Books by Mimi Chapra

Released: July 1, 2006

Something of the tenderness of 1960s and '70s picture books suffuses this bilingual tale of a young girl's trip with her mother from tropical Latin America to Ohio to visit relatives. Lucy is excited to meet her extended family, but also notes the differences between her world of banana trees and flamingos and their Ohio farm, as well as the difficulties of not being able to make herself understood to English-only speakers. She especially wishes she could communicate her homesickness to Sparky, her cousin Robby's dog. With Robby's help, Lucy begins to learn English and to feel more at home. Chapra's text and its accompanying Spanish translation, full of details and Lucy's emotions, avoid the choppy simplicity of easy-reader texts for longer and more complex sentences, interweaving Spanish and English together where appropriate. Escrivá's illustrations are detailed, lushly colored, and employ an accentuated roundness, especially in the over-sized heads of her characters, that combines realism and cartoon. Sweet, languid and full of family warmth, this is perhaps better suited to one-on-one parent-child readings than group read-alouds and should prove especially useful where immigration and separated families are part of the local fabric. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2004

Amelia, a young Cuban immigrant to the US, is so excited to think of the possibilities of her first "show-and-tell" experience that she doesn't quite get the directions down; instead of bringing something small to put in the basket and pass around the room, she wears her fiesta dress. Utterly embarrassed when she realizes her mistake, she's at first too frightened to speak, but the swishing of her skirts against one another reminds her of the tropical breezes of home and loosens her tongue. While Amelia's timidity is directly related to her "foreignness," being different is an experience that all children face, and all will sympathize with her discomfort. Avilés's rich hues suggest the tropical warmth of Cuba, and the exaggerated roundness of her faces conveys the openness of Mrs. Jenner's multicultural classroom. Sweet-tempered and inviting, Chapra's debut zeroes in on a common emotion, while also introducing Amelia's Cuban culture, inserting Spanish words into the English text, and referring in passing to children named Parvati, Moyo, and Akio. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >