Review: The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie by Frederick Luis Aldama, illus. by Chris Escobar

Reviewed by Elena Foulis

SUMMARY FROM OHIO STATE PRESS: In their debut picture book, Frederick Luis Aldama and Chris Escobar invite young readers along on the adventures of Chupacabra Charlie, a polite, handsome, and unusually tall ten-year-old chupacabra yearning for adventure beyond the edge of los Estados Unidos. Little does Charlie know when he befriends a young human, Lupe, that together, with only some leftover bacon quesadillas and a few cans of Jumex, they might just encounter more adventure than they can handle. Along the way, they meet strange people and terrifying danger, and their bravery will be put to the test. Thankfully, Charlie is a reassuring and winsome companion who never doubts that he and Lupe will return safely home.

With magical realism, allegory, and gentle humor, Aldama and Escobar have created a story that will resonate with young and old readers alike as it incorporates folklore into its subtle take on the current humanitarian crisis at the border.

MY TWO CENTS: Based on real and imagined tales, The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie, tells the story of a young Chupacabra whose life at the border is full of adventure, if you dare to follow. Charlie lives in the attic of a Bordertown in Mexico. He tells the reader about how, although considered a monster and sometimes feared, he is a kid who is looking for adventures. He tells us about his family life, and we see and read about the importance of family, education, and creativity. For example, the author and illustrator provide a wonderful scene of Charlie’s family dinner, the long tradition of family storytelling and the importance of listening to and learning from these stories. The story provides a great, balanced view of the value of learning in formal and informal settings and of using our imaginations to solve problems. The storyline always warns us about forgetting those family values and how that sometimes leads into negative stereotypes that can affect an entire community. While this is a children’s story, the writing and illustrations help young readers see how the poor choices of a few bad apples can impact the welfare of others.

Despite some of the obstacles and negative perceptions that Charlie faces, this story is about a voyage of bravery, and the meaning of friendship, even with people who do not look like you. We can choose to share life together. Charlie’s new friend, Lupe, becomes Charlie’s partner in an adventure that provides more than a thrill for them; indeed, their mission becomes to free children al otro lado of The Wall, who have been kept in cages. This young readers’ book is refreshing in the way it incorporates life at the border, through bilingualism and storytelling rooted in Latin American traditions such as Realismo Mágico.

One thing that catches our attention is the use of Spanish. While it only incorporates a few words and phrases, it only writes them in italics once, and if the word or phrase is used again, it uses the same font as the rest of the story. This is significant, in my view, because it allows the reader—who may or may not be bilingual—to pause, but then it expects them to learn and normalize bilingualism. Indeed, much of what this book presents are topics that are often complex or controversial and frequently void of the human perspective. More specifically, in the thinking about The Wall that separates the U.S. and Mexico, accepting people’s use of Spanish as part of who they are, and the reality of family separation at the border, which includes putting young kids in detention centers that are cage-like, often times, we forget to broadly think about how real people are deeply affected by all of this. The book tackles those topics in a way that is natural and promotes acceptance and heroism, as we dare to imagine that we can all do something to make someone else’s life a little or a lot easier.

Lastly, the illustrations are detailed and complement the storyline beautifully. I like how the images pay attention to details of city and rural life, highlighting cultural and geographical markers with care, such as el paletero, los nopales, the Wall, and even the flying car and the jar of pickles.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederick Luis Aldama is Irish-Guatemalan and Mexican Latinx. His mamá was a bilingual elementary school teacher in California. As a kid, he couldn’t get enough of his abuelita’s stories of El Chupacabra, La Llorona, and El Cucuy. Today he is a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University. He is the author, coauthor, editor, and coeditor of 36 books.

 

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Chris Escobar is a printmaker and cartoonist currently living in Savannah, Georgia. He has an MFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Chris has created illustrations for the comic anthology Floating Head and editorial illustrations for Dirt Rag magazine, among other publications.

 

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Elena Foulis has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of Arkansas. Her research and teaching interests include U.S. Latina/o literature, and Digital Oral History. Dr. Foulis is currently working on a digital oral history project about Latin@s in Ohio, which is being archived at the Center for Folklore Studies’ internet collection. Some of these narratives can be found in her iBook titled, Latin@ Stories Across Ohio. She is also producer and host of Ohio Habla.

 

Our Stories Are the Remedios We Need Right Now

by Tracey T. Flores

I think about my city and all the changes that it’s been through. And all the changes that will come. But I know that here in our little house, there are things that will always be the same.  ~from My Papi has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña, tells the story of young Daisy Ramona, a girl who eagerly awaits her Papi’s return home after a long day at work. When he arrives, Daisy Ramona and her Papi will take a ride through their city on the back of his motorcycle. Their ride takes us on a journey through their changing neighborhood, where we get a glimpse into the places and people that make her community so special. On their ride, Daisy and her Papi pass the local panadería where they buy conchas on Sunday mornings, the post office, and their abuelito’s yellow house (where the food always tastes better). They greet each person they meet with a nod of the head or a wave, letting readers see the closeness of this comunidad. Daisy’s ride with her Papi reminds us that although the world outside their home is changing, the love inside will always stay the same.

I love this cuento. I have shared it with my 4-year old daughter, Milagros, my graduate students in our family-and-community literacies course, and the mamas that I work alongside and learn from at our partner school. Recently, I revisited this cuento and found healing and comfort in it, like a warm bowl of sopa de fideo.

Currently, when I watch the news, it is easy to feel scared and helpless. The impact of this moment on our familias and comunidades is real and heartbreaking. At times, I have found it difficult to imagine our world after this moment. Will my parents be okay? How will my daughter remember this time? What will our comunidades look like after this moment?

In these questioning moments, these moments of uncertainty, I am finding healing, comfort and strength in the lessons and wisdom of our collective Latinx stories.

In our stories, I feel the deep, unconditional love that is the foundation of our familias.

In our stories, I remember every day moments with my loved ones.

In our stories, I bear witness to the fight of our Nanas and Tatas and the obstacles they have overcome in their lives so that we can thrive.

In our stories, I am gifted our history and the wisdom and lessons of our ancestors we carry with us as tools of resistance, hope and survival.

It is in the telling and retelling of our stories that I remember good times, where I am reminded that although the world outside our homes is changing, there are things like our familial love, the strength of our comunidades, and the fight of our gente that will always stay the same.

I offer more cuentos for you to turn to in this moment. From these cuentos, our cuentos, I hope you find peace, comfort and healing. In addition, I invite you to reflect on and remember the cuentos from your own life, those gifted to you by your elders, and those you share with the younger generations—write them down, record them, create art around them—and never forget them, for they are your strengths.

Abuelita Full of Life/Llena de vida

Written by Amy Costales & Illustrated by Martha Aviles

When José goes to the park with Abuelita, they have a walk. At first he misses his bike. But, he likes when Abuelita holds his hand and he can feel the strength that flows beneath her wrinkly skin. She teaches him the names of the trees and the flowers they see on the way. José is amazed by how much he used to miss by rushing by on his bike.

These words capture the loving relationship that José develops with his abuelita when she comes to live with the family. Abuelita brings life, love and pride into their home. In her company, he learns healing remedies, the beauty of English and Spanish, and the deep love of his abuelita. This book reminds me of the wisdom and love that is deeply rooted and embodied in the stories, histories and ways of knowing and being of our Nanas, Tatas, and Abuelitos, and the healing that comes from their presence in our lives.

 

Tía Isa Wants a Car

Written by Meg Medina & Illustrated By Claudio Muñoz

But Tía Isa is already touching the front seat, big enough for three. She nods when I show her there’s room in the back for more of us, who’ll come soon.

“You’re right mi hija,” she says. “This one will take us all where we want to go.”

 Tía Isa shares with the family that she wants to buy a car. Her declaration is met with resistance and ridicule from everyone except her young niece, who imagines all the places this car will take them. Together, Tía Isa and her niece save money to buy a car, one big enough for the entire family to travel to the sea. This cuento truly touches my heart, as I see the faces of all the women in my familia represented in Tía Isa. In this cuento, I remember the strength, determination and creativity of my own mama, nana and tias, and I think about the ways they always speak and manifest their dreams and goals into reality for our entire family. It also reminds me of the strong bond of our familias and the importance of always sticking together.

In My Family/En mi familia

Written & Illustrated By Carmen Lomas Garza

My grandmother is holding a baby. She was holding the babies. And, feeding them, and putting them to sleep.

Through detailed illustrations and short vignettes, artist Carmen Lomas Garza captures the essence of the love for her familia and comunidad that are central to her childhood memories of growing up in Kingsville, Texas. Each illustration features special moments spent with her familia as they gathered for birthday parties, to cook tamales, to make cascarons and dance en el jardín. This book reminds me of the beauty and remedios of our family memories and the joy that is present in our daily lives.

The Christmas Gift/El regalo de la navidad

Written by Francisco Jiménez and Illustrated by Claire B. Cotts

Most of us have a favorite Christmas story to tell…Like all of my short stories, it is based on an experience I had as a child…It took place in a farm labor tent camp in Corcoran, California.

Author and storyteller Francisco Jiménez (Panchito) shares a Christmas story from his childhood. A few days before Christmas, the family had just moved again to a new camp to find work, money and food was scarce. For Christmas, Panchito was hoping to receive a red ball. When he awoke on Christmas day to find that he did not receive a ball, but a bag of candy, he was disappointed, until he saw the thoughtful gift that his father gave to his mother. I love all books written by Francisco Jiménez, and this book is one of my favorite stories to share with others. In his story, I am reminded of my own family, especially my mother and father, and all the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our family. It makes me remember the important things in life – our health, our bond as a family and the gift of being together.

Imagine

Written By Juan Felipe Herrera & Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

If I jumped up high into my papi’s army truck and left our village of farmworkers and waved adios to my amiguitos. Imagine.

 Poet Juan Felipe Herrera journeys us through his life recounting moments of both triumph and struggle as he continued imagining the future. His words take us from the village where he lived as a small child, to his first day of school in a new country, all the way to the steps of the Library of Congress where he reads his poetry and signs his books with “Poet Laureate of the United States.” The poetry of his experiences that he shares can teach us to always imagine endless possibilities for our lives and our worlds. In his words, I am reminded to always have hope and to never stop being a learner.

 

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Written by Anika Aldamuy Denise & Illustrated by Paola Escobar

Now a published author, puppeteer, and storyteller, Pura travels from branch to branch, classroom to classroom, to churches and community centers…planting her story seeds in the hearts and minds of children new to this island who wish to remember la lengua y los colores of home.

 This book stories the life of librarian, author, puppeteer, and storyteller Pura Belpré. As the first children’s librarian from Puerto Rico, Pura Belpré planted seeds of cuentos from her homeland, retelling traditional stories, in English and Spanish, to bilingual children and families in New York. Noticing a lack of Spanish books in the library, Pura Belpré wrote and published the traditional stories she orally shared and opened space in the library for the Spanish-speaking comunidad to feel included and at home. This book reminds me of the power of our stories and the necessity of sharing them with others. Also, the importance of writing and recording them for future generations.

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation

Written and Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

The Mendez family did not give up. Time and time again, Sylvia hear her father talk with coworkers, friends, and other parents. “It’s not fair that our kids have to go to an inferior school,” he said. “It’s not only the building that’s a problem—the teachers at school don’t care about our children’s education. They expect them to drop out by the eighth grade. How will our children succeed and become doctors, lawyers and teachers?”

 This book tells the true story of Sylvia Mendez and her parents’ fight to end school segregation in California in the historic Mendez v. Westminster decision. The Mendez decision was reached seven years prior to the Brown V. Board of Education case which dismantled the “separate but equal” doctrine in public education. From this story, we learn about the key role that our familias and comunidades had in the desegregation of our schools, which is often absent from the history we learn in school. In this book, I witness the courage and advocacy of the Mendez family and I am reminded of our proud history and our collective power when we come together.

Tracey T. Flores is an assistant professor of language and literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a former English Language Development (ELD) and English language arts teacher, working for eight years in K-8 schools throughout Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona. Tracey is the founder of Somos Escritoras/We Are Writers (www.somosescritoras.com), a creative space for Latina girls (grades 6-8) that invites them to write, share and perform stories from their lived experiences using art, theater and writing as a tool for reflection and examination of the worlds. She can be contacted at: tflores@austin.utexas.edu and on Twitter @traceyhabla.

Don’t miss Tracey’s write-up for Latinxs in Kid Lit about her work with Somos Escritoras! 

 

 

Book Review: Señorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), illus. by Marcos Almada Rivero

 

Review by Dora M. Guzmán

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Rhyming text and lively illustrations showcase the epic trip taken by the monarch butterflies. At the end of each summer, these international travelers leave Canada to fly south to Mexico for the winter–and now readers can come along for the ride! Over mountains capped with snow, to the deserts down below. Children will be delighted to share in the fascinating journey of the monarchs and be introduced to the people and places they pass before they finally arrive in the forests that their ancestors called home.

MY TWO CENTS: Señorita Mariposa is a tribute to the monarch butterfly and its annual journey to and from their ancestral home. Mister G’s lyrical text in both English and Spanish not only demonstrate a fondness of the monarch, but also its journey to Mexico.

The bilingual lyrical text is playful, yet informative. Both languages are side by side, and if the reader looks closely, sometimes the languages alternate on the text. For example, on one page, the English lyrical text is first, and on the following page, the Spanish text is first. It is a great fit for bilingual readers who may read and sing in both languages.

The vibrant, bold illustrations immediately catch the reader’s eye. The illustrator, Marcos Almada Rivero, did astonishing work with the play of colors and tones, as well as detail to the entire scenery that includes different scenes along the monarch’s journey. It warmed my heart that the illustrator used inclusive images, representing children with disabilities, as well as different cultures and religions. Overall, the reader is astounded by the lively images and use of various strokes and textured details. These capture the reader while singing and reading along.

For a look at some of the internal images, CLICK HERE to go to a page on the illustrator’s website.

The author includes a note that includes a website for readers to join in conserving the monarch butterfly (www.mistergsongs.com/mariposa). A fun, engaging bilingual addition to literacy units that focus on animals, migration, and conservation!

TEACHING TIPS: Many of these teaching moments can be implemented in a grades K-5 setting, with a focus on the primary grades.

  • Writing Mentor Text
    • Students can create their own lyrical text about another animal that migrates while using this text as a writing mentor text.
    • Readers and writers can identify words that describe the butterfly and/or its journey. They can find synonyms for the word and/or use it in their own writing.
  • Rhyming words
    • Readers can identify words that rhyme in either language.
  • Supporting fluency development
    • Readers can reread the text to develop phrasing and automaticity skills
    • Readers can sing along with text in order to build fluency in both languages.
  • Researching beyond the text
    • Students can engage in research on the conservation of the monarch butterfly

Read (and sing) along with Mister G as he reads this book about the amazing monarch butterfly in both English and Spanish!

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book): Ben Gundersheimer is a Latin GRAMMY Award-winning artist, author, activist, and educator. Hailed as a “bilingual rock star” by the Washington Post, he was originally dubbed ‘Mister G’ by his young students while pursuing a master of education degree. His dynamic bilingual performances aim to dissolve borders and foster cross-cultural connections. Señorita Mariposa, based on his original song of the same title, is his first picture book. He lives in the woods of Western Massachusetts with his wife, Katherine, a rescue mutt, Josie, and cat Chloe Bird.

Learn more about the Mariposa Project and Mister G here!

 

Image result for Marcos Almada RiveroABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Marcos Almada Rivero has written and illustrated several picture books, including the Oscar the Opossum series, and created the artwork for Ben Gundersheimer’s albums. He has degrees in communication and children’s literature and works on animation projects as a writer, illustrator, art director, and animator. He lives in Mexico, where he leads workshops on books and animation at book fairs, at movie festivals, and for children in underserved communities.

Learn more about Marcos and his artwork here!

 

 

img_0160ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Dora M. Guzmán is a bilingual reading specialist for grades K-5 and also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Children’s Literature and Teaching Beginning Literacy. She is also a current doctoral student in NLU’s  EDD Teaching and Learning Program with an emphasis on Reading, Language, and Literacy.  When she is not sharing her love of reading with her students, you can find her in the nearest library, bookstore, or online, finding more great reads to add to her never-ending “to read” pile!

Book Review: Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

 

Review by Cris Rhodes

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.

If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he’d make Santa Maria’s celebrated fútbol team and whether he’d ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won’t talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret–involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety–he decides to seek answers on his own.

With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo’s legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds.

MY TWO CENTS: Pam Muñoz Ryan is known for her immersive, fictional worlds and her sympathetic storylines. Mañanaland is no different, throwing its reader into Santa Maria and its mysterious history without preamble. Initially, I thought that this might be a fairytale land, populated with knights and princesses in castles, but Muñoz Ryan quickly smooths over that assumption by having Max, our earnest protagonist, be a soccer (fútbol) loving young man. Other indicators, such as the presence of cars, lend to the understanding that this is at least a quasi-modern world. Nevertheless, the bubble of fantasy remains throughout the reading, owing to Max’s belief in the everyday magic of his world.

Max grew up on the tales of La Reina Gigante, the looming and off-limits tower in his hometown. Local folklore tells of its haunting by the “hidden ones,” refugees escaping the neighboring country of Abismo. Fueled by his grandfather’s, Buelo’s, tales of his journeys and encounters with other mystical beings, Max entertains the idea that hidden worlds exist–perhaps even hidden worlds that contain his missing mother. 

The truth, however, blends the fantastic with the mundane. I’m hesitant to give anything away here, as I urge everyone to read Mañanaland for themselves. The reveal of Max’s true past, his mother’s fate, and his family’s secret is worth the wait. And, if I could register one complaint with the book, it would be that: waiting. The pacing of the text is quite slow in the beginning, leaving the reader wondering alongside Max if he’ll ever be trusted to learn or do anything. However, once Max understands his place in the world, the text whirls by–a journey of heart and valor.

Paralleling Mañanaland’s plot, which Muñoz Ryan admits takes place “[s]omewhere in the Américas,” is the real-world plight of our own hidden ones, the refugees entering the United States in search of something better. Santa Maria’s legend holds the hidden ones as either victims or criminals. With anti-immigrant sentiment in our own country perpetuating the myth of immigrants fleeing their own Abismos as a threat, reading a book like Mañanaland unsettles that ideology, cracks it open to show its flaws. I find myself saying this in almost all of my reviews, but this book folds its sociopolitically exigency seamlessly into its pages. With so many young readers experiencing these dark messages either about themselves, their families, or people they know–a book like Mañanaland can help them understand and feel seen, but also look for ways they can help, just like Max.

All-in-all, I found Mañanaland to be a quick, immersive, and necessary read. For young readers graduating from shorter chaptered books, this would be a great introductory text to longer novels. Like Muñoz Ryan’s other middle-grade works, however, Mañanaland appeals not just to a tweenage readership, but to many. It would be a great read aloud for younger readers and it would be something I’d put in the hands of my college seniors. With its emphasis on hope, growth, and change, Mañanaland will easily join the esteemed ranks of Muñoz Ryan’s other works.

Mañanaland releases March 3, 2020.

 

Pam Munoz RyanABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pam Muñoz Ryan is an American author and the 2018 U.S. nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. She is the author of ECHO, a Newbery Honor book and the recipient of the Kirkus Prize. She has written over forty books, including the novels ESPERANZA RISING, BECOMING NAOMI LEÓN, RIDING FREEDOM, PAINT THE WIND,  THE DREAMER, and ECHO. She is the author recipient of the National Education Association’s Civil and Human Rights Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for Multicultural Literature, and is twice the recipient of the Pura Belpré Medal and the Willa Cather Award.

Her novel, ESPERANZA RISING, was commissioned as a play by the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre and has been performed in many venues around the U.S. including The Goodman in Chicago, and the Majestic Cutler Theater, in Boston.

Other selected honors include the PEN USA Award, the Américas Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, and the Orbis Pictus Award. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, (formerly Pam Bell) holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from San Diego State University and lives near San Diego with her family.  Many of her stories reflect her half-Mexican heritage.

 

 

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Cris Rhodes is an assistant professor of English at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. She teaches courses of writing, culturally diverse literature, and ethnic literatures. In addition to teaching, Cris’s scholarship focuses on Latinx youth and their literature or related media. She also has a particular scholarly interest in activism and the ways that young Latinxs advocate for themselves and their communities

Book Review: A New Home/ Un Nuevo Hogar by Tania de Regil

 

Review by Dora M. Guzmán

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: As a girl in Mexico City and a boy in New York City ponder moving to each other’s locale, it becomes clear that the two cities — and the two children — are more alike than they might think.

But I’m not sure I want to leave my home.
I’m going to miss so much.

Moving to a new city can be exciting. But what if your new home isn’t anything like your old home? Will you make friends? What will you eat? Where will you play? In a cleverly combined voice — accompanied by wonderfully detailed illustrations depicting parallel urban scenes — a young boy conveys his fears about moving from New York City to Mexico City while, at the same time, a young girl expresses trepidation about leaving Mexico City to move to New York City. Tania de Regil offers a heartwarming story that reminds us that home may be found wherever life leads. Fascinating details about each city are featured at the end.

MY TWO CENTS: A New Home/ Un Nuevo Hogar is a friendly comparison of what home means for two, young characters. More importantly, it showcases the intricacies of each character’s home and the memories that make each city special. Each page has bold visuals that highlight each piece of home and what makes it unique to each child. One child lives with his family in New York City, while another child lives with her family in Mexico City. Now, the twist comes in when both of these children will be moving to a new home, which happens to be the location where the other child is currently living. So, think of it as a home location swap! While the text is simple, the reader deeply connects to each child’s life in the city, like their versions of food, concerts, museums, and sports events. The illustrations also hold details that are representative of landmarks from each city. More importantly, each set of pages illustrate what the child will miss the most from their home. The text is available in English and Spanish.

Overall, an addition that represents diverse cities and what makes each one a home. I highly recommend it as a read aloud, or as a part of a community and/or identity unit. At the end of the picture book, the author has also included information on each city’s landmark that is represented in the story. Great for more in-depth research and learning about what makes each major city memorable! Students can also create their own text while using this text as a writing mentor text. In the end, the reader embraces that our homes go beyond the physical location of where we live. Home is the history, the music, the people; in other words, it is everything around us.

TEACHING TIPS: Many of these teaching moments can be implemented in a grades K-5 setting, with a focus on the primary grades.

  • Researching beyond the text
    • Illustrations leave ample room for readers to engage in looking for cultural artifacts, like landmarks, clothing, and traditions from each major city
      • Students can research these landmarks and why it is so important to the city and culture.
  • Comparing and Contrasting focus
    • Compare and contrast major cities like New York City and Mexico City
    • Students can research more about each major city and compare it to their current location.
    • Students can compare major cities or locations, especially if they have experienced a move
    • Creating their own book, report, piece of art
  • Students can create their own book or report on what they love about their home, city, region, and/or country. Students can then present or create written or artistic pieces that showcases all of our homes, and what we will miss if you were to move.

 

CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILERS:

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATOR: Tania de Regil studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City before moving back to her native Mexico City, where she finished her degree. A New Home is her U.S. publishing debut. She lives in Mexico City with her filmmaker husband and travels to the United States frequently.

Her art encompasses a diverse set of media like watercolor, gouache, color pencils, wax pastels, and ink. Both of her debut picture books are published by Candlewick Press. Check out her author page here!

For more information about Tania de Regil, click HERE for a short Q&A that is a part of our Spotlight on Latina Illustrators series.

 

 

img_0160ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Dora M. Guzmán is a bilingual reading specialist for grades K-5 and also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Children’s Literature and Teaching Beginning Literacy. She is also a current doctoral student in NLU’s  EDD Teaching and Learning Program with an emphasis on Reading, Language, and Literacy.  When she is not sharing her love of reading with her students, you can find her in the nearest library, bookstore, or online, finding more great reads to add to her never-ending “to read” pile!

September & October Latinx Book Deals

 

Compiled by Cecilia Cackley

This is a bi-monthly series keeping track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. The purpose of this series is to celebrate book deals by authors and illustrators in our community and to advocate for more of them. If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc. If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! And if I left anyone out here, please let me know! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to com

 

October 31

Nancy Mercado at Dial has bought world rights to Flora la Fresca, first in a young middle grade series by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Sujean Rim, in a two-book deal. When fearless and fun-loving Flora Bayano’s best friend Clara breaks the news that she’s moving, the girls set out to find Flora a new BFF, only to discover that replacing one friend with another is more complicated than it seems. Publication is planned for 2021. Author agent: Kimberly Witherspoon at InkWell Management.

 

Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has bought world rights to Watch Me by parenting influencer Doyin Richards, illustrated by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Joe Cepeda, a picture book about the challenges of immigrating to America and the many contributions that immigrants make. Publication is slated for spring 2021. Illustrator agent: Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

 

October 29

Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired world rights to Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker. This picture book biography celebrates the contributions of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman in Congress who eventually sought the Democratic U.S. presidential nomination, and highlights the many verbs Shirley embodied throughout her life. Publication is set for summer 2020. Author agent: Kimberly Witherspoon at InkWell Management.

 

October 24

Andrea Colvin at Little, Brown has acquired Deya Muniz‘s debut middle-grade graphic novel, The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and a second book, in which Lady Camembert, a denizen of the Kingdom of Fromage, must disguise herself as a man to inherit her father’s estate, but her secret becomes difficult to keep once she falls in love with the royal Princess Brie. Publication will begin in spring 2021.

 

Jess Harold at Scholastic has bought, at auction, world rights to Bisa’s Carnaval by Joana Pastro, illustrated by Carolina Coroa, a picture book told through the eyes of a girl eager to celebrate Carnaval with her bisa (great-grandmother), complete with bright costumes, flowers, feathers, and plenty of glitter. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Author agent: Natascha Morris at BookEnds Literary. Illustrator agent: Amanda Hendon at Advocate Art.

 

October 22

Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired world rights to ¡Canta Conmigo! The Story of Selena Quintanilla, a debut picture book by author and Corpus Christi native Diana López, illustrated by Teresa Martinez. Known as the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena never forgot her roots in Corpus Christi and continues to inspire others to follow their dreams. Publication is set for April 2021, to coincide with what would have been Selena’s 50th birthday. Author agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary. Illustrator agent: Emily Coggins at Astound.

 

Kate DePalma at Barefoot Books has bought world rights to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Lisa Rosinsky, writing as Skye Silver, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson (While You Are Sleeping). This sing-along book features a modern family enjoying a day of healthy habits, set to the familiar children’s tune. Publication is scheduled for autumn 2020.

 

October 17

None.

 

October 10

Stacy Whitman at Tu Books has acquired Echoes of Grace by Pura Belpré Award-winning author Guadalupe García McCall. In this YA gothic mystery set on the border, Grace’s relationship with her younger sister, Mercy, is fractured when Mercy’s two-year-old son is accidentally killed, bringing to the surface old traumas and literal ghosts as the family flounders to heal. Publication is planned for spring 2021. Author agent: Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency.

 

Ashley Hearn at Page Street has bought Amparo Ortiz‘s YA debut, Blazewrath, a contemporary fantasy pitched as How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch Through the Ages, about 17-year-old Lana Torres, who after rescuing a prized dragon from an attacker is awarded a spot on her native Puerto Rico’s Blazewrath World Cup team. But the return of the Sire, an ancient dragon who’s cursed to remain in human form, threatens to compromise this year’s tournament. Publication is set for fall 2020. Author agent: Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker.

 

October 8

Margaret Raymo at HMH/Versify has acquired Lola StVil‘s The Summer I Flew Away, in her debut middle grade work written as Marie Arnold, which follows 10-year-old Fabiola on her journey from her native Haiti to America as she reexamines the concepts of family and home and embraces a power all her own. Publication is planned for fall 2020. Author agent: Adrienne Rosado at Stonesong.

 

Alvina Ling at Little, Brown has acquired world rights to The Sock Thief: A Soccer Story author Ana Crespo‘s Hello, Tree, a story about the friendship between a girl and a tree, and the fire that threatens it, told through the perspective of the tree and inspired by the 2013 Black Forest Fire in Colorado. Dow Phumiruk (Counting on Katherine), winner of the 2019 Cook Prize, will illustrate. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Author agent: Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency.

 

October 3

Kait Feldmann at Scholastic/Orchard has bought Finding Home, the U.S. picture book debut of author-illustrator Estelí Meza. Conejo turns to his friends when his house is blown away in a storm; while they cannot find his house, they help him find his way. The book will be published in a simultaneous Spanish-language edition, Buscando un hogar, in spring 2021. Author agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

 

September 19

Kristen Pettit at HarperTeen has acquired Monica Gomez-Hira‘s Once Upon a Quinceañera in a six-figure, two-book auction. Pitched as Jane the Virgin meets Jenny Han, the YA debut follows a Miami party princess/performer-for-hire forced to work her loathsome, wealthy cousin’s quinceañera alongside her even more loathsome ex-boyfriend. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Author agent: Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

 

Mallory Kass at Scholastic has acquired Zoraida Córdova‘s middle grade debut, The Way to Rio Luna. Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde discovers a magical book at the library that holds a map to an enchanted fairyland, and the key to reuniting with his missing sister. Along with unlikely friends—a runaway jackalope prince and a bookworm named Glory—Danny’s adventure takes him from New York to Ecuador to Brazil, racing against time and the greatest threat the magical realm has ever known. Publication is set for summer 2020. Author agent: Adrienne Rosado at Stonesong.

 

September 17

Liza Kaplan at Philomel has bought world rights to former Knopf Books for Young Readers senior editor Allison Wortche‘s picture book, Oliver’s Lollipop, about a boy who just wants a sweet treat and almost misses out on a fun day at the zoo—and the beauty of the world around him—until a pesky giraffe and his little brother help remind him what’s really important. Andrés Landazabal will illustrate; publication is planned for summer 2021. Illustrator agent: Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency.

 

September 12

Trisha de Guzman at Farrar, Straus and Giroux has bought world rights to debut author Tootie Nienow‘s nonfiction picture book There Goes Patti McGee!, illustrated by Erika Medina. The book follows Patti McGee, the first-ever female professional skateboarder, and how she became the 1964 Woman’s National Skateboard Champion. Publication is slated for winter 2021.

 

Kelsey Skea at Amazon/Two Lions has acquired Jackie Azúa Kramer‘s We Are One, which celebrates friendship between children from different backgrounds. The book will be jointly illustrated by Raissa Figueroa (center) and Nina Mata; publication is planned for spring 2021. Illustrator agent: Natascha Morris at BookEnds Literary Agency.

 

September 10

Namrata Tripathi at Kokila has acquired, on exclusive submission, Sanctuary by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, author of the forthcoming Undocumented America. The YA novel follows Marcela, a 16-year-old New Yorker and budding journalist whose world comes crashing down when she finds out her father is scheduled for immediate deportation. When he seeks sanctuary at a local church, Marcela finds herself fighting for her father’s rights and fending off exploitative media outlets she once hoped to join. Publication is set for fall 2021. Author agent:  Peter Steinberg at Foundry Literary + Media.

 

September 5

Katie Cunningham at Candlewick has acquired world rights to ‘Twas the Night Before Pride, a picture book by debut author Joanna McClintick, illustrated by Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina. On the eve of the LGBTQ+ community’s biggest holiday, a queer family prepares for the next day’s festivities, remembering the revelry of years past, revisiting the history behind the first Pride march, and reaffirming what it means to have pride. Publication is set for spring 2022. Illustrator agent: Gillian MacKenzie at MacKenzie Wolf.

 

Kate DePalma at Barefoot Books has signed Dance Like a Leaf by debut author AJ Irving, illustrated by Claudia Navarro (La Frontera). The bittersweet story follows a girl coping with the decline and death of her grandmother and finding comfort in the autumn leaves they used to enjoy together. Publication is slated for fall 2020.

 

 

cecilia-02-originalCecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc