Let’s Work

Cynthia Weill scores again with an early concept book that bring every kind of job to life, including the work of the dedicated palm weavers of Flavio Gallardo’s workshop, whose miniature palm weavings illustrate this playful book, teaching children words for work in two languages. The weavers live in the village of Chigmecatitlán in the Mixteca part of the Mexican state of Puebla. With tremendous skill and patience, the artisans of this region practice palm weaving, a craft which came to Mexico even before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 15th century. Imagine being able to hold all of the illustrations in one book in the palms of your hands. You can do that with the tiny weavings in Let’s Work. Most pieces are no larger than a dime!

El Baile De Octavo Y Otros Recuerdos

Eleven-year-old Ada De Jesús was on the cusp of her teens when she moved to the United States from Puerto Rico. Hurricane Hugo had just decimated the island and her father couldn’t find a job. In Chicago, the white dress she arrived in didn’t protect her from the snow and frigid temperatures! Constantly exposed to new things, she developed a resilience that served her well. “From one place to another, like riding a bike, if you keep pedaling, you won’t fall.” Ada discovered that students in the United States were frequently disrespectful to their teachers. At school she often felt like a two-year-old as she grappled with a completely new language. In addition to navigating a different culture, she had to deal with all the issues familiar to teenage girls: the growth of body hair, pimples, menstruation and burgeoning feelings for the opposite sex. Her memories of first intimate encounters, fending off unwanted advances and fear of pregnancy will strike a chord with readers. In these short vignettes recollecting her middle-school years, Ada De Jesús shares her poignant and often funny experiences as a newcomer and an adolescent. Young readers will relate to—and laugh at—her experiences; some may take heart that they too will overcome the difficulties common at this age.

Carmen Learns English

The first day of school can be scary, especially when no one else speaks your language. Carmen, who speaks only Spanish, knows she must be brave. Her teacher’s Spanish is muy terrible; but with a little encouragement from la Senora, Carmen teaches the class Spanish words and numbers, and she in turn learns English from her new friends.

This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.

    My Name is Gabriela/Me Llamo Gabriela (Bilingual): The Life of Gabriela Mistral/La Vida de Gabriela Mistral

    Gabriela Mistral loved words and sounds and stories. Born in Chile, she would grow to become the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. As a poet and a teacher, she inspired children across many countries to let their voices be heard. This beautifully crafted story, where words literally come to life, is told with the rhythm and melody of a poem. The second in Luna Rising’s bilingual storybook biography series. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela is beautiful tribute to a woman who taught us the power of words and the importance of following our dreams. The story of Gabriela Mistral will continue to inspire children everywhere.

    Goodnight, Papito Dios / Buenas noches, Papito Dios

    “Papá, I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m scared.” Everyone knows that the trick to putting children to bed is creating a bedtime routine, and in this new children’s story from Victor Villaseñor, he recreates his own family’s bedtime tradition. Papá tells his son that every night when he was a boy, his mother would sing him to sleep with the turtledove song. “Coo-coo-roo-coo-coooo,” he sings, and tells the little boy about his very own Guardian Angel who will take him through the night sky to be reunited with God, or Papito Dios. “Then in the morning, you’ll come back refreshed, rested, and powerful as the wind.” As Papá sings the turtledove song to his son, he reminds the child that Mamá loves him, the dog and the cat love him, and his brothers and sisters love him too. Even the trees and grass and the flowers that dance in the wind love him. Gradually, the boy drifts off to sleep, feeling safe and warm in God\’s love and dreaming of the day when he will sing the turtledove song to his own children.

    Ricardo’s Race/ La Carrera De Ricardo

    Ricardo Romo never dreamed that running to catch the school bus would lead to a college education, and ultimately, to a long and respected career as a teacher, administrator, and university president. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas, the son of Mexican immigrants, and worked in his family’s small grocery store, where he learned to work hard and respect his family and neighbors. In school he learned that, as a Latino, he was expected to go to the technical high school rather than the one that prepared students for college, yet his teachers and coaches encouraged him to pursue his studies. They also fostered his natural athletic abilities as a runner. In high school, Ricardo set numerous records in track and cross country, including the country’s second fastest recorded mile at that time. While still a sophomore, he began to receive invitations from colleges and universities urging him to consider running for their schools. Ultimately, he went on to run for the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in history. While injuries ended Ricardo’s hopes of competing in the 1968 Olympics, his educational dreams were achieved when he obtained a master’s degree from California State University, Northridge and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, both in history. Currently, he is the president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a time line detailing Dr. Romo’s accomplishments as an athlete and a scholar is included.