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ABUELA'S FIDEO

A STORY OF A GRANDMA'S LOVE

A tender tale of love and food triumphing over loss.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2023

A Latine child remembers her grandmother’s love through the scents and tastes of a favorite soup in this debut picture book.

On a rainy day, Dulce Ramos yearns for her grandmother’s fideo soup. But because Abuela has died, Dulce believes there’s no way to figure out the recipe. Remembering the times she watched Abuela cook, Dulce decides to try her own recipe—to disastrous results. In tears from her failure and grief, Dulce explains to her mother: “I was missing her, and I thought making some fideo would make me feel better, but it just made me feel worse!” Dulce and her mother wish they’d learned the recipe from Abuela, but as they share their memories of how they helped her at each step of the process, they realize they know more than they thought. They start to make the soup, and the final product tastes like Abuela’s love for them. This touching story of sorrow and togetherness gives a strong sense of the feelings of sadness people experience when their relatives die as well as delivering an empowering message that memories keep their love for them alive. Tijerina presents simple, brief passages on each page, incorporating some Spanish vocabulary to great effect, letting her illustrations convey the action. The geometrically styled cartoon images—featuring big, round eyes and triangle noses—are so heartfelt readers will imagine the smells (of delicious fideo and Dulce’s mistake) coming right off the page.

A tender tale of love and food triumphing over loss.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2022

ISBN: 9781736418239

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Del Alma Publications, LLC

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

Categories:

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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