Books by Cristina Salat

PEANUT’S EMERGENCY by Cristina Salat
Released: July 1, 2002

Peanut, a young African-American girl, gets a lesson in emergency management. Peanut's mother doesn't arrive to take her home from school. She is grouchy and not a little spooked. She looks for her emergency money zipped into her sneakers to make a phone call, but remembers she spent it on cupcakes. While she is pondering what to do, a stranger asks her to come help him find his lost dog. Peanut remembers that she is not to talk to strangers, so she heads for the coffee shop where she knows the owner, Mrs. Yee. They call Peanut's home, but there is no answer. Peanut feels "icy silver sad" and when it comes time to close the shop, Mrs. Yee tells Peanut she can come home with her. Peanut says she cannot go to anyone's house without telling her mother. They are about to call the police—Peanut now feeling "queasy-orange-sick-to-my-stomach worried"—when Mrs. Yee tries Peanut's home once more and her mom answers (the car broke down). Though she did spend her emergency money on cupcakes and also wandered away from school, her family sings Peanut's praises for avoiding strangers, getting help, and for being brave and keeping her head. It's emergency enough any time little kids are left to their own devices, but it will likely happen and this safety primer should help keep the boogies at bay. A list of safety rules is attached to the jacket and can be retrieved from the publisher's Web site as well. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
LIVING IN SECRET by Cristina Salat
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

After six years in her father's custody, Amelia, 12, escapes through a window at three a.m. to live with Mom and Janey, whose lesbian bond is in its ninth year. At first, Mom stays in New York to confuse Dad's detective while Amelia and Janey fly to San Francisco and set up house under new names; Amelia describes the anxious care required to keep their stories consistent and avoid attention. Though she doesn't go to school (they hire a tutor), she becomes close to a girl she meets at the library, but it's not an easy friendship: Elizabeth reads Amelia's secretiveness as racism (Amelia's not sure about bringing Elizabeth home, but it's not because she's black) or as lack of trust. Eventually, Amelia confides in her friend, and Elizabeth holds true (though her nice, strict parents have their prejudices). Then the detective tracks them down, and—forcibly and under threat of prosecution- -Dad takes Amelia back to Long Island, where she manages to make contact with Mom and will probably accept her offer to reopen the custody question in court. Salat's debut is carefully fashioned to present the issues: Amelia has always preferred her mother, whose relationship with Janey is mature, stable, and affectionate; her placement with Dad was a result of homophobia- -his and the court's. The main characters are likable and believable, though not shown in depth; Dad, however, is so one- dimensionally adamant that it's hard to credit Amelia's love for him. Even so, crafted with insight and skill. (Fiction. 11-14) Read full book review >