A lovely and needed story of familia in which love conquers loss.



Family love in the face of loss is poignantly shared by de Anda and Harris.

Luis, Mama, Papi, their dog, Sancho, and beloved Abuelo are one tight familia. When Luis gets home from school he spends the afternoons with Abuelo building models, learning to paint, and sharing stories alongside tasty snacks. As time passes, things begin to change. When Abuelo can no longer remember how to fit the models together, he and Luis can still paint side by side. When he forgets to turn off the stove, quesadillas transform into tasty PB&Js instead. But when Abuelo goes missing one day, it is clear things are changing quickly and will never be the same. What afflicts Abuelo is never explicitly identified as the story unfolds, tenderly told in simple first person from Luis’ innocent and loving perspective as he slowly confronts new symptoms of his grandfather’s progressive dementia. His mother gives Luis sage advice that even though Abuelo’s memory is slipping he will always feel Luis’ love. Though this is certainly a sweet sentiment, many dementia patients experience apathy and changes in personality along with their memory loss, so the truth of Mama’s words is somewhat in doubt. This is nevertheless a touching and well-told story of the heartbreak of memory loss through the lens of family-oriented Latino culture.

A lovely and needed story of familia in which love conquers loss. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1492-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Emphasizing daily commonalities, this is a useful book on urban Turkish culture.


From the I See the Sun… series

Turkey’s political situation is often in the news, but this book focuses mostly on the everyday life of a young child in Istanbul.

The English text is in a clear, Roman typeface, with alternating Turkish paragraphs set in italics. The story is bookended by morning and evening calls to prayer, when Mehmet, about 6, remarks on how the light falls on the mosque minarets at each time of day. The family is not shown praying, however, and Mehmet attends a coed secular school. “Some of Mama’s friends wear headscarves. Mama doesn’t. She says there are many paths to Allah.” The day’s highlight is a fishing trip with his brother and father. Mehmet notices “a boy my size with his mother.” They are not speaking Turkish, and the child “looks sad and hungry.” A contemporary issue creeps into the text as Mehmet’s father explains “that there are many refugees here in Istanbul.” Mehmet generously gives the boy his fishing rod. Later, Mehmet goes roller-skating at the plaza surrounding a neighborhood mosque and watches a soccer game on TV. An afterword for older readers provides some historical facts and explanations about figures mentioned in the text such as Rumi and Atatürk. Adult readers not familiar with Turkish history may wish this had been integrated directly into the text. The collages place rather static human figures assembled from cut paper and with drawn-on details into photographic backgrounds that give a sense of depth and place.

Emphasizing daily commonalities, this is a useful book on urban Turkish culture. (afterword, glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-935874-34-8

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Satya House

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

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An inventive idea cleverly executed.


A dinosaur story of family and size.

This surprising picture book uses illustrations that slowly build in tension to create a sense of high drama paired with simple, informative text that, on its own, says very little. “Some dinosaurs are small,” it starts, with a wee green reptile happily gathering pineapples in a basket. “They have tiny flat teeth for munching through fruit and leaves,” it goes on, with the small protagonist plucking a pear. But the next page, which says merely that “Some dinosaurs are BIG,” starts to introduce anxiety as enormous yellow and orange legs and tails flank the much smaller dino. The following page introduces two menacing theropods who, accordingly, “have huge pointy teeth and sharp claws.” Readers learn additional basic facts about the personalities and habits of the bigger dinosaurs as they steal fruit from the little one, who at first peeks over its shoulder anxiously and then bolts away. But luckily, the last dinosaur readers meet, who is “simply… /ENORMOUS,” turns out to be the teeny one’s mother, and she scares away the relatively puny carnivores. The well-paced text steadily and deliberately drives the image-drawn action forward, making for an engaging read-aloud that’s sure to appeal to dinosaur lovers and their friends.

An inventive idea cleverly executed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0936-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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