Section: Children's Book Reviews
Good Night Captain Mama

Last year Graciela Tiscareno-Sato author of Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them was one of our Featured Latinas. And this year she is making news again with the debut of her new children's book, Good Night Captain Mama.

Read Mas!

Ana and the Cursed Freckles/Ana y la maldicion de las pecas

Ana is your typical tween obsessed with her looks, Justin Bieber, and Facebook. But guess what? She hates her pretty freckles because Ana is at that age we felt we had to be perfect blemish-free and perfectly proportioned. The cruel reality is Ana has it good compare to me back in '86. My coke bottle glasses and braces coupled with really bad acne?! C'mon Ana. Seriously. At any rate, her best friend Martina, a Frog/Door man, and 3 cute but mean witches are going to make these the fastest most enjoyable 96 pages you will read in Spanish this spring. Read Mas!

Fables High to Low/Fabulas de mayor a menor

. Mayor y Menor: Nacho y Tobi are famous newspaper cartoons from the Spanish speaking world (Argentina) and here they have added their childlike commentary to each of the Fables before and after each one. Illustrator Chanti has for sure the magic "touch" in my opinion. The illustrations are a huge advantage and crucial selling point for this compilation. Without the illustrations this book would not be on our review page. Read Mas!

Rosita y Conchita: A rhyming storybook in English and Spanish

This touching cuento is perfect for sharing during Day of The Dead or anytime of the year. The fancy and playful language in both English and Spanish is a real treat for any child or teacher. The illustrations are by far one of the best attributes that will keep children coming back for more. After each reading one notices even more details and coincidences from the text to the illustrations. Read Mas!

The Wild Book

Written as a tribute to the remarkable life of her abuela, Engle's novel in verse follows the various exploits and episodic events of eleven-year-old Fefa and her large family who live in the Cuban countryside in the early twentieth century. While the story includes glimpses into the political climate during this time period, the main focus is Fefa's struggle with word blindness or dyslexia. Read Mas!


Barack Obama wrote this book in 2008 before he became president of the United States. In the book he writes to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, about what they can accomplish. He asks them to look to their future and encourages them to strive for what they would like to become when they grow up. Mr. Obama uses thirteen American icons who accomplished what they set out to do as examples. Read Mas!

Sofia and the Purple Dress / Sofia y el vestido morado

The "quinceanera" theme has been used frequently in Latino children's literature, but this story has a twist that addresses a modern day reality: childhood obesity. Sofia, a third grader, who lives with her mother and sister, receives an invitation to her cousin's quincenera along with a box of hand-me-down clothing. She gets excited about wearing a purple dress from the box, and decides to wear it to the party. Read Mas!

Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

Born in 1579 as the son of a Spanish nobleman and freed black slave, Martin de Porres grew up among the poor and the rats in the barrios of Lima, Peru. While most biracial or black children would have spent their entire lives starving in the lowest rungs of society, Marti­n and his sister were eventually collected by their wealthy father and brought to Ecuador. Later, the boy was apprenticed to a surgeon and began working at the Dominican monastery in Lima. Read Mas!

The Many Faces of Max

Meet Max, a tender and fun pup who identifies with several emotions. From hurt to happy to hungry, each mood of Max is represented on a double-page spread. Illustrations are childlike and somewhat primitive but the paint-on-canvas look, with its seemingly touchable texture, might appeal to the young audience for which the book is intended.Read Mas!

Otto: Autobiografia de un Osito de Peluche

This is the story of Otto, a German-born teddy bear who lives through World War II. Otto narrates his own story, portraying how he met, was separated from, and then was at last reunited years later with his owner, David, a survivor of the Holocaust. From the time of separation to reunion, Otto experiences violence, heroism, cruelty, and salvation. Read Mas!

The Oldest House in the USA

The oldest house in America was originally part of the Pueblo of Anaclo. Since the year 1200, this house has occupied several people such as the Tlaxcalan Indians, Pueblo warriors, and a Spanish Governor. The house sits on De Vargas Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the most recent and interesting occupant sited in this house is a ghost. Read Mas!

Let's Go See Papa

Told from the perspective of a young girl whose Papa¡ has moved to the United States for work, Schimel's emotionally charged picture book begins with a phone call that will reunite the family but force the girl to leave behind her Abuela and dog Kika. As the book progresses, the authentic narrative successfully captures the wide range of emotions children experience when separated from the ones they love. Read Mas!

Mario and Baby Gia

Written as a companion to Mud Tacos! (2009), Lopez's latest picture book follows a young, mopey Mario as he spends a day babysitting his baby cousin Gia. Initially, he is dejected that he must play with her instead of spending time with his sister or other cousins.Read Mas!

Lola's Fandango

Poor Lola! Her older sister Clementina excels at everything while she has to settle for being average. What's a girl to do? Lola finds the answer when she discovers a box of flamenco dancing shoes in her mami's closet. With the help of her papi and many long days of practice, Lola learns the fandango and toca toca ticas into the limelight at a surprise birthday party for her mami, a former flamenco dancer.Read Mas!

Guacamole: Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem.

While most children grow up hearing the mantra "don't play with your food," the pint-size children in this poetic romp must play with their food to create the mounds of mouth-watering guacamole they so desire. Brimming with metaphors, this rollicking cooking poem follows a trio of children as they go through the steps of turning avocados, limes, salt, and cilantro into guacamole. Read Mas!

I See The World/ Yo Veo El Mundo

Luna provides an introduction to vocabulary and the type of questions parents and caregivers can engage in when sharing a book with children. The text is simple and does not tell a story. Each spread presents a new scene of discovery: land, sea, indoors, outdoors, day and night.Read Mas!

Fonchito y la luna. Mario Vargas Llosa

Fonchito has a problem. There is a girl in his class that he really wants to kiss on the cheek. But the wise Nereida gives him a seemingly impossible condition: he must first find a way to pull down the moon and present it to her. What is a love-lorn boy to do? Certainly not give up! This is Mi primer Mario Vargas Llosa. Read Mas!

A Day Without Sugar/Un Dia Sin Azucar

Beto and his cousins are excited to spend a weekend at their favorite aunt's house, but when Tia Sofia announces that this time they will spend a whole day without sugar, their anticipation fades. Tia Sofia, however, presents the quest for sugar as a fun challenge, in solidarity with Beto, who is at risk of developing diabetes. Read more!

Cuentos Universales

Hundreds of loosely crafted water color illustrations fill the pages of this collection of 16 fairy tales, some familiar to North Americans and others not at all. While the binding of this child size volume is sturdy, the story telling is sometimes abbreviated and stunted. Written in European Spanish, these retellings lack important attention-grabbing literary devices for children, such as repetition and onomatopoeia, which may fail to endear them to this particular collection. Read more!

Caramba Kids

Orozco's talent for bringing Latin American songs and rhymes to today's children is well established through his extensive line of music recordings. His Spanish CDs are used in numerous educational programs. So why another CD? Caramba Kids is the artist's new line of educational materials developed for English- and Spanish-speaking children. Read more!

Animal Jamboree: Latino Folktales/La fiesta de los animals: leyendas latinas.

Ortiz Cofer has written four fun, lighthearted, short tales that feature animals of all kinds, from lions to cats, dogs to ants, and goats to mice. 'The Animals' Grand Fiesta is a cautionary tale where animals learn to be wary of gifts from lions, and it is the dog that saves his friend, the goat, from becoming dinner. "The Brave Little Ant" and "El Senor Chivo" is a cumulative tale which demonstrates how small things (an ant) can accomplish mighty feats this tale is reminiscent of the Mexican folktale "The Goat in the Chile Patch"‚ published by Judy Sierra in her Multicultural Folktales. Read more!

Alicia's Fruity Drinks/Las aguas frescas de Alicia.

A local fiesta introduces young Alicia to aguas frescas, fruit drinks her mother remembers fondly from her own childhood. Alicia and her mother experiment making the drinks at home. They invite Alicia's teammates to sample the drinks after Alicia's soccer practice. The aguas frescas are a great success, and thereafter become Alicia's Fruity Drinks' a post-game tradition. The story has a welcomed theme about healthy diet and exercise. Read more!

Once Upon a Time...

Habia una vez un gallo muy bello . . . begins this eclectic, bilingual collection of seven folktales originating in various countries throughout Spain and Latin America

Chavela and the Magic Bubble

Little Chavela loves chewing gum and blowing it into bubbles of all shapes and sizes.

No voy a dormir/I Am Not Going to Sleep

“No voy a dormir!” declares a young girl who unsuccessfully tries to stay awake past her bedtime.

The Best Family in the World

A delightful story of adoption, this features young Carlota who has just been notified that her adoptive family will be coming to pick her up the next day.

Cinco de Mouse-O!

In this second installment by the author-illustrator team, Mouse and Cat are back just in time to celebrate the annual Cinco de Mayo festival.

Fiesta Babies

Come join the party as Fiesta Babies dance two by two "the cha-cha-cha...and the choo-choo-choo!" Tafolla and Cordova (What Can You Do With a Rebozo) team up again to bring readers a book that will delight little eyes and ears.

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba

Based upon the writings of Swedish suffragette Fredrika Bremer, Engle's latest novel in verse provides readers with a glimpse into the daily lives and struggles of both free and enslaved females living in Cuba in 1851.

Grandma's Pear Tree/El Peral de Abuela

After getting his ball stuck in a pear tree, a young boy asks various family members for help.

Let Me Help!

Perico wants to help his family with preparations for the Cinco de Mayo parade in San Antonio.

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred
Nothing is better than a delicious bowl of arroz con leche unless, of course, a host of farm animals have a hand in the preparation! Young children will delight in this cumulative tale that follows a farm maiden, her cazuela, and a barnyard full of animals that help her cook up a mouth-watering batch of rice pudding.
Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck/2012 Pura Belpre Award Honor
Engle's beautifully written poetic narrative cuts to the heart of an untold story in Latin American history and describes the enslavement of the native peoples of the Caribbean by the Spanish along with the mixing of Spanish and native blood that now forms the vast majority of Latin America.
Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller
Xavier Garza successfully captures the excitement that Max, an eleven-year-old Mexican-American boy, displays when he discovers that his favorite Lucha Libre wrestler is coming to town
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours/ 2012 Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Winner
Tonatiuh's stylized illustrations include elements of Mayan artwork and represent his interpretation of Diego's original artwork, answering the question: what would Diego paint today?
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald no combina
Confident Marisol McDonald is a Peruvian-Scottish-American with red hair and a penchant for peanut butter and jelly burritos.
Adelita and the Veggie Cousins/Adelita y las primas verduritas.
It's Adelita's first day at school and like most kids, she is concerned about making new friends. Miss Cantu, the class teacher begins the first lesson on the importance of vegetables and why it's healthier to eat fresh vegetables.
A bailar! Let's Dance!
Feeling the salsa beat and rhythm from their head to their toes, a young girl and her mother put on their best dresses and dancing shoes to salsa dance throughout the barrio. As the duo make their way to the park where Papi is playing salsa notes, various neighbors and community figures trail them.
Circo de pulgas (Flea Circus)
Tired of their ordinary life, a group of fleas have the spectacular idea to form a circus. They want it to be magical, full of color, and to allow them travel the world. The public is invited, the tent is packed, and everyone is entertained
Clara and the Curandera/Clara y la curandera
With seven brothers and sisters, it seems to Clara that she never has time or space to herself, which makes her feel grumpy. As a solution, Mami sends Clara to see a wise woman, a curandera, in apartment 220 for help.
Colores de la vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish
Featuring a menagerie of vibrant, hand-carved animal sculptures from Oaxaca, each page of this concept book highlights a specific animal on a vibrant solid-colored background followed by the Spanish and English equivalents to the color of the animal featured.
Un dia diferente para el senor Amos
This is a charming story about an elderly gentleman named Amos McGee whose visits with his animal friends at the zoo are a big part of his daily routine.
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
Duncan Tonatiuh (Dear Primo) delivers a picture book biography about the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera, following him as he progresses from a young doodler to a studied artist and finally, a master muralist.
Ebeneezer's Cousin
Seven-year-old Maria loves her dad and her stuffed monkey Ebeneezer and often brings pictures to show-and-tell that depict the duo in places across the globe that Maria's dad visits as part of his military service.
La gacela Julieta nos pone a dieta
An active and fit gazelle, Julieta, offers the two other main characters, a sleepy lion and an overweight tiger a deal. If they agree to not chase her, she will teach them how to lose weight and become fit.
El gato-vampiro y otros misterios
This fast paced 4th installment in the Cronicas del Vampiro Valentin series is a quick read and picks up quickly where the previous book ended with very little explanation.
Josete y Bongo van de safari
Josete is a small boy with a big imagination. It transforms his daily walk into an adventuresome safari replete with obstacles that require careful navigation.
Los latidos de Yago
After having been lost by her adventurous owner, a quirky sea snail now lives as the charm on the necklace of a boy named Yago who can neither walk nor speak. Though desperate to escape her new silent owner, the sea snail soon discovers that Yago possesses a unique way of expressing himself through the rhythms and intensities of his heartbeats.
Leonor Osa Menor
Luci, a firefly with magic powers, attempts to bring down the moon, but instead gets a big pan with a handle (i.e., the Big Dipper), and inside is a small, white, glowing bear named Leonor (i.e., the Little Dipper or Ursa Minor).
El miedo de Mo
Mo is a very small (7 centimeter tall) witch that is scared of children. She hears voices at night and has nightmares. During the day, the other witches laugh at her small size and her inability to scare others.
The Park Our Town Built/El parque que nuestro pueblo construyo
This vibrantly illustrated bilingual picture book tells the story of a community coming together to build a park and the ensuing party to celebrate its dedication.
Un pato en Nueva York
This musical tale tells the story of a little duck from a small pond with big dreams - to go to New York City and dance on Broadway. The duck never gives up his dream of dancing on a stage, despite many setbacks and lack of encouragement from his friends.
Pequenos cuentos para los dias de sol
Previously published in French, this collection of 30 different short stories, fables, and legends has been illustrated by multiple illustrators and centers around the theme of the sun.
Sylvia and Aki
After Sylvia Mendez and her family move into the house vacated by Japanese Americans sent to internment camps, she and her younger brothers are told they cannot attend the main school in their new town because they are Mexican.
Tia Isa Wants A Car
Tia Isa wants a car with a green coat that reminds her of the color of the ocean, but it will be a long time before she can buy one. Even though Isa works hard at the bakery, most of her savings are used to help her family back home.
Under the Mambo Moon
As each neighbor ranging from a preschool teacher to a college student to a professor to a doctor arrives at the store, they share a little of their past and describe the type of Latin American music they prefer.