Books by René Colato Laínez

CHILDREN'S
Released: May 31, 2019

"Inspired by the author's own story, this tale of a young boy's arduous escape serves as a crucial, insightful, and timely light shone on a sensitive, highly relevant subject. (author's note) (Bilingual picture book. 6-10)"
A pair of shoes serves as the constant in a grueling trek across three borders. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 14, 2017

"An engaging tale of a boy's spiritual awakening."
A bilingual picture book focuses on the childhood of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Read full book review >
MAMÁ THE ALIEN/MAMÁ LA EXTRATERRESTRE by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 15, 2016

" A delightful, original, clever, purposeful, multicultural alien tale. (glossary with pronunciation, author's note) (Bilingual picture book. 6-9)"
A young Latina is convinced her mother is an alien from another planet. Read full book review >
¡VÁMONOS! / LET'S GO! by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Though the book is unquestionably well-meaning, it just doesn't work except as a vocabulary builder. (Bilingual picture book. 3-8)"
This bilingual spinoff of "The Wheels on the Bus" features many of the vehicles associated with community helpers. Read full book review >
SEÑOR PANCHO HAD A RANCHO by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 15, 2013

"Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm. (glossary, pronunciation guide, author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)"
Colato Laínez (The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, 2010) presents a bicultural rendition of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," one of the most widely known and loved children's songs. Read full book review >
FROM NORTH TO SOUTH/DEL NORTE AL SUR by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

After his mother is deported by U.S. immigration officials, José and his father go to visit her at Centro Madres Assunta in Tijuana, where she will stay with other women and children until she gets her papers and can return. Frankly a plea for sympathy for families torn apart by immigration rules, this tender story is gently told in Spanish and English texts, together or on opposing pages. Young José recalls his day: the border traffic jam, the joy of seeing his mother, gardening and a seed game with other children in the shelter missing their parents and a final bedtime story told in the car's backseat. The author, a Salvadoran immigrant, teaches in a bilingual school where his students often experience family separations. Cepeda's oil paintings, full-bleed single- and double-page spreads, use bright colors and a variety of perspectives to reinforce the joyfulness of the day. A road map of the area between San Diego and Tijuana serves as endpapers. The child's perspective makes this a particularly moving glimpse of an increasingly common experience. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
THE TOOTH FAIRY MEETS EL RATÓN PÉREZ by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 23, 2010

Mexican-American Miguelito loses his tooth and so begins an amusing battle between the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez. Colato Laínez keeps the storytelling lively with bilingual exclamations seamlessly embedded in the dialogue between the two tooth-seekers. Through a series of entertaining misadventures the tooth seems unattainable until the rivals agree to work together. Lintern infuses the pixie Tooth Fairy with glowing pastel colors while portraying the dashing El Ratón Pérez with contrasting earthy hues. To perhaps signify the characters' common goal and eventual collaboration, the illustrator uses the same pale pink for the fairy's wings and the mouse's ears. After El Ratón Pérez uses el diente to fashion a rocket ship to visit the moon, the Tooth Fairy gets the tooth to help build her sparkling castle. And not only is Miguelito rewarded with two shiny coins under his pillow, but readers are treated to a clever introduction to two charming folk customs. (author's note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 31, 2009

On the first day in his new school, René's teacher gives everyone a nametag with their first and last names. Though René's last name, like many Salvadorans', has two parts, "Colato Laínez," his tag reads only "René Colato." Maybe the teacher ran out of ink? Adding "Laínez" on his own, René is teased about having an unusually "long dinosaur name" but uses the opportunity of a family-tree assignment to instruct everyone, including the teacher, about why both names together represent his full Italian and Spanish heritage. René's full name proudly reminds him that he is a product of both his father and mother's family histories, both rich in talent and hard work. Drawing from his personal immigrant experience, the author tells his story in a bilingual narration, his sincere, earnest voice augmented by Graullera Ramírez's softly colored cartoon-style watercolor scenes of family and classmates. The significance of this Hispanic tradition respecting both sides of a child's parentage is well explained in this easily understood example of cultural differences. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 30, 2005

Humorous illustrations, marked by oversized heads, mildly Cubist perspectives and rich pastels, combine with a wry narrative tone to fashion a marvelous look not simply at names shared by boys and girls, but also the transformation required of Spanish-speaking children as they remake themselves into English speakers. René the boy, a native El Salvadoran, is taken aback and then relieved to learn the name of the new girl in his class: taken aback that it's pronounced the same as his, relieved that it's spelled Renee. His discomfort leads him to research his name and write about it for a school essay contest, which he wins. The text moves swiftly forward in both English and Spanish, and René's essay provides a convincing and pertinent way for the author to point out the strong benefits of being bilingual and bi-national. A winner all-around. (Picture book. 6-9)Read full book review >
WAITING FOR PAPÁ/ESPERANDO A PAPÁ by René Colato Laínez
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 30, 2004

For three years eight-year-old Beto and his mother, Salvadoran refugees, have been in the US, where his grandfather already lived. But Beto's papá has been unable to get a visa, and the boy is adept at expressing his longing for his father as Father's Day approaches. The letter he writes for his class at school is so vivid that a radio personality has him read it on the air, and his eagerness to collect aluminum cans to raise money to buy his father a new pair of work boots soon involves the rest of his classmates. As exciting as these events are, nothing can approach Beto's joy when his father is finally able to enter the country. Accardo's illustrations are full-page, clean-lined, and pastel-toned, with faces reminiscent of Trina Schart Hyman's work on a larger scale. They face the appropriate text, rendered completely in both English and Spanish. Laínez's child-centered words make the concept of refugees more approachable and sympathetic, but Beto's love for his father goes beyond the specificity of the situation, making the story universally endearing. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >