Books by José Ramírez

Released: Sept. 4, 2018

"A musical journey perfectly aimed at young readers' excitement to know what they will be. (author's note, bibliography, discography) (Picture book/biography. 6-11)"
From the three-way scrimmage among his great-aunt, his father, and his mother for the right to name him—his mother won—to his growth as a musician, Carlos yearns to hear the song of angels. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

Quinito—of Quinito's Neighborhood (2005)—returns with a plethora of opposites as he escorts readers through his family's bilingual activities with Mami, Papi, little sister Clara and brother Juan. Readers learn his parents/padres have long hair/pelo largo, he has short hair/pelo corto, and hermanita Clara has almost no hair/casi no tiene pelo. While Quinito, Juan and Clara are young/jovenes, Grandpa and Grandma are old/son viejos. Some are neat/ordenado and some are messy/desordenado. Bold, bright double-page gouaches on textured canvas illustrate this cocoa-skinned Latino family inside and outside their home playing, working, reading, eating and finally retiring after a typical day. A dual text of English above an equally matched Spanish version will have preschoolers relating to the familiarity of Quinito's day and night activities, while children in a bilingual environment will appreciate the opposing features of each in two familiar languages. A glossary of bilingual terms summarizes all contrasting concepts. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

The author's love letter to his mother, a gentle, repetition of the words of a Latino lullaby, starts off with an image of a young boy too scared to fall asleep and a father remembering his own mother singing a beautiful song about a turtledove to him. The soothing "¡Cu-cu-ru-cu-cuuu!" of the dove helps all fall asleep, and the mother sings of the boy's guardian angel coming down to take the boy up to heaven to visit Papito Dios, el Padre Celestial, the Heavenly Father. The soft words are accompanied by strong illustrations of family bonds, Christian imagery and suns and moons with human features. Heavily outlined in black, the vivid, textured paintings have an eye-catching folkloric quality. The bland, sentimental bilingual text in English and Spanish may appeal to families seeking bedtime books with religious feelings. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Not so much a story as a small boy's introduction of his family members and neighbors, recounted as he makes his way down the street to school. Quinito's neighborhood includes signs in both English and Spanish, lots of small independent businesses and plenty of people who don't subscribe to traditional gender roles, including his father the nurse and his mother the carpenter. At every stop, Quinito knows someone and is sure of his welcome. Ramírez's acrylic-on-canvas paintings feature strong outlines, suggestive of woodcuts, exaggeratedly prominent faces and rich, darkly shaded colors. Not an essential purchase, but this will prove useful even so in curricular settings, when teachers and librarians are presenting units on community helpers and extended families. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: May 31, 2005

In this amusing, and mildly scatological, pourquoi tale set during the "Spring of Creation," the animals discover a tiny hairless creature they have never seen before—the first human. As they debate what to do about it (the carnivores suggest eating it), the frog decides to rub its stomach—like its own mother used to do—to see if the creature does anything besides smile. Thus they discover the baby's special gift—farting. They conclude that the baby's purpose is to bring all the animals together with laughter and thus enters the pourquoi: Frogs croak and turtles are always on the move trying to spread the news, and armadillos roll into balls with laughter at the idea that anyone will believe the news when they hear it. Ramírez's rich color-saturated, stylized illustrations recall in some ways the artwork of Pacific Northwest tribes. Longer than most picture books, and perhaps too indelicate for read-alouds with younger audiences, this is perfect for second through fifth graders and their sometimes-crude sense of humor. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >