Books by Elena Gomez

CREATION SONG by Anna Scott-Brown
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

In this poetic retelling of the Genesis story, God dreams of the world and begins to sing. Striking illustrations blend rich color and batik-like patterns with arresting images of all his song calls forth. First, he creates the earth and its geology, then the sun, stars and planets. His tears of joy create water and his laughter, plants. Next come the animals. Finally, he sings a song that creates man and woman from man, and all dance together in praise and joy. Children will be drawn in by the story's lyrical descriptions, gentle humor and intricate, involving illustrations. While its influence is unapologetically creationist—God creates the planets and affects the earth's landscape, topics not directly covered in the original scripture—this is overall an accessible retelling. The sometimes biblical syntax ("From on high they landed on the earth…." "the music wrapped itself around man / and brought forth woman") may require some explanation for readers unaccustomed to such heightened language. While perhaps not appropriate for every collection, a lovely choice for a religious audience. (Picture book/religion. 5 & up)Read full book review >
MAMA'S SARIS by Pooja Makhijani
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 1, 2007

It's a girl's seventh birthday, and she wants to wear a sari, like her mother, who wears one on special occasions. "When you get older," Mama gently tells her, and then asks for help in choosing one to wear. Together they go through all of the saris, each one more beautiful than the next, each with its own memories. When they find a glowing orange one that Mama wore when the girl was born, it's clearly the best choice. Compared to Mama, though, the girl feels drab, so Mama finally agrees that it's time for the girl's first sari. The girl chooses a glittering blue-and-gold one, and Mama carefully pins it on, adds some bangles and finishes with a bindi. Enthralled, the girl turns to the mirror, and she is overjoyed to see that she looks just like Mama. Bright glowing saris float across the pages and frame this loving mother and daughter as they share memories and appreciate the beautiful fabrics and patterns. (glossary, author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
A WORLD OF PRAYERS by Jeremy Brooks
edited by Jeremy Brooks, illustrated by Elena Gomez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

Twenty-six short, Christian prayers from around the world arranged into thematic sections focus on morning, mealtime graces, nighttime and blessings. Brooks selected the poems and provides short comments on each section and an introductory page that includes the Lord's Prayer in English and Chinese. The choices are short and appealing, including some that are humorous, as well as many that are touchingly simple and heartfelt. Many reflect diverse cultures, including Israel, India, several Asian and African countries and groups as well as Native Americans. Gomez reflects the global focus in striking illustrations incorporating multiethnic children and elements from cultures appropriate to each poem. She uses vibrant colors, lots of swirling motion and patterns in costumes and blankets that add greatly to the volume's appeal. Her cover design incorporates feathered angel wings, Asian fabric patterns and the dove of peace against a subtle blue background showing the continents of the world. (Nonfiction. 4-8)Read full book review >
THROUGH THE HEART OF THE JUNGLE by Jonathan Emmett
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2003

Illustrated in warm bold colors, a cumulative rhyming poem tells of a chain reaction of individual animal actions. Initially revealed from last to first, the events are then repeated from first to last. "This is the fly, that buzzed through the heart of the jungle. This is the spider, that gobbled the fly, that buzzed through the heart of the jungle. This is the toad with the big googly eye, that gulped down the spider, that gobbled the fly," and so on. Backgrounds are textured, leafy, and abstract; animals are bright, fully identifiable, and full of motion. Smooth rhymes and impeccable rhythm make the text eminently accessible for repeat listeners to chime in. Jarring the flow for discerning readers, however, is a logical glitch: if the lion's roar "started the trouble" and everything else occurs in order after that, then the last two events are impossible, because a spider that has already been eaten can not go ahead and eat a fly. The phrase, "last, but not least" is also a confusing descriptor of the lion's roar, which occurs first; perhaps it refers to the fact that the roar is narrated last? Amply compensating and distracting, however, is the huge orange lion's mouth, which is diagonally open and toothy, but soft enough in line and texture to be more fascinating than scary. Good for story hour and group read-alouds. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >