Book Review: A Thousand White Butterflies written by Jessica Betancourt-Perez & Karen Lynn Williams, illus. by Gina Maldonado

.

We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

Review by Sanjuana Rodriguez

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Isabella recently immigrated from Colombia and is starting school midway through the year. But her first day is canceled due to snow, which looks like a thousand white butterflies as it falls. Being new to the United States is hard. Isabella misses Papa, and she’s nervous about making new friends. But snow days are special days–and maybe there’s a new friend waiting after all.

MY TWO CENTS: In the book A Thousand White Butterflies we meet a little girl named Isabella who has moved to the United States from Colombia. The book details her experience of moving to the U.S. while her dad stayed in Colombia. Isabella feels sad and misses her father. She is looking forward to the first day of school and sees it as an opportunity to make new friends. The next day, as she wakes up, she realizes that it is snowing outside and her first day of school in the U.S. will be cancelled. Isabella then sees a little girl playing outside and she decides to join her. Isabella and her new friend have fun playing in the snow, even though they are not able to understand each other.

This book is written for young readers and shares the immigration experiences through the eyes of a child. This book can teach children about the experience of feeling lonely and missing someone. The book is written in a simple way, but it does capture Isabella’s big feelings of sadness, loneliness, and joy. There were two great things that stood out as I read the book. The book features an intergenerational relationship between Isabella and her abuelita. Her abuelita is actually the person who points out that the snow is white “everything is white, so white. Mariposa wings dance in the sky. It looks like a thousand white butterflies.” I also like that there were words in Spanish that were used throughout the story and that these words were not followed by the direct translation of the words. The authors did provide a glossary at the end of the book for readers who are not bilingual.

The illustrations in the book are bright and colorful. The illustrations seem to fit the storyline and capture the complexity of Isabella’s feelings. The illustrations also add to the storyline as they feature important items from Colombia such as the ruana and the sombrero vueltiao. The authors’ note at the end of the book details how the authors met and also tell their own immigration stories. A section titled more info provides information about immigrants in the United States.

.

Abby Cooper photo

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jessica Betancourt-Perez is originally from Palmira, Colombia, and moved to the USA when she was 15 years old. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Saint Joseph and a master’s degree in School Psychology from Millersville University. She currently works as a school psychologist in a large suburban school district in York, Pennsylvania with children grades 4-6. She speaks English and Spanish fluently and has a passion for advocating for families and children in need. A Thousand White Butterflies is her debut picture book. Jessica lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

.

.

Africa in Our Lives: Karen Lynn Williams – African Studies Program –  UW–Madison

Karen Lynn Williams was born in Connecticut, and received her Master’s degree in deaf education. She has lived in Africa and in Haiti. Karen had an early dream to be one of the youngest published authors, starting a writing club at ten. However, Karen’s published works came later in life, after extensive travels and family experience. Karen’s ability to draw from personal experience and adapt into writing forms for all ages and interests expresses her true gift.

.

.

.

Gina Maldonado photo

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Gina Maldonado is a Colombian illustrator and print designer based in Hong Kong. Her work is inspired by nature and she is passionate about creating colourful and charming illustrations for picture books, games and products for clients all around the world. Gina studied architecture and interior design in Colombia, Mexico, and Italy, but after working as an interior designer for a couple of years, she discovered that her real passion was illustration.

.

.

.

.

ABOUT THE REVIEWER: Sanjuana C. Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor of Literacy and Reading Education in the Elementary and Early Childhood Department at Kennesaw State University. Her research interests include the early literacy development of culturally and linguistically diverse students, early writing development, literacy development of students who are emergent bilinguals, and Latinx children’s literature. She has published in journals such as Journal of Language and Literacy Education, Language Arts, and Language Arts Journal of Michigan.

Cover reveals for May Your Life Be Deliciosa and They’re So Flamboyant by Michael Genhart, illus. by Loris Lora and Tony Neal

.

We are delighted to host the cover reveals for TWO of Michael Genhart’s upcoming picture books: May Your Life Be Deliciosa, which releases September 14, 2021 with Cameron Kids, and They’re So Flamboyant, which releases October 19, 2021 with Magination Press.

.

First, here’s a description of May Your Life Be Deliciosa:

“What is the recipe?” I ask. Abuela laughs. “It is in my heart, Rosie. I use mis ojos, my eyes, to measure. Mis manos, my hands, to feel. Mi boca, my mouth, to taste. My abuela gave it to me, and I am giving it to you.” Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales—cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all—and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.

A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making

.

Now, here is some information about the creators:

Michael Genhart, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco where he sees children, teens, and adults, specializing in matters impacting the LGBTQ+ community.  He is also the author of several picture books.  In 2021 his books include MAY YOUR LIFE BE DELICIOSA (Cameron Kids/Abrams) and THEY’RE SO FLAMBOYANT (Magination Press).  Other recent releases include ACCORDIONLY: ABUELO AND OPA MAKE MUSIC (Magination Press, 2020), RAINBOW: A FIRST BOOK OF PRIDE (Magination Press, 2019) and LOVE IS LOVE (Sourcebooks, 2018).  Michael is a SCBWI Marin County Co-Coordinator.  He is represented by Nicole Geiger of Full Circle Literary.  Check out his books at www.michaelgenhart.com.

.

Loris Lora is a Los Angeles based illustrator and designer.  She is a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked with various publications, surface design, and featured in galleries across the globe. Her work is largely inspired by her Mexican upbringing and appreciation of mid-century design.

.

.

.

.

And, here’s what the illustrator had to say about the process of creating the cover:

Growing up, the holidays have always been filled with color and warmth. It’s the time of year when you can gather with loved ones and enjoy cooking together. I wanted the cover to reflect the warm connection Abuelita Pina and Rosie have while learning to make tamales. The family relationship is so important in this book and I wanted to show that bond between the two characters. I was also inspired by the bright color palette often found in Mexican artisans and folk art. Things like floral oil cloths, decorative tins & tinsel, and cazuelas de barro are some of my favorite inspirations and I was happy to be able to include them in the cover. 

Finally, here is the cover of May Your Life Deliciosa

Start scrolling…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Keep scrolling…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Almost there…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Ta-da!

.

.

GORGEOUS! BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE!

.

Here’s a description of They’re So Flamboyant:

flam·boy·ant – a person (or bird!) who tends to attract attention because of their confidence, exuberance, and stylishness

This fun and funny bird’s-eye tome to individuality, community, and harmony follows the reactions of a neighborhood full of birds when a “flamboyance” of flamingos moves in. Each band of birds—a gaggle of geese, a dole of doves, a charm of finches, a brood of chickens, a scream of swifts, and an unkindness of ravens—all have their feathers ruffled and express their apprehension about the new and different arrivals. Bright pink colors, long legs, how dare they! Even a watch of nightingales patrols after dark. When the band of jays decides it is time to settle down the neighborhood, the pride of peacocks takes the lead, with support from a waddle of penguins, a venue of vultures, a mob of emus, and a gulp of cormorants. Finally, they all land at the flamingos’ welcome party only to realize that they had all been birdbrained. Their new neighbors are actually quite charming, and not so scary and different after all. Includes a note from the author on helping children to learn about acceptance, avoid stereotyping, and model welcoming behavior.

.

Now, here is some information about the illustrator:

Tony Neal is an illustrator from south Leicestershire, England. His passion for art and illustration has led him to a blooming career in children’s book illustration – where he now creates works for various publishing houses and clients worldwide. Tony’s work is inspired by everyday life and the quirky details that surround us. He loves to create charming characters in whimsical scenes and telling stories with his pictures.

.

.

.

And, here’s what Tony had to say about the process of creating the cover:

Creating the cover for They’re So Flamboyant, I thought it would be nice to show the flamboyant flamingos and their colourful house centre stage! Their feathered neighbours are not too sure about the new arrivals, so I wanted to show this also, with some fun character expressions overlooking and peeking out of their curtains. I decided to use more muted colours for the neighbouring houses to help contrast with the colourful pink flamingo house for more impact. The artwork was created digitally in photoshop using a drawing tablet.

.

Now, here is the cover of They’re So Flamboyant:

Start scrolling…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Keep scrolling…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Almost there…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Ta-da!

.

LOOK AT THOSE FABULOUS FLAMINGOS!

Both May Your Life Be Deliciosa and They’re So Flamboyant are available for pre-order. Click on any of the links in this post to go to Indiebound.org

Spotlight on Middle Grade Authors: Anika Fajardo

.

We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

By Cindy L. Rodriguez

This is an occasional series about middle grade Latinx authors. We decided to shine a spotlight on middle grade writers and their novels because, often, they are “stuck in the middle”–sandwiched between and overlooked for picture books and young adult novels. The middle grades are a crucial time in child development socially, emotionally, and academically. The books that speak to these young readers tend to have lots of heart and great voices that capture all that is awkward and brilliant about that time.

Today, we highlight Anika Fajardo.

Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. She is the author of a book about that experience, Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), which was awarded Best Book (Nonfiction) of 2020 from City Pages and was a finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Book Award. Her debut middle-grade novel What If a Fish (Simon & Schuster, 2020) was awarded the 2021 Minnesota Book Award. Her next book for young readers, Meet Me Halfway (Simon & Schuster) will be published in spring 2022.

Her writing for adults and children has appeared in numerous publications including Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton), We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World (U of Minnesota Press), and Sky Blue Waters: Great Stories for Young Readers (U of Minnesota Press). She has earned awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the Loft Literary Center.

A writer, editor, and teacher, she lives with her family in the very literary city of Minneapolis. 

.

Here is the publisher’s description for WHAT IF A FISH:

Cover of the novel What If a Fish by Anika Fajardo

A whimsical and unflinchingly honest generational story of family and identity where hats turn into leeches, ghosts blow kisses from lemon trees, and the things you find at the end of your fishing line might not be a fish at all.

Half-Colombian Eddie Aguado has never really felt Colombian. Especially after Papa died. And since Mama keeps her memories of Papa locked up where Eddie can’t get to them, he only has Papa’s third-place fishing tournament medal to remember him by. He’ll have to figure out how to be more Colombian on his own.

As if by magic, the perfect opportunity arises. Eddie—who’s never left Minnesota—is invited to spend the summer in Colombia with his older half-brother. But as his adventure unfolds, he feels more and more like a fish out of water.

Figuring out how to be a true colombiano might be more difficult than he thought.

.

.

Anika Fajardo

Anika Fajardo

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

My mom and my grandparents regularly read aloud to me when I was growing up, so books were always a big part of my life. In sixth grade I won a poetry contest after working with a guest poet in the schools. I got to read my poem on stage in front of an audience, and I decided I really wanted to be a writer. But it took me many careers (teacher, librarian, social media manager, web designer) before I actually let myself believe I could do it. 

2. Why do you choose to write middle grade novels?

I remember being that age fondly; I loved to read, write, play pretend, go on adventures. It’s such a great audience–they’re old enough to appreciate well-formed characters, intriguing plots, and sophisticated themes but without any of the sexy stuff of YA.

3. What are some of your favorite middle grade novels?

Of course, I love the middle-grade novels from Las Musas (THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY, THE DREAM WEAVER, THE MUSE SQUAD). I’m from Minnesota, so my first picks are Minnesota authors like Kate DiCamillo (I adore RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE) and Pete Hautman (FLINKWATER FACTOR). I also love older books like MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS BASIL E FRANKWEILER and THE WESTING GAME.

4. If you could give your middle-grade self some advice, what would it be?

Keep dreaming and don’t let any grown-ups tell you what you can or cannot do with your one precious life.

5. Please finish this sentence: Middle grade novels are important because…

kids need something that’s just for them–not babyish and not too grown up–to which they can escape.

.

.

photo of Cindy L. Rodriguez by Saryna A. Jones

Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former journalist turned teacher and children’s author. She is a middle school reading specialist in Connecticut, where she lives with her family. Cindy is a U.S.-born Latina of Puerto Rican and Brazilian descent. Her debut contemporary YA novel is When Reason Breaks (Bloomsbury 2015). She also has an essay in Life Inside My Mind (Simon Pulse 2018) and wrote the text for three Jake Maddox books: Volleyball Ace (2020), Drill Team Determination (2021), and Gymnastics Payback (2021). Her debut picture book will be published by Cardinal Rule Press in summer 2022. She can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Book Review: Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonada

.

Review by Dora M. Guzmán

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK (from the front cover): Ava Gabriela is visiting her extended family in Colombia for the holidays. She’s excited to take part in family traditions such as making buñuelos, but being around all her loud relatives in an unfamiliar place makes Ava shy and quiet. How will Ava find her voice before she misses out on all the New Year’s fun?

MY TWO CENTS: This #OwnVoices picture book is a heartwarming story about New Year traditions in Colombia, as well as the development of Ava’s personality. While there is some mention of traditions such as buñuelos and the Old Year doll, the highlight is definitely the main character, Ava. She is a quiet, shy character. Ava and her family are busy making preparations for the New Year. As her family shows various Colombian traditions, Ava observes but does not say much. In the beginning, Ava hesitates to say hello or “speak up.” Yet after making buñuelos, Ava begins to giggle. Throughout the book, she begins to question why she is so shy and often shows what she means to say versus what she actually does with a signal or facial movement. As a teacher, her behavior and speech reminded me of a student who had a speech-language need, thus Ava may connect to students who share the experience of finding the words to say in public situations.

The illustrations span across the spread using bold colors and subtle details. The English and Spanish text is written in an authentic manner, one that I appreciate as a frequent Spanglish speaker. Additionally, the text placement allows for readers to focus on the illustrations. Overall, Ava’s character was a joy to follow throughout this story. I appreciated that all of her family members respected her participation, even if she did not verbally respond right away. The days were filled with family traditions, love, and most of all, patience, as they welcomed one another, shy or not.

TEACHING TIPS: Many of these teaching moments can be implemented in a grades K-5 setting, with a focus on the primary grades. This is a great addition to any classroom library and as a read aloud. Some ideas to focus on during instruction:

  • Themes: Culture & Traditions
    • The Author’s Note gives readers an insight into the Colombian traditions mentioned in the book, such as the twelve grapes and the Año Viejo traditions.
  • Themes: Character Empathy; Finding Voice
    • Focus on Ava, how she communicates with her family and the feelings she has throughout all her experiences.
  • Mentor Text: Writing in two languages
    • How to use and format both English and Spanish in a narrative text

.

Photo by Dawn Yap @ YapOriginals

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Alessandri is a Colombian-American poet, English professor, and children’s author, who grew up surrounded by plenty of primos and primas. She’s obsessed with coffee and urban murals, and every year, she looks forward to buñuelos and el Año Viejo. When not writing or teaching, Alexandra spends her time daydreaming of Colombia, relearning the piano, and planning the next great adventure with her family. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and hairless pup. Visit her online at alexandraalessandri.com

.

.

.

From the illustrator’s website

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Addy Rivera Sonda is a Mexican illustrator who loves color and nature. When not drawing, she explores ways to live a more sustainable life. Addy hopes her stories and art can build empathy and lead to a more inclusive world. She currently lives in California. Find her website at addyriverasonda.wixsite.com/portfolio.

.

.

.

.

.

.

img_0160

ABOUT 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: Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

.

Review by Cris Rhodes

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

MY TWO CENTS: In Tigers, Not Daughters, Samantha Mabry impossibly weaves the story of the Torres sisters, who are marred by grief and plagued by trauma. The novel opens with the Torres sisters, Jessica, Iridian, Rosa, and Ana, trying to make their escape from their negligent father. Their attempt is foiled, however, by a group of unwitting boys who often spy on Ana. Caught by their father, the sisters are returned home. Soon after, Ana attempts a solo escape, but this time she falls from her window. With Ana gone, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa are left bereft. Unable to cope, the sisters’ lives fall into disrepair.

Picking up a year after Ana’s untimely death, each sister narrates her own chapters in this book, with the boys who witnessed their initial escape acting as a sort of Greek chorus, alerting the reader to the Torres sister’s plight before Ana’s death. With Ana gone, Jessica tries to provide for the family, Iridian is lost in her writing, and Rosa has been attempting to learn to talk to animals. Their grief is palpable, and through Mabry’s delicate prose, their sorrow leaps off the page. But, as the narrative progresses, it becomes clear that the girls aren’t just plagued by the loss of Ana, but by her continued presence. 

Ana’s ghost makes itself known to all of the sisters, as well as the boys next door, in various forms. From spectral figures to animal encounters, the Torres sisters must contend with Ana’s spirit’s force upon their lives. As the tension rises, so too does the sense that not all is as it seems in the Torres’s world. The reader is left with a sense of urgency as well as a mounting fear that more tragedy is at the girls’ doorstep. 

Tigers, Not Daughters is simultaneously a story of one family’s very real grief and the very fantastic circumstances following Ana’s death. The combination is a heady one. Reading Tigers, Not Daughters, for me, was difficult. The book is at once un-put-down-able and one that you must take in small doses. Iridian’s chapters, in particular, felt like a knife to the heart. Her love for Ana is palpable and her guilt over Ana’s death is just as strong. I needed to know what happened next, but I often found myself reading as if I were peeping between my fingers, wanting to cover my eyes. And, what’s more, I didn’t want the book to end. I wanted to live with the Torres sisters for a little while longer. 

It’s difficult to explain the impact of Tigers, Not Daughters. Perhaps it’s because this book was so unlike any I’ve ever read before. It has hints of magical realism and horror, but it is certainly a creature of its own. While parts are somewhat muddled, they felt realistic to the inner turmoil experienced by Mabry’s multiple narrators. This may prove difficult for some readers, however. What’s more, some elements of Tigers, Not Daughters might prove alienating to readers who want a straightforward narrative (there’s an escaped hyena, just so you know), though these do ultimately get resolved and make sense to the overarching plot.

Mabry’s work has always captivated me (I’m a big fan of A Fierce and Subtle Poison). And that is no different in Tigers, Not Daughters. This book, released just as the pandemic was dawning, is certainly an antidote to the loneliness and listlessness we might all be feeling right now. Yes, the Torres sisters’ story is sad–but it’s also a story of love and triumph and family. It is the story of how three young women make sense of tragedy and rise above.

.

.

Picture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website): Samantha was born four days before the death of John Lennon. She grew up in Dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.

In college at Southern Methodist University, she majored in English literature, minored in Spanish, and studied Latin and classics. After that, she went on to receive a master’s degree in English from Boston College.

These days, she teaches at a community college and spends as much time as possible in the west Texas desert.

A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON (Algonquin Young Readers, spring 2016) was her first novel. ALL THE WIND IN THE WORLD, a Western, was published in the fall of 2017 and was nominated for the National Book Award for Young Peoples’ Literature. TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS released in the spring of 2020 and received six starred trade reviews.

.

.

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: Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle, illus. by Rafeal López

.

Review by Dora M. Guzmán

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals.

Then a revolution in Venezuela drove her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too- a Civil War.

Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it the most?

MY TWO CENTS: Dancing Hands is a biographical picture book about María Teresa Carreño Garcia de Sena that embraces creativity, family, and music during turmoil in Venezuela and the United States. Teresa, also known as Piano Girl, learns early on that music is an art for others to enjoy in the moment and in their hearts. Despite inevitable conflict in both her home country, Venezuela, and her new home, the United States, music becomes her refuge. Playing the piano calms the storms, brings together her family, and inspires other artists, and even the president in office, Abraham Lincoln.

While the text is in English only, the language used to describe Teresa’s talent is filled with poetic and descriptive language. It moves the reader through a narrative timeline of events and emotions. The illustrations are phenomenal and invoke more emotions as the reader learns about Teresa’s life changes. The use of acrylic paint and its textured shades contrast against the sharp lines and fierce colors that spread across each page. Each page has strategically placed colors and imagery placement to convey the story’s mood. Still, Teresa’s life experiences and talents remain front and center, with her connection to her music and cultures highlighted. My favorite moment in her story is when, as a young child, Teresa inspired other musicians to come and create music. It shows how far and wide her inspiration reached even at a young age!

TEACHING TIPS: Many of these teaching moments can be implemented in a K-5 setting, with a focus on the grades 3 and up.

  • Writing Mentor Text
    • Descriptive language: The author provides a plethora of metaphors and descriptive language that can serve as models for student writing when used to describe objects, moments, and feelings.
    • Mini lesson on adjectives and verbs
  • Addition to a biography unit or music unit
    • The historical note at the end of the book can serve as a catalyst for further research into the life of María Teresa Carreño Garcia de Sena. Student researchers can also find out more about her music and how it added to the arts during and after her time.
    • In music class, students can learn more about her compositions, as well as listen to her music compositions to add to their study.
  • Author and illustrator study
    • Pair this text with other picture books written by Margarita Engle and compare her writing style as well as the characters.
    • Pair this text with other picture books illustrated by Rafael López and compare his artistic style.

Listen to María Teresa Carreño Garcia de Sena’s composition called La Falsa Nota played by another pianist.

.

.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is margarita.jpg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of many acclaimed books, including two other collaborations with Rafael López, Bravo! and Drum Dream Girl, as well as The Flying Girl; All the Way to Havana; Miguel’s Brave Knight; The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor book; Jazz Owls; The Poet Slave of Cuba; and her memoirs Enchanted Air and Soaring Earth. She lives in central California. Visit her at margaritaengle.com Follow her on Twitter: @margaritapoet

.

.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rafael_lopez_artist_and_illustrator.jpg

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Rafael López was born and raised in Mexico, a place that has always influenced the vivid colors and shapes in his artwork. He now creates community-based mural projects around the world and illustrates acclaimed children’s books, including The Day You Begin, Bravo!, Drum Dream Girl, We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands, and Book Fiesta! Rafael divides his time between Mexico and California. Visit him at  https://rafaellopez.com/

.

.

.

.

ABOUT 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!