Books by Eric Velasquez

OL' CLIP-CLOP by Patricia C. McKissack
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"This splendid 'jump story' is not for the faint of heart, but readers who relish edge-of-the-seat suspense done impeccably will be well-satisfied. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Storyteller McKissack crafts a spine-tingling tale set during colonial times about a greedy man who just may get the scare of his life. Read full book review >
AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY by Pamela M. Tuck
Released: April 1, 2013

"A warm, if understated, title about the struggle for equality. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)"
A tribute to her father, Tuck's school desegregation story highlights an African-American boy's triumph in a typing tournament. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 8, 2013

"History made immediate and meaningful. (author's note, bibliography, further reading, websites) (Informational picture book. 8-12)"
In a collective act of protest and heroism, an Ohio community successfully defied the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Read full book review >
SWIM! by Marilyn  Brigham
Released: May 1, 2012

"Forced enthusiasm and confusing images sink this experience. (Board book. 1-3)"
This ho-hum dip in the pool skims the surface without wading in the deep. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 2012

"A useful title in which young readers can gain an appreciation of a ground-breaking African-American sports figure. (author's note) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
Despite growing up in a community that was racially segregated, William Powell persisted in playing the game he loved, golf. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"A solid introduction to a lesser-known sports heroine. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)"
Malaspina's free verse tells the story of how Alice Coachman went from her Georgia hometown to the 1948 London Olympics, becoming the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal. Read full book review >
MY UNCLE MARTIN'S WORDS FOR AMERICA by Angela Farris Watkins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Though picture books about Dr. King by his family members and others abound, this stands out for its graceful, age-appropriate treatment of the Movement. (glossary, bibliography, books for young readers, index) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)"
Following My Uncle Martin's Big Heart (2010), this effort focuses more on King's work to end segregation than his life as a family man. Read full book review >
GRANDMA'S GIFT by Eric  Velasquez
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

"The sweetly understated story has Spanish words and sentences skillfully woven into the text throughout with translations provided in parentheses. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)"
In this touching autobiographical prequel to Grandma's Records (2004), Velasquez recalls a special Christmas vacation during his childhood when he stayed with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem). Read full book review >
MY UNCLE MARTIN'S BIG HEART by Angela Farris Watkins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"This unusual perspective and the dramatic art make this a worthwhile addition to the ever-growing MLK collection. (Informational picture book. 4-7)"
Martin Luther King's niece offers a child's-eye tribute to her famous uncle, whom she remembers as warm and loving, a man with a loud voice who enjoyed a good laugh. Read full book review >
MY FRIEND MAYA LOVES TO DANCE by Cheryl Willis Hudson
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2010

"A bit of a jumble, but a pretty one. (Picture book. 4-7)"
An African-American girl loves attending ballet class, tapping to jazz, singing in church and freestyling in the mall, but dancing in "kente cloth is best." Read full book review >
VOICES OF CHRISTMAS by Nikki Grimes
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Velasquez's striking, dramatic illustrations add to the personality of the characters, who are clearly of Middle Eastern ethnicity. (CD) (Picture book/religion. 6 & up)"
Grimes uses her talent as a poet to retell the Nativity story from several different viewpoints, each one a distinct voice with its own style. Read full book review >
THE RAIN STOMPER  by Addie Boswell
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"TAT'-type sequences, Boswell nevertheless shows how the spirit can overcome a rained-on parade. (Picture book. 4-8)"
It's the first day of spring, and Jazmin can't wait for the big parade. Read full book review >
I, MATTHEW HENSON by Carole Boston Weatherford
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

"Lovely and inspiring. (Picture book/biography. 6-11)"
A poetic first-person narrative puts readers in Matthew Henson's head as he endures institutionalized discrimination to pursue greatness in adventure, moving from cabin boy to able seaman, stock boy to explorer, eventually one of "[s]ix men—one black, one white, four Eskimos—" to reach the North Pole in 1909. Read full book review >
JESSE OWENS by Carole Boston Weatherford
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

"Perfunctory reading list appended. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)"
This soaring tribute to Owens reserves biographical details for the afterword, focusing instead on his Olympics experience from arrival in Berlin to triumphant ticker-tape parade back in New York. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

"This is a fascinating life laid out in clear writing that blends 16th-century history with his biography, as it combines wonderful historical and lush original art. (author's note, bibliography, quote and picture credits, glossary, discography) (Nonfiction. 11-14)"
Brewster introduces the multi-talented life of the man known to the French as Le Mozart Noir. Read full book review >
A SEASON FOR MANGOES by Regina Hanson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 18, 2005

"The story is as sweet as the mango that Nana savored. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)"
Through this gentle story of a Jamaican "sit-up" for a beloved grandmother who has recently died, readers will learn much about the love of family, customs and foods in the Jamaican culture. Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2005

"Budding magicians won't find more than hints here of how Houdini did it, but a tempting set of print and digital resources caps this perceptive and dramatic tribute. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)"
Still a name with which to conjure, Houdini left swaths of his past and his techniques shrouded in mystery—but here veteran biographer Krull peeks behind the curtain for glimpses of his life, his feats and his character. Read full book review >
LIBERTY STREET by Candice Ransom
FICTION
Released: Dec. 1, 2003

"Strong and compelling. (Picture book. 8-11)"
Kezia is a slave in the small household of Missus Grace. Read full book review >
GRANDMA’S RECORDS by Eric  Velasquez
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2001

"Although we can't hear Grandma's song, this heart-felt story has a melody of its own. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)"
In his debut as an author, Velasquez, illustrator of The Sound That Jazz Makes (2000) tells an entertaining first-person story (presumably autobiographical) of an unnamed Puerto Rican boy in the '50s who spends every summer with his grandmother in Spanish Harlem. Read full book review >
CHAMPION by Jim Haskins
BIOGRAPHY
Released: May 1, 2001

"Both the magnetic, complex subject and young readers deserve better. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)"
On the heels of the film, a new picture-book biography of the boxing powerhouse accorded the title of "Athlete of the Century." Read full book review >
THE SOUND THAT JAZZ MAKES by Carole Boston Weatherford
HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2000

"There are numerous picture books for young people that cover this territory with more energy and delight; most notably i see the rhythm (1998). (Picture book. 5-8)"
A brief history of African American music told in rhyme and dramatically rendered oils. Read full book review >
THE PIANO MAN by Debbi Chocolate
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

"For such a charming story, it's unfortunate that so many of these details are wrong. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Chocolate (Kente Colors, 1996, etc.) refers to her grandfather as the man behind this story, but this memory piece about a pianist in the days of silent films and vaudeville comes with the standard disclaimer—that all the characters and events are fictitious. Read full book review >
OFF AND RUNNING by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Lightweight. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Miata (The Skirt, 1992) is running for class president against Rudy and Alex (Boys at Work, 1995), but her campaign to beautify the school has less natural appeal than the boys' endearingly goofy promises of more recess and ice cream. Read full book review >
THE TERRIBLE, WONDERFUL TELLIN' AT HOG HAMMOCK by Kim Siegelson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 30, 1996

"A simple story that somehow seems to fill the senses. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10)"
Living on a remote island in the marshes of coastal Georgia, Jonas is looking forward to the big storytelling, a gathering of all the islanders. Read full book review >
THE SKIRT by Gary Soto
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

"A mixed showing from a talented author. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Again, fourth-grader Miata Ramirez has lost something. Read full book review >
FRONT PORCH STORIES AT THE ONE-ROOM SCHOOL by Eleanora E. Tate
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

"Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 10-13)"
Some of the lively characters in Just an Overnight Guest (1980) return in this celebration of storytelling and small-town life. Read full book review >