Books by Julie Maren

AN ORANGE IN JANUARY by Dianna Hutts Aston
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

Pint-sized consumers follow an orange as it travels from blossom to truck to store and finally to lunch box in this look at how we get a taste of sunshine in the midst of wintry weather. After pollination by bees, the orange grows, "fed by the earth's soil and the ocean's breath." With lots of rain and sunshine, it is ready to be picked by a suntanned hand. From there, it's shipped across long distances to grocery stores, until it's chosen by a small boy (whose round face echoes the shape of the fruit). Its final destination is his lunch box. At recess, he shares the pieces with his friends, "so that everyone could taste the sweetness of an orange in January." Maren's acrylics perfectly capture the land of sunshine and oranges; readers' mouths will water in anticipation. A good springboard for discussing food's origins for the youngest listeners. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
CELIA CRUZ by Veronica Chambers
Released: June 1, 2005

This heartfelt biography celebrates the life of Cuban singer Celia Cruz from her childhood in Havana to her international fame as the Queen of Salsa. As a girl, Celia's voice enchanted neighbors when she sang lullabies to her younger siblings. In high school, she sang Afro-Cuban rhythms in local clubs. Her big break came in 1950 when she was hired as lead singer for Cuba's most popular band, La Sonora Matancera, and together they created a new style of Latin dance music. In 1960, Celia left Cuba forever for a singing career in Hollywood. Over the next 40 years she spread salsa music worldwide singing "sweet sugar" wherever she went. Text and illustrations highlight major events in Celia's life and effectively convey the theme of the little "songbird" who became the Salsa Queen. The vibrant acrylic and collage illustrations, with their sizzling colors, bold patterns and images of birds, music, flowers and sugar, work harmoniously with the text to create an inspired and inspiring introduction to a Latina idol. (author's note, glossary, selected discography) (Picture book. 7+)Read full book review >