Books by Manuel Monroy

CARAVAN TO THE NORTH by Jorge Argueta
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2019

"This moving work should help children understand the current national discussion. (afterword, map) (Verse fiction. 9-adult)"
In October 2018, hundreds of people gathered in the capital city of El Salvador to form a caravan heading to the United States. Through the voice of one of these asylum seekers Argueta chronicles the unimaginable walk to the Tijuana border. Read full book review >
WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? by Elisa Amado
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 10, 2014

"An energetic, simple exploration of food's journey from farm to table for today's young locavores. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)"
Chepito, an inquisitive little boy, wanders around his agricultural community posing the titular question to the various people he encounters, all laborers involved in food production. Read full book review >
WHAT ARE YOU DOING? by Elisa Amado
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2011

A young boy discovers the possibilities of reading on his first day of school. In an unnamed Latin American country, Chepito sets off to explore his neighborhood. He asks the titular question to the seven people he encounters with books, from a girl reading a Mafalda comic book to a mechanic poring over a repair manual to an archeologist on a Maya site. Each answers Chepito's questioning refrain of "Why, why, why?" differently, illuminating reading's potential. After a barely shown half-day at school, Chepito returns home with a book of his own, eager to share his discovery with his mother and younger sister. Guatemalan-born Amado spends half of the book in a repetitive-phrase pattern but then abruptly shifts to a more traditional narrative format. While some of the familiar questions reappear, the author never regains the engaging structure of the first 14 pages. A few of the words ("hieroglyphics," "stela" and "archeologist") will be unfamiliar to the book's audience, and teachers and parents may wish for a glossary or an author's note for explication of the Maya references in the text and illustrations. Mexican illustrator Monroy's palette of mostly tans, browns and greens gives the artwork a nostalgic feel but may appeal more to adults than to young children. Nevertheless, the book captures some of the initial excitement of emergent literacy against a setting too-little seen in North American children's books. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
BE A BABY by Sarah Withrow
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

This original lyrical homage to a baby offers metaphorical images for each kind of mood or action an infant might experience in her very young life. Being a baby encompasses the happy cooing of a bird, the playfulness of a tub of pudding or a monkey's hunger satisfied with bananas. Playfulness and wonder lead to fatigue, inevitable tears and to the eventual peacefulness of sleep. A mother's understanding voice tells her little one to "Be a moonbeam, Baby. / Be everything you are. / And I'll toss you to the sky top / to meet the northern star. / Or be a baby, Baby, / and I'll bundle you up tight. / And I'll rock you in my arms / until the night turns light." Gouache paintings in soft, muted blues, browns and greens provide background settings for a pink-skinned baby girl with wide curious eyes. The gentle rhyming text and the message it conveys is as much for new moms as for babies discovering themselves and the world around them. Multiple read alouds will surely be welcomed. (Picture book. 6-18 months)Read full book review >
WHEN I WAS A BOY NERUDA CALLED ME POLICARPO by Poli Delano
BIOGRAPHY
Released: June 1, 2006

Chilean poet Délano recalls his childhood contact with the eccentric Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda in this unusual memoir. The son of Chilean diplomats living in Mexico during WWII, he was eight when his parents lived with Neruda and his wife Delia. "My childhood memories are filled with the things that happened during those days—my adventures with Tío Pablo," writes Poli. A larger-than-life figure, Neruda impresses young Poli with his unusual tastes and political opinions. On one occasion, Neruda's pet badger, El Niño, attacks Poli, and he observes Neruda eating grasshoppers, worms and ants. On a trip to Acapulco, Neruda gives Poli goggles, so he can explore underwater flora and fauna. He witnesses Neruda's anti-fascist politics when they encounter insolent Germans in a restaurant. But Neruda also teaches Poli the meaning of fate and competition. Deceptively simple tan-and-grey illustrations evoke the wartime era. This very personal and engaging account captures the childlike fantasy and enthusiasm of a literary giant while introducing readers to a sampling of his poems. (prologue, biographical note) (Biography. 8-10)Read full book review >
ROOSTER/GALLO by Jorge Luján
by Jorge Luján, illustrated by Manuel Monroy, translated by Elisa Amado
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2004

Luján's nine-line poem, ably rendered into English by Amado, is a hymn to the coming and going of the day. Imagistically vivid, the poem features the rooster who calls the sun, the sun whose hand brings the day, and the night with its cape full of stars. Luján's original Spanish is featured in large print with the English translation beneath it, but as powerful as the poem is, its brevity makes the artwork the real star of this gorgeous offering. Monroy's rich blues and simple shapes especially make this very short work a real treat to hold and to look at again and again. Perhaps loveliest of all is the rooster "evolving" into a constellation as another day begins. The sharp, evocative language should stir children's imaginations as well as pleasing the adults who may be reading to them and who will almost certainly feel that Luján's poem for children is more delightful than many so-called "adult" poems. (Picture book/poetry. 2-4)Read full book review >