Joaquin is Lily’s neighbor.  They have known each other since they were toddlers together in preschool.

They play in Lily’s backyard and are growing up like brother and sister.  Joaquin annoys Lily like brothers often do, and Lily puts him in his place when she needs to.

Joaquin is very competitive in sports and has to be reminded that there is more to life than just sports.

But Joaquin is lots of fun, and Lily is always amused by his antics (doing wheelies through the organic garden, setting up ridiculous obstacle courses in the backyard, using fruits and vegetables for play equipment).  He spends time at Lily’s house a lot because his widowed mom (she’s a policewoman) has to work late, and his dad (a former policeman) was killed in the line of duty.  

Because Lily’s mom (a nutritionist and organic gardener), and dad (a firefighter), have flexible work schedules, Joaquin spends lots of time with Lily and her parents.

Joaquin joins Lily in harvesting vegetables from the family’s organic garden as well as checking out the beehives, the chicken coops and the fruit orchard.

Although Joaquin is all about sports, he is actually fascinated with Lily’s family’s expansive backyard. Lily has convinced Joaquin that healthy eating will help him perform better in his sporting activities.  So, he humors her and agrees to eat some of her food concoctions.

Joaquin has even embraced Lily’s example to take care of all of nature’s creatures (capture the spider in the house and take it outside to safety), when possible.

Joaquin is kind and spirited like Lily is in many ways.  He just needs to be reminded sometimes to think about someone other than himself.

He has the opportunity to do that at Lily’s house, especially since Alex comes over there a lot too.  

In many ways, Joaquin is learning that it feels good to help others, like Alex.  Joaquin helps Alex learn to enjoy what he enjoys – sports, and Alex teaches Joaquin how to get better at sports by following certain rules of math (angles and the aerodynamics of hockey).