The First Rule of Punk



The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez is an empowering book about a girl fighting for her right to express herself. It is funny at parts, sad at parts but it’s exciting all the way through! I feel like lots of people can read this story and see parts of themselves in Malú’s playful, determined personality and I think that is something really special. Well done Celia C. Pérez!

The First Rule of Punk was a unique story about Malú (or María Louisa), a girl who loves everything to do with punk. When Malú’s life is disrupted by a sudden move to Chicago, she thinks it’s all over but she quickly makes new friends and settles in. I love how diverse Malú’s character is and all the little details that make her more alive, like her being vegetarian or her love of making zines, or her favourite music. I think all of these characteristics make her less of a book character and more of a person. While Malú is fighting to keep the only thing she loves about Chicago together, she causes a whole lot of trouble but all the drama is worth it in this dynamic piece of writing.

This was such a fun story and it’s perfect to read.

By Lily, age 10


A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book

The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching. 

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.
The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.