Books by Rafael López

JUST ASK! by Sonia Sotomayor
Released: Sept. 3, 2019

"An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities. (Informational picture book. 4-8)"
Drawing on her experiences as a child with juvenile diabetes, the Supreme Court justice addresses kids' curiosity about disability and illness. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 27, 2019

"Like a concerto for the heart. (historical note) (Informational picture book. 4-6)"
Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreño performs for President Abraham Lincoln amid a raging Civil War in Engle and López's portrait of an artist. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"A beautiful vision of a global community. (Picture book. 2-8)"
A classic spiritual gets a brand-new twist in this oversized picture book by López in which diverse children share a glorious, colorful world of nature. Read full book review >
THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson
Released: Aug. 28, 2018

"A must-have book about the power of one's voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)"
School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson. Read full book review >
BRAVO! by Margarita Engle
Released: March 14, 2017

"An unusually slight offering from an author whose work is usually so compelling. (Picture book/biography/poetry. 8-12)"
This book features the lives of a variety of Latinos who faced life's challenges with aplomb and in their own ways. Read full book review >
Released: April 12, 2016

"An inspiring and wistful message wrapped up in a subtle, thoughtful narrative and lively, beautiful art: simply superb. (authors' note) (Picture book. 4-7)"
In a neighborhood full of gray, young Mira shares her colorful art (and heart) with the world beyond her window. Read full book review >
DRUM DREAM GIRL by Margarita Engle
Released: March 24, 2015

"A beautiful account of a young girl's bravery and her important contribution toward gender equality in the creative arts. (historical note) (Picture book. 3-8)"
Pura Belpré winner and Newbery honoree Engle, known for writing free-verse historical fiction, introduces readers to Millo Castro Zaldarriaga with this illustrated poem, inspired by her subject's childhood. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2013

"A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa. (biographical note; brief musical notation for rumba beat included in the text) (Bilingual picture book/biography. 4-8)"
Brown and López, who previously teamed for the award-winning My Name Is Celia (2004), collaborate anew in this energetic bilingual tribute to the salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

With the help of her animal friends, a farm maiden begins to cook. The goat lends some butter; the cow, fresh milk; the chicken, a few eggs—all for a pot of rice pudding. Inspired by "The House that Jack Built," Vamos offers a fresh, new twist, playfully introducing Spanish into this cumulative tale. The pot becomes the cazuela; the goat, the cabra; the butter, the matequilla; and so forth, until the text is bursting with bilingual energy. With each repetition, the momentum builds and bubbles until it reaches a boiling frenzy. Vamos then skillfully ties it all together, as each animal's Spanish name and accompanying ingredient is reiterated in a simple phrase—allowing readers to recall their meaning and relationship to the rice pudding. A party ensues, and all return to the cazuela to give thanks and share in their communal creation. López's artwork, with its desert palette punctuated by brilliant primary colors and its graphic, hard edges, suggestive of folk art, is a perfect match. His sophisticated, multilayered textures create depth, give form and work together to create an image that's easily readable, humorous and harmonious. Complete with an arroz con leche recipe and glossary of Spanish words, this thoughtful work will appeal to both Spanish speakers and learners. A wonderful read-aloud, filled with merriment and conviviality. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Released: March 1, 2009

A happy assortment of multicultural children, adults and friendly critters celebrate books and reading in recognition of El día de los niños/El día de los libros. Joyful and vibrant scenes convey the theme of the universal pleasures of reading every day and everywhere—under trees and in boats, on trains and planes, in the car and at the library. Imaginative tours take readers on undersea submarine adventures, floating hot-air balloon voyages and travels through space. The fun continues through the night: "Then, snug in our beds, / we read to the moon / and fly away in our books." The cheery and effortless dual English/Spanish text instills a festival atmosphere brilliantly expressed in López's luminous full-page montages of a world of reading opportunities. Mora's suggestions for celebrations across libraries, schools, bookstores, museums and community close out this gala and inspirational affirmation of "a growing nation of readers." A great choice for family readings at primary and nursery programs all year long. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
OUR CALIFORNIA by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

A historical and regional tour revealed through rhyming snippets and bright acrylics welcomes the young picture-book audience to California. A turned-sideways opening spread of a map of California introduces 14 double-page spreads that lead a geographic journey from San Diego to such diverse places as Yosemite, Death Valley's Furnace Creek and the Channel Islands. There are historic trips to Sacramento's Capitol Dome in the time of the Pony Express; Monterey when sardines were fished and then sold on Cannery Row; and Coloma when James Marshall discovered gold. Simple couplets focus the vivid composition that's scratched and scraped on textured wood, creating a grandiose sense of history and place. The journey's end concludes with state facts and an expansive array of 75 bulleted items, the eclectic choices following no theme or organizational scheme other than their proximity to the visited areas in the poems. Included are lesser-known places such as Paul Ecke's poinsettia farm close to San Diego and well-known sites as the La Brea Tar Pits along with factoids about the endangered condors and California's motto, "Eureka." A brilliant tickler for budding historians and travel bugs. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)Read full book review >
YUM! MMMM! ¡QUÉ RICO! by Pat Mora
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

Haiku celebrating the diversity of edible plants native to the Americas—blueberries, chocolate, prickly pears, pecans and more. Each spread includes an informative paragraph explaining the probable origin, history and some trivia for the plant described in the poem. (The word pecan, for example, comes from a French word meaning, "nut to be cracked on a rock.") López's vibrant, folklorish illustrations make the book a visual feast, but the haikus are uneven. Some (Chiles: "Dad bites green mouth-fire / laughs when tears fill his eyes, sighs / ‘Mmmm! This heat tastes good' ") evoke the essence of their subject; others (Potato: Underground magic. / Peel brown bundle, mash, pile high. / Salt and pepper clouds) are just confusing. More interesting as social science than as poetry, but visually gorgeous. (Nonfiction/poetry. 7-12)Read full book review >