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FELÍZ NEW YEAR, AVA GABRIELA! by Alexandra Alessandri Kirkus Star


by Alexandra Alessandri ; illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8075-0450-5
Publisher: Whitman

It’s New Year’s Eve at Abuelita’s finca, and Ava struggles to overcome her shyness.

Ava is excited to cook and play with her cousins and to join in family fun on the farm during her visit. Every time she wants to speak up, though, she finds that it’s much harder than she thinks it should be. Ava’s mamá reassures her that “There’s nothing wrong with being shy. When you’re ready, your voice will come out and play,” which gives Ava the confidence she needs to slowly come out of her shell. Colombian New Year’s traditions, such as eating 12 grapes at midnight for 12 months of good luck, are woven into the story for an added holiday experience. Delicious Colombian foods are depicted in joyful illustrations that add even more cultural details. The story’s seamless incorporation of Spanish idioms and phrases lets Spanish-speaking readers hear themselves on the pages and provides support for those interested in learning more. Shyness isn’t portrayed as a negative trait, and Ava is given the space by her family members to find her voice on her own terms. Ava and her family are depicted with shades of brown skin and hair.

This gentle family story lets readers know that shyness is nothing to worry about.

(author's note, glossary) (Picture book. 3-8)