MY DIARY FROM HERE TO THERE/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá

In an autobiographical outing written in English and Spanish, Amada tells her diary all about her fear of moving from her home in Juárez, Mexico, to not only a new town, but also a new country. Fortunately, she has a father who understands her trepidation and he tells her that as a child, he too had to make a similar move in reverse. Still, the trip is fraught with anxiety, especially since once they arrive in Mexicali, another border town, Papá will leave for Los Angeles to look for work. Once she arrives at her grandmother’s, she’s surrounded by helpful family members, her uncles telling jokes, doing magic tricks, and doing favors. Then she hears from her father who is picking in the fields of Delano, California. His news is not encouraging, but one day, he sends their green cards and they get set to leave for California. The diary follows them on their journey, until they reach Los Angeles and she closes with the news that Papá has found a better job. Filling her story with the details of this watershed in her life, Pérez captures the essence of the trauma of moving to a new place that is universal to all children, but here it is expanded by the facts of her immigrant experience. Gonzalez, who teamed with Pérez on My Room (not reviewed), packs her lively pages with vibrant, jewel-toned color and vivid images, illuminating the text and adding the richness of the culture. A nice touch is the back of the book jacket, which is a map of the area, showing the route from Amada’s old home to the new one. Pérez has plainly remembered her grandmother’s advice: “Keep your language and culture alive in your diary and in your heart.” Very nicely done. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-89239-175-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS

A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes.

In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have “eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,” but her eyes are different. She “has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” Author Ho’s lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl’s eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama’s “eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,” telling the narrator, “I’m a miracle. / In those moments when she’s all mine.” Mama’s eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah’s. While she notes that her grandmother’s eyes “don’t work like they used to,” they are able to see “all the way into my heart” and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho’s spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah’s eyes are like those of the narrator’s little sister. Mei-Mei’s eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho’s textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80.5% of actual size.)

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291562-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more