Hello! There are times when you feel down in the dumps and you need something to lift your spirits. I was in the middle of reading a book but it bummed me out so I decided to delve into Edelweiss in search of ~something~ and I ended up striking (book) gold. In my search, I found three amazing picture books, all with either a Latinx author and/or illustrator.
In this post, I’ve united the reviews I’ve done for three upcoming picture book releases I loved, since they’re short and I thought it would be best to have them all together and give them all a collective shout-out.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, ill. by Zeke Peña
A celebration of the love between a father and daughter, and of a vibrant immigrant neighborhood, by an award-winning author and illustrator duo.
When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her.
But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.
With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
In this singular book, Isabel Quintero narrates an afternoon between Daisy and her Papi. They zoom around the city of Corona, California, pointing out the places they know and love. It’s a vibrant tour of tortillerías, churches, and markets, of la casa de abuelita, the construction site where Papi works. Succinctly, it’s home.
An ode to the author’s father and family, with its lyrical style that keeps your eyes glued to the page to the details she talks about. Add to that the colorful nod to the illustrator’s heritage in the way the art style’s full of love and appreciation. The book kept a smile on my face, even in the face of the book’s commentary on how communities of color adapt to a changing socio-economic landscape; it felt like a warm hug from your parents and a loving tribute to a hometown.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the team at Kokila for providing an advance copy!
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez, ill. by Jaime Kim
A powerful, lyrical debut picture book celebrating diversity for children from all backgrounds and of all colors, especially for kids who have ever felt like they don’t belong.
Where am I from?
You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep….
When a little girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—she’s no longer as sure as she was about her answer. She turns to her abuelo for help. However, he doesn’t quite give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
“Where are you from?” A loaded question, usually targeted toward People of Color under the guise of curiosity, but not understanding its effect and casual microaggression. “But where are you really from?” It’s the insistence and entitlement wrapped in the accusation, because you are indeed being pointed out as Other. The fact that we’re Othered from childhood and that it never actually stops is a trauma in and of itself, without even adding the generational trauma we’re carrying depending on what culture we’re from.
The author pokes at the question from the point of view of a young girl asking her abuelo after being hounded by many people with the same interrogative: Where are we from? Abuelo then proceeds to describe where she’s from, all the cultures and all the people that have helped make our protagonist who she is. It’s at once beautiful and real, in the way its lyricism can at once make you fall in love with el coquí puertorriqueño and make your heart break over the Argentinian Madres de Plaza de Mayo. Where Are You From? is a universal story for those who’ve been displaced due to many factors and find themselves in the US, but it favors the Latinx population.
Yamile Saied Méndez pens a heartfelt tribute to those whose identities are questioned every day, and paired with the beautiful earthy tones that South Korean artist Jaime Kim brings to the text, the words come to life in a sunrise of discovery and sunset of self-acceptance.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the folks at HarperCollins for providing a copy for review.
I’m A Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera, ill. by Juana Medina
When a baked potato–loving lady adopts a dog, she adores him unconditionally—and given the pup’s small, round frame and warm, brown coat she can’t help but call him “Baked Potato”! But what happens when a dog who thinks he’s a baked potato gets lost? Will he find his lady? And more importantly, will he find himself? I’m a Baked Potato! is a fun, bighearted story about the names we’re given, the names we choose, and how both can help us find our way home. Full of heart and laugh-out-loud moments, this story will leave readers giggling—and looking at pets in a whole new way.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
A sweet and fun story that brings back memories of ARE YOU MY MOTHER?, in I’M A BAKED POTATO! we see a dog try to find its way home and figure out who he is. When Baked Potato gets lost in the city whilst looking for his owner, he suffers a bit of an identity crisis upon realizing he’s not a baked potato. It’s a whirlwind of discovery and hilarity as Baked Potato jumps from one scene to the next, from one emotion to another. The illustrations by Juana Medina transport us visually, as the lines and swirls make them look like they’re in motion and compliment the writing from Primavera.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Chronicle Books for the review copy!
Release date: May 7th, 2019. You can pre-order this book now!
That’s all for this post! See you next time!