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This whimsical tale is written and illustrated by Italian-Brazilian writer Eva Furnari. Although this story comes from Brazil, it has universal appeal for children all over the world. Furnari’s surrealist illustrations are inspired by the way children draw, free of artistic molds and full of humor. Through her use of bright colors and unconventional lines, her drawings capture the emotion of her cast of quirky characters. Fuzz McFlops also has pages that are styled like letters written on vibrant stationery, old user manuals, prescription letters, telegrams, music sheets, and framed portraits, which adds a nice touch to the story.

Join Little Lobo and his dog Bernabe as they visit a busy, border town market, firstly, to deliver many much-needed supplies to vendors, and secondly, to gather their own special treats, traded items, and once in a lifetime experience! While accompanying Little Lobo and Bernabe to the  market, the reader is met with brilliant, comic book style illustrations paired with Spanish vocabulary and phrases, some that are translated, others’ that are translated in the glossary at the end of the book. Written, illustrated, and translated by Raúl the Third and vividly colored by Elaine Bay, ¡Vamos! offers a bilingual adventure through a vibrant, colorful, town marketplace while introducing simple Spanish words and phrases to the reader in an i-Spy meets Richard Scarry’s Busytown type of way.   

In this book, readers will find 82 songs and rhymes, in Spanish with English translations. Compiled by Mama Lisa (i.e., writer Lisa Yannucci) and countless other contributors to share in the tradition, culture, and history of children’s songs, rhymes, lullabies, and games popular in Mexico, the book has much to offer to readers of all ages—from children to adults.

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New Mexican legend Rudolfo Anaya has brought an ancient Mexican tale to life with his adaptation of La Llorona. Many cultures in Latin America have a version of La Llorona that they tell their children as a way to teach respect and deference. However, Anaya’s version is rooted in Aztec legend and deviates from original stories with magical elements. The story opens with the birth of Maya, a child of the sun who will live forever. Her existence threatens the god, Señor Tiempo (father time), as everyone must age and die. A local chief priest warns Maya’s family, and they hide her away in the jungle near a volcano. Maya spends her time weaving baskets from corn husks and making friends with the animals.


Waiting for the Biblioburro, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is a magical story about a young girl’s search for literacy in a remote village near La Gloria, Colombia. After her teacher moves away, Ana reads the same book until its words are etched in her memory. She makes up stories of her own to lull her little brother to sleep at night. Then, one day, an unexpected visitor rides into town on two donkeys. This man is a bibliotecario, a librarian who travels with books strapped to his donkey friends, Beto and Alfa. Tantos cuentos! So many stories! Ana’s world opens up just a little wider when the librarian clippity-clops into town with Alfa, Beto, and dozens of books.

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Cuban author, Mayra Lazara Dole challenges gender roles in her picture book Drum, Chavi, Drum! Chavi was born to be a drummer, if only the people of her town would allow her to play in the Calle Ocho Festival. In particular, the music teacher Mr. Gonzales tells Chavi that only boys should play drums. This does not deter Chavi, and she continues to tippy-tap-chicky-chack on any surface she can find. On the day of the Calle Ocho Festival, Chavi and her best friend Rosario dress up in masks and hats to attend.

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Laura Lacámara’s story Floating on Mama’s Song is a testament to the power music has on happiness. When Anita turns seven, her life is upended when her mother’s songs start to make people and animals float in the air. Afraid someone will get hurt, or neighbors will begin gossiping, grandma begs Anita’s mother to stop singing. In an attempt to keep everyone safe, Anita’s mother gives up her love of singing.

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María Eugenia Manrique’s The Caiman is a unique and heartwarming tale of a man’s love for this unusual pet alligator. Deep in San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela, lived many exotic animals. Unfortunately, these animals were often exploited by hunters in the area. A baby caiman alligator was left orphaned at just a few days old. A jeweler by the name of Faoro had a love for all animals, and he vowed to take care of the little alligator. As time passed, Night the alligator grew ten feet long. Everyone in the village loved Night and she loved them. As time passed, Faoro grew sick and passed away. The alligator mourned the loss of her owner and did not eat for weeks. Faoro’s wife, Angela, knew Night was inconsolable. Angela thought of her beloved husband and sang to the alligator. Finally, the alligator emerged from her sadness and went on to live the rest of her life with Angela by her side.

This collection presents 29 traditional Spanish nursery rhymes from Latin American and Spanish heritage. As the reader opens the book, each page has the original rhyme in Spanish on one side and an English adaptation on the other side, accompanied by large colorful illustrations. The rhymes cover a broad range of topics such as farm animals, getting sick and seeing the doctor, rice pudding, and all kinds of outdoor play. The English rhymes are not an exact translation, they are adaptations and renditions that stay as close to the original meaning as possible while still keeping the poetic meter and rhyme. While this collection would be very meaningful for bilingual children, it is also enjoyable for readers who speak only one of these languages.

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The Lizard and the Sun, written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Felipe Dávalos, is a magical story about a lizard’s relentless search for the sun. In an ancient pyramid city located in Mexico, the sun disappeared from the sky. Birds search the sky, the fish search the lakes, and the jaguars search the forests to no avail. Eventually the animals and the people of the city give up on their search. The emerald-colored lizard was the only one who had faith that she would one day find the sun. On a trip through the rocks, the lizard finds an enchanting glowing rock. Without hesitation, she scurries to the emperor of the city. The emperor enlists the help of the woodpecker to break through the rock’s surface. Inside the rock is the sun, fast asleep. The three try their best to wake up the sleeping sun but cannot get him to leave his rock. Finally, the emperor has an idea, the city residents entice the sun out of his hibernation with a grand party filled with music and dance. The sun rises in the sky, content with the party planned just for him.

Songs from a Journey with a Parrot is a compilation of 30 lullabies, rhymes, and lullabies from Portugal and Brazil. The book has several parts to it. The first part is the text of a song under the header for the country of origin, accompanied with an illustration; the second part is the full text of the nursery rhyme or lullaby in Portuguese and English, along with a description and history of the story. Finally, a CD is included with all the songs so that the reader can listen and follow along with the book. The illustrator, Aurélia Fronty, is a French artist who uses a rich color palette and creative style to help capture the essence of the songs reflective of each country.

Paloma Valdivia’s And So It Goes is a thoughtful picture book that gently discusses the concepts of life and death. Throughout the story, Valdivia connects the coming and going, the birth of new life and the passing of others, as a natural part of life. Everything is circular and connected, people who leave us cross paths with those about to be born, and they greet each other warmly with wishes of happiness. Valdivia reminds us that it’s a mystery where people go when they leave us, but we can remember them. It’s also a mystery where our lives will lead, so we need to enjoy our time here while we can. Valdivia’s charming mixed-media illustrations make great use of vivid colors, patterns, and texture, creating a beautiful and calming background for this heavy discussion. A profoundly beautiful story that helps young children begin to contemplate mortality.

Lilus Kikus and Other Stories is a collection featuring the short novel, Lilus Kikus, and four short stories written by the feminist Mexican writer, Elena Poniatowska. Lilus Kikus, originally published in 1954, follows the life of a whimsical and inquisitive little girl named Lilus. Lilus is always curious and eager to learn about the world around her. Her favorite thing to do is “nothing,” which involves simply observing things, like lizards, shells on the beach, and her next-door neighbor. Unlike her father, she feels trapped when following a rigid schedules. However, Lilus's life changes when she is sent off to convent school. Due to the mature content and themes of this book, it may be more easily understood by readers 13 years and older.  

Fuzz McFlops
Vamos Let's Go to the Market
Mexican Kids Songs and Rhymes
La Llorona
Waiting for the Biblioburro
Drum Chavi Drum
Floating on Mama's Song
The Caiman
Pio Peep
The Lizard and the Sun
Songs from a Journey
And So It Goes
Lilus Kikus
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