A risk of family diabetes prompts Tía Sofía to teach her nieces and nephews about alternatives to sugar when choosing meals and snacks.
Ten-year-old Tito and his cousins enjoy spending weekends at their aunt’s house, playing board games and watching television. On this weekend, Tía Sofía tells the family that everyone must help Tito eat healthier to avoid developing diabetes like his grandfather and uncle. To do this, they must eliminate as much hidden sugar as possible and eat natural sugars such as those in fruits. Under their aunt’s guidance, the children spend the day analyzing all their meals. They learn, for example, that ketchup and relish include sugar, but fresh tomato and homemade salsa on a hamburger can be healthier and just as delicious. At day’s end, they are surprised with an apple turnover, sans sugar but made with cinnamon, that holds its natural delicious sweetness simply from the juice of the apples. Latino family scenes painted in gouache on textured paper are populated by amiable, brown-skinned characters who seem to enjoy the challenge presented to them. The weekend concludes with the only acceptable sugar treat, a sweet kiss from Tía Sofía.
Though the focus on sugar is apparent, an underlining theme of balancing nutrition with exercise rounds out the purpose-filled story told with a fluent dual English and Spanish text. (Picture book. 6-8)