Books by Anthony Accardo

RICARDO’S RACE/LA CARRERA DE RICARDO by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 31, 2007

This direct and heartwarming biography follows the life of Ricardo Romo from his boyhood in San Antonio, Texas, as the son of small grocers, through his hard work and successes as a high-school and university athlete and into his adult life as a schoolteacher, professor and university president. Focusing both on family love and responsibilities, and his school successes and disappointments (his junior-high counselor suggested he not attend a college-preparatory high school), Bertrand portrays a boy and young man always ready to contribute to his family or team and prepared to push himself as far as he can. Accardo's old-fashioned and realistic artwork suits the time period—the 1940s through the 1960s—with rich colors and strong, simple lines, reminiscent of those in coloring books. Both English and Spanish texts are smooth, inviting and squarely aimed at young readers. (Picture book/biography. 8-11)Read full book review >
BENITO’S SOPAIPILLAS/LAS SOPAIPILLAS DE BENITO by Ana Baca
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 30, 2007

In her latest, Baca offers another tale about the appealing and not always sensible Benito. This time, as young Christina complains to her grandmother about summer heat, her grandmother tells her of a terrible drought in the days when her father Benito was just a boy, struggling alongside his mother to keep their farm going. After passing out while plowing under the blazing sun, Benito wakes to find a scarecrow has come to life and claims to know how to end the drought: by throwing balls of dough into the air to draw the rain and it works! When the balls of dough return to earth with the rain, Benito's mother fries them, thus creating sopaipillas—puffy cloud-like pillows of bread, "soup catchers." Accardo's illustrations are full-page panels, expressive, colorful and old-fashioned, just like the story itself. Young readers may wonder why no one else seems to know this sure-fire cure for drought, but the very foolishness of it will likely charm them. Both English and Spanish versions move smoothly and quickly, and best of all, there's a recipe for the treat at the end. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
WAITING FOR PAPÁ/ESPERANDO A PAPÁ by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 30, 2004

For three years eight-year-old Beto and his mother, Salvadoran refugees, have been in the US, where his grandfather already lived. But Beto's papá has been unable to get a visa, and the boy is adept at expressing his longing for his father as Father's Day approaches. The letter he writes for his class at school is so vivid that a radio personality has him read it on the air, and his eagerness to collect aluminum cans to raise money to buy his father a new pair of work boots soon involves the rest of his classmates. As exciting as these events are, nothing can approach Beto's joy when his father is finally able to enter the country. Accardo's illustrations are full-page, clean-lined, and pastel-toned, with faces reminiscent of Trina Schart Hyman's work on a larger scale. They face the appropriate text, rendered completely in both English and Spanish. Laínez's child-centered words make the concept of refugees more approachable and sympathetic, but Beto's love for his father goes beyond the specificity of the situation, making the story universally endearing. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
CHILES FOR BENITO/CHILES PARA BENITO by Ana Baca
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

In this New Mexican variation on "Jack and the Beanstalk," Christina's grandmother explains to her the importance of chile peppers to their people by telling her the story of her great-grandfather Benito. When young Benito's cow fails to win a prize at the county fair, he trades her for a packet of "magic" seeds. Although his trading partner tells him to plant and tend only one seed, Benito thinks it better to plant them all. Soon his mother's field is covered with the rapidly growing plants, and the neighbors angrily complain that the weed is invading their fields as well. But as Benito and the neighbors learn, the plant is not a weed; it yields tart but sweet red pods that add spice to meals. Besides providing opportunities for teachers to compare Jack and Benito, this variation also explains the presence of strung chiles—ristras—as fall and Christmas decorations in much of the Southwest. Accardo's illustrations feature warm pastels, slightly exaggerated facial characteristics, and sharp details. Rendered in both Spanish and English, the tale is a natural not only for southwestern libraries, but also for any serving Spanish-speaking patrons. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >