in Mysteries, the panel was moderated by Jeannette Larson, author of the book Bringing Mysteries Alive for Children and Young Adults (Linworth, 2004.) Mysteries are a wonderful way to connect reluctant readers with an interesting plot series and the presence of diverse characters can only make that connection stronger. René’s bilingual mysteries for middle readers, include The Case of the Pen Gone Missing/El caso de la pluma perdida (Available from Lorito Books in audio) and The Lemon Tree Caper/La intriga del limonero. They feature the smart thoughtful Latino detective, Mickey Rangel, who has a crush on the prettiest girl in school and is dogged by the school tough guy. Situations any fifth grader can relate to!