Q&A with author Mariana Llanos About Run Little Chaski! / ¡Corre, Pequeño Chaski!

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By Romy Natalia Goldberg

Set in ancient Peru, Run, Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure follows the ups and downs of Little Chaski’s first day as a royal messenger for the king of the Inkan empire. Authored by Mariana Llanos and illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson, Run Little Chaski! will release with Barefoot Books on June 1, 2021. English and Spanish versions are available. We hope you enjoy this interview with the author on the process of creating this unique picture book.

Mariana, congratulations on your picture book Run Little Chaski!: An Inka Trail Adventure / ¡Corre, Pequeño Chaski!: Una aventura en el comino Inka. What was the inspiration for this book?

I was inspired by my peruanidad and my desire to represent the amazing pre-columbian culture of my country, Peru. I think this book is the result of many years admiring our legacy and wishing more people knew about it.

There is so much going on in this book, from the role chaskis (royal messengers) played in the Incan empire, to the artifacts used in both daily life, to the flora and fauna of the Andes. Although, as a Peruvian, you probably grew up with knowledge of these things, I’m sure this book took a lot of research. Can you tell us how you prepared to write this manuscript?

I wrote the first drafts using what I already knew about chaskis and the Inka empire. Research came later, once I had the story I wanted to tell. Actually, because I am Peruvian, the pressure to “get it right” felt very strong. I thought I knew a lot, but I doubted myself many times. I read books about the Tawantinsuyu, like History of the Tawantinsuyu by Maria Rotowroski, a renowned Peruvian author, and History of the Conquest of Peru by William Prescott, among others. I also visited many websites like the American Indian Museum- Smithsonian. I read many articles in Spanish and English with specifics about the Inka Trail and the role of chaskis. I watched documentaries on YouTube as well. I grew up knowing about this, but I needed to have a better historic understanding especially for writing the back matter.

Did you ever consider writing this as a non-fiction book, or was it always a fictional picture book?

No. It was always a universal theme. It was always about kindness with the rich backdrop of the Inka culture.

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Back matter for Run, Little Chaski!

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Are there details you would have liked to include but had to edit or remove to better suit the picture book format? How did you decide what belonged in the back matter (which is extensive and very informative) vs, in the story itself? 

The story is a universal story, only that it is set in a historic time period. So I always knew what belonged there, but I did want to offer additional information about the Inka empire. Originally, this info was contained in an Author’s Note, but my editor, Kate Depalma, wanted to break it into different topics. This writing process for the new back matter came after working on the story itself.

From the original story, we removed a part where I mentioned coca leaves as the content of his ch’uspa (bag). As you may know, coca leaves are sacred in the Andes and are used to give people energy, but it was decided that it might be a distracting issue for parents. But we did add this detail in the informational part of the book.

This is one of the first picture books published in the United States featuring a significant amount of Quechua. Do you speak Quechua? Can you talk about what went into ensuring the Quechua was accurate? 

I do not speak Quechua, although I’ve attempted to take classes. I know a few words and terms. Many Quechua words are integrated in Peruvian Spanish. But since I needed this to be very accurate, I enlisted the help of a person who is an expert in the Quechua language and Andean culture. He revised my manuscript and came back with some valuable suggestions. Our main concern was about the spelling of Quechua words (like Inca or Inka). For this book we went with the standardized spelling of the language to be respectful to Quechua speaking people.

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Image from inside Run, Little Chaski!

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Did you find it hard to sell this manuscript because of the setting or the language? 

You would’ve thought that a novel book like this would sell in a minute, but in fact, it was very hard to sell! Most editors didn’t have a vision for it. We were so lucky to find Barefoot Books who are willing to take on challenges and do their best to produce truly diverse books. Their commitment to diversity is admirable. At every level, I felt like they respected my work and the culture I represented, so I’m glad with the way things turned out. Still, I wonder what is it going to take for this industry to finally look at the rest of the world as part of this world? 

Can you talk a little about being considered an “own voices” author for this particular book? I imagine it is complex, given that being Peruvian is not the same as being Incan and even the Inca themselves were a civilization made up of several indigenous peoples.  

I’ve been asked several times if this is an “own voices” book. I have an issue with the label because, even though I am Peruvian, I did not live in the times of the Inka, so how could this be an own voices story? The Inka empire fell 500 years ago. It’s very hard for people from Latin America to fit the concept of this label. We’re made of so many cultures and races. And in this book specifically, you’re correct. The Inka weren’t one group of people; they were many pueblos, many cultures. And I believe this is where we can feel the lack of authentic and diverse Latinx representation at the publishing level. The only way I’d ever use an own voices label is if I write a book about my life. 

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Image of Mariana Llanos

About the author: Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian-born poet and author of children’s books. Her book Luca’s Bridge/El puente de Luca was a 2020 ALSC Notable Book and Campoy-Ada Award Honoree. Eunice and Kate (2020, Penny Candy Books) is a winner of the Paterson Prize Books for Young Readers. Run Little Chaski/Corre Pequeño Chaski is a JLG Gold Standard Selection. Mariana visits schools to encourage the love for writing and reading. She’s represented by Clelia Gore of Martin Literary.

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Image of Romy Natalia Goldberg

Romy Natalia Goldberg is a Paraguayan-American travel and kid lit author with a love for stories about culture and communication. Her guidebook to Paraguay, Other Places Travel Guide to Paraguay, was published in 2012 and 2017 and led to work with “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” and The Guardian. She is an active SCBWI member and co-runs Kidlit Latinx, a Facebook support group for Latinx children’s book authors and illustrators

May Latinx Book Releases!

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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.

In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these May book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

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RUN LITTLE CHASKI: AN INKA TRAIL ADVENTURE by Mariana Llanos, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson (Barefoot Books, May 1, 2020). Picture Book. The book will also be released in Spanish: Corre Pequeño Chaski: Una aventura en el Camino Inka.

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HAND-ME-DOWN MAGIC #3: Perfect Patchwork Purse by Corey Ann Hayduillustrated by Luisa Uribe (Katherine Tegen Books, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Alma knew it the first time she saw it: The patchwork purse in the window of the Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe was magical. Special. Perfect. But when her friend Cassie spots the purse and buys it, what could Alma do but agree that the purse really did look just right on Cassie?

Del decides it’s up to her to bring some homespun magic back into Alma’s life, and she’s got just the plan to do it. After all, she is the EXPERT on magic! All she needs is some glitter and lots and lots of glue . . . because she knows magic can always come from the most unexpected places, but most importantly, that best-friend-cousins never let each other down.

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HOME SWEET FOREVER HOME (The Invincible Girls Club #1) by Rachel Alpine, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Aladdin, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Lauren is a huge dog lover and is over-the-moon excited when she gets to go to the local shelter to read to the dogs. While there, she learns that the older dogs are often not adopted, so she and her friends set out to find them homes.

Together, Lauren, Ruby, Myka, and Emelyn create a brilliant event, where attendees can eat delicious cupcakes while meeting adoptable dogs. But on the big day, it seems like everything goes upside down. Can the girls save the event and make sure their four-legged friends get a chance at their fur-ever homes?

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ART WITH HEART (The Invincible Girls Club #2) by Rachel Alpine, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Aladdin, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Someone is writing mean messages about Emelyn and other kids in her grade on pieces of paper and sticking them to lockers and bathroom walls. When Emelyn discovers a classmate hiding in the bathroom crying about the mean words written about her, Emelyn brings this problem to The Invincible Girls. Together, they decide to fight the negativity with positivity!

Emelyn, Laura, Ruby, and Myka spread words of kindness and cheerful images all over the place to cancel out the negative ones. But they keep running into speed bumps along the way—and Emelyn isn’t sure she’s the right person to lead the charge. Can the girls help stop the bullying in their school? And can Emelyn ultimately find her own voice?

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INDIVISIBLE by Daniel Aleman (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Middle Grade. Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.

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JUAN HORMIGA by Gustavo Roldán, translated by Robert Croll (Elsewhere Editions, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Juan Hormiga, the greatest storyteller of his entire anthill, loves to recount his fearless grandfather’s adventures. When Juan and his fellow ants gather around for storytime, he hypnotizes all with tales of his grandfather’s many exploits – including his escape from an eagle’s talons and the time he leapt from a tree with just a leaf for a parachute. When he’s through telling these tales, Juan loves to cozy up for a nice long nap. He’s such a serious napper that he takes up to ten siestas every day! Though well loved by his ant friends, Juan decides telling tales and sleeping aren’t quite enough for him – it’s time to set off on his own adventure.

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KUAN YIN: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion by Maya van der Meerillustrated by Wen Hsu (Bala Kids, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Miao Shan isn’t your typical princess. She likes to spend her time quietly meditating with the creatures of the forest or having adventures with dragons and tigers. Miao Shan’s heart is so full of love that her dream is to spread happiness throughout the land and help people endlessly. But her father has other plans for her–he intends to have her married and remain in the palace. With the help of her little sister Ling, Miao Shan escapes and begins her journey to discover the true meaning of compassion.

During their adventure, Ling and Miao Shan are eventually separated. Ling must overcome doubts, fears, and loneliness in order to realize what her sister had told her all along–that love is the greatest power in the world. After the sisters’ reunion, Miao Shan realizes her true calling as Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion.

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LA JOVEN AVIADORA by Margarita Engleillustrated by Sara Palacios (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Spanish version of THE FLYING GIRL. En una animada calle en la encantadora ciudad de París, una joven llamada Aída miró hacia el cielo y se quedó maravillada ante la vista de un dirigible. ¡Cuánto le gustaría surcar el cielo de esa manera! El inventor del aparato, Alberto, la invitó a dar un paseo en su dirigible, pero Aída no quería viajar como pasajera. Ella quería ser el piloto.

Aída era apenas una adolescente, y ninguna mujer o joven había volado antes. Pero eso no la detuvo. Todo lo que ella necesitaba eran algunas clases y una oportunidad.

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MEET CUTE DIARY by Emery Lee (Quill Tree Books, May 4, 2021). Young Adult. Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

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OLIVER’S LOLLIPOP by Allison Wortcheillustrated by Andrés Landazabal (Philomel Books, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Oliver finds the perfect lollipop on his birthday trip to the zoo, and it’s all he can think about! Forget riding the carousel–he might drop his precious treat. No point roaring at the lions with his brother or engaging with any of the animals. After all, who needs the peacocks’ beautiful feathers or the flamingoes’ brilliant hues when there’s a colorful swirly lollipop to admire?

But when one particular zoo animal threatens to ruin the fun, Oliver learns that there’s plenty more to see than the candy he’d been coveting. And sharing the day–and his sweets–with his brother might just be the most special treat of all.

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SMALL ROOM, BIG DREAMS: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro by Monica Brown, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega (Quill Tree Books, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. The story of political powerhouse twins Julián and Joaquin Castro began in the small room that they shared with their grandmother Victoriana in San Antonio, Texas. Victoriana crossed the border from Mexico into Texas as a six-year-old orphan, marking the start of the family’s American journey. Her daughter Rosie, Julián and Joaquin’s mom, was an activist who helped the barrio through local government.

The strong women in their family inspired the twins to get involved in politics. Julián and Joaquin have been working at the local, state, and national level—as a former presidential candidate, mayor and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, and a U.S. Congressman, respectively—to make the country a better place for everyone.

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WHAT WILL YOU BE? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Kate Alizadeh (HarperCollins, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. What will you be when you grow up? A young girl dreams about all the endless possibilities, sparking a sense of wonder, curiosity, and growth. With her abuela’s loving guidance, she learns her potential is limitless.

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MANOS QUE BAILAN (DANCING HANDS) by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López, translated by Alexis Romay (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. De niña, a Teresa Carreño le encantaba dejar que sus manos bailaran a lo largo de las hermosas teclas del piano. Si se sentía triste, la música le levantaba el ánimo y, cuando estaba feliz, el piano la ayudaba a compartir esa alegría. Pronto comenzó a escribir sus propias canciones y a tocar en grandes catedrales.

Entonces, una revolución en Venezuela hizo que su familia tuviera que huir a Estados Unidos. Teresa se sentía sola en este sitio desconocido en el que muy poca de la gente a quien conocía hablaba español. Y lo peor es que también había una guerra en su nuevo hogar: la Guerra Civil.

Aun así, Teresa siguió tocando y pronto adquirió fama de ser la talentosa niña del piano que podía tocar cualquier cosa, desde una canción folclórica hasta una sonata. Era tan famosa, de hecho, ¡que el presidente Abraham Lincoln quiso que fuera a tocar a la Casa Blanca! Sin embargo, con el país dividido por la guerra, ¿podría la música de Teresa traer consuelo a quienes más lo necesitaban?

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ILLUSIONARY by Zoraida Córdova (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 11, 2021). Young Adult. Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.


With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.

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THOUGHTS ARE AIR by Michael Arndt, illustrated by Irena Freitas (Dial Books, May 11, 2021). Picture Book. When a trio of friends happen upon a neighborhood tree falling into decay, an idea catches hold. But what makes a dream become a plan, and how does a plan lead to a brighter tomorrow? Thoughts Are Air links thoughts, words, and actions to the water cycle. Just as air becomes water becomes solid matter, thoughts become words become actions. The comparison is subtle yet powerful–air condensing into matter; ideas condensing into doing something that matters.

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ON THE HOOK by Francisco X. Stork (Scholastic, May 18, 2021). Young Adult. Hector has always minded his own business, working hard to make his way to a better life someday. He’s the chess team champion, helps the family with his job at the grocery, and teaches his little sister to shoot hoops overhand.

Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he’s going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector’s death is hanging over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows – to drop off Joey’s radar – to become no one.

But when a fight between Chavo and Hector’s brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand.

The violent confrontation will take Hector places he never expected, including a reform school where he has to live side-by-side with his enemy, Joey. It’s up to Hector to choose whether he’s going to lose himself to revenge or get back to the hard work of living.

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PERFECTLY PARVIN by Olivia Abtahi (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, May 18, 2021). Young Adult. Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped–only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all. There’s just one problem: Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself hasn’t worked for her in the past (see aforementioned dumping), she decides to start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. Those women aren’t loud, they certainly don’t cackle when they laugh, and they smile much more than they talk.

But Parvin discovers that being a rom-com dream girl is much harder than it looks. Also hard? The parent-mandated Farsi lessons. A confusing friendship with a boy who’s definitely not supposed to like her. And hardest of all, the ramifications of the Muslim ban on her family in Iran. Suddenly, being herself has never been more important.

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WHERE WONDER GROWS by Xelena Gonzálezillustrated by Adriana M. Garcia (Cinco Puntos Press, May 25, 2021). Picture Books. Grandma knows that there is wondrous knowledge to be found everywhere you can think to look. She takes her girls to their special garden, and asks them to look over their collection of rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites to see what marvels they have to show. “They were here long before us and know so much more about our world than we ever will,” Grandma says. So they are called grandfathers. By taking a close look with an open mind, they see the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the oceans that housed their shells and shapes its environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to them. Gathered together, Grandma and the girls let their surroundings spark their imaginations.

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I WISH YOU KNEW by Jackie Azúa Kramerillustrated by Magdalena Mora (Roaring Brook Press, May 25, 2021). Picture Book.

When Estrella’s father has to leave because

he wasn’t born here, like her,

She misses him.

And she wishes people knew the way it affects her.

At home. At school.

Always.

But a school wrapped around a hundred-year-old oak tree is the perfect place to share and listen.

Some kids miss family,
Some kids are hungry,
Some kids live in shelters.

But nobody is alone.

A story about deportation, divided families, and the importance of community in the midst of uncertainty.

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MAXY SURVIVES THE HURRICANE / Maxy sobrevive el huracán by Ricia Anne Chansky and Yarelis Marcial Acevedo, illustrated by Olga Barinova (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. Maxy the dog survives Hurricane Maria, and like many who go through natural disasters, he is later terrified of storms and rain.

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RAULITO: The First Latino Governor of Arizona /El Primer Gobernador Latino de Arizona by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. This bilingual biography for kids ages 8-14 follows the dreams and achievements of Raul H. Castro, who was the first Latino governor of Arizona and US Ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina.

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Un tren llamado Esperanza / A Train Called Hope by Mario Bencastroillustrated by Robert Casilla (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. This bilingual picture book contrasts a boy’s enjoyment of his childhood toy train with his dangerous journey north crowded on a real train in search of family and a better future.

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Book Review: Luca’s Bridge/El puente de Luca by Mariana Llanos, illus by Anna López Real

 

Review by Sanjuana Rodriguez

DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Luca has never lived outside the U.S., but when his parents receive a letter in the mail, the family must pack up and leave home for a strange land. Together in their car, Luca, his brother Paco, and their parents head across the border to Mexico, where his parents were born. Luca doesn’t understand why he must leave the only home he’s ever known, his friends, and his school. He struggles through lonely and disorienting times–reflected both in Real’s delicate, symbolic illustrations and through Llanos’ description of his dreams–and leans on music, memory, and familial love for support. Luca’s Bridge / El puente de Luca is a story for everyone about immigration, deportation, home, and identity.

MY TWO CENTS: Luca lives in the United States with his parents. One day his parents receive a letter in the mail letting them know that they must leave the U.S. The entire family chooses to stay together and they leave the U.S. to go live in Mexico. Luca has a difficult time understanding why they must leave and he thinks about his friends, his school, and how he doesn’t speak Spanish. When he arrives in Mexico, he sees the small house where they will live and he has a difficult time imagining a life there. Luca uses music to help him cope with his new reality. He plays the trumpet and the entire family dances to the music reminding the readers that there is hope in what may appear to be a hopeless situation.

This bilingual picture books is timely considering the anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States and the realities for many families experiencing family separation due to immigration status. It is particularly important because it addresses the situation of many families who are considered to have mixed-family status, meaning that some in the family are authorized to live in the U.S. (typcially children who are U.S. citizens) and others are not (typcially the parent or parents).

The story begins with the family leaving together and the father telling his sons the following: “Mami and I don’t have the papers we need to stay here… we have to go back to Mexico if we want to stay together.” In the picture book, Luca fears what it means to return to a country that he does not know. He thinks about his friends and even wonders what will happen when he returns to his country since he does not speak Spanish. What makes this books particularly special is that allows the reader to have some insight into the emotional toll that immigration takes on children. The illustrations includes hues of gray and speak to the emotions that Luca is feeling. At one point, when Luca is thinking about how he doesn’t speak Spanish, the books states that “Luca sobbed quietly until he ran out of tears.” Another instance of a strong emotion is when Paco, Luca’s older brother, yells, “They don’t want us here,” when their parents received the letter.

This books sheds a light on the decisions that families must make in situations where the parents are not allowed to stay in the U.S. In the case of Luca’s family, the parents decide that they must stay together. This decision allows the family to stay together, but the sadness of leaving the only home that Luca knows is heartbreaking. This is one of the few picture books that addresses the issue of deportation and the strong sentiments that families experience when forced to make decisions that impact the entire family. The books also sheds light on the emotions that children experience when faced with realities of immigration.

The backmatter includes the author’s note that discusses the difficulties of immigration, describes the process of deportation, and the realities of family separation. The author discloses that she is an immigrant and discusses the need to address immigration in a humane way.

RESOURCES:

Toolkit for Educators from Teaching Tolearnce on supporting immigrant families

https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2018/toolkit-for-this-is-not-a-drill

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Lima, Peru, to two journalists, Mariana Llanos developed an early passion for writing and studied theater in the prestigious CuatroTablas school in Lima. She has lived in Oklahoma since 2002, where she worked as a teacher in a preschool center. In 2013, Mariana self-published her first book, Tristan Wolf, which won a Finalist in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Award. Since then, she has published seven books independently in English and Spanish and through virtual technology has chatted with students from more than 150 schools around the world to promote literacy.

 

Anna Lopez photo 2ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Anna López Real is a freelance illustrator born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She spent her early years in a small town with a big lake, in a
bilingual home full of books, movies, diverse music and art. She has a degree Graphic Design from Universidad de Guadalajara. Since she was young, she has needed to feel colors, shadows, textures, and shapes with her own hands, which inspired her to use
traditional techniques. She is also the co-founder of a local stationary company. Her favorite place is the beach, and she loves to read and hang out with her family and her cats and dogs. She is passionate about human rights, animal rights and has a great
love for nature.

 

 

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.