El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!

If you’re looking for a book for a child who’s scared to try new things, I have the perfect pick for you today. El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! by Donna Barba Higuera and Juliana Perdomo is a wonderful picture book teaching young readers to face their fears.

Title: El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!
Author: Donna Barba Higuera
Illustrator: Juliana Perdomo
Publisher: Abrams Books For Young Readers
Published: July 13, 2021
Format: Picture Book

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! follows a young boy named Ramon who is settling into his new home, but is feeling nervous about his first day at school. El Cucuy (the Mexican Boogeyman) comes to scare Ramon at night, but Ramon has too many other fears to be afraid. But as it turns out, El Cucuy is scared, too. El Cucuy misses their home just like Ramon—he doesn’t like the new sounds of their home or that there are fewer dark spaces for him to hide in. Ramon and El Cucuy share their worries and build each other up to face the school day, realizing they are both brave and strong. I absolutely love El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! for all those young reader who need a reminder that they can do hard things.

The illustrations are fantastic, too. The bold colors throughout are eye catching, but I think my favorite part is how cute El Cucuy is. I never thought the Boogeyman could be so adorable!

There is quite a bit of Spanish peppered throughout the English text, but it is done seamlessly. It doesn’t read like a forced Spanish vocabulary lesson, but simply like a conversion between two bilingual friends. Presenting the opportunity to discuss Mexican folklore and the Spanish language, El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! would be a great addition to school and classroom libraries—especially for a first day read aloud.

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! is officially releasing tomorrow (July 13, 2021), but you can preorder a copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Abrams Books For Young Readers for sending me a review copy of this adorable book. It was such a lovely read!

About The Author:

Donna Barba Higuera grew up dodging dust devils in the oilfields of central California. She was a daydreamer, constantly blending life experiences and folklore into stories. Now she weaves them into picture books and novels. Higuera currently lives among the spiraling mists of the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four children, three dogs, two frogs, and hundreds of wild birds who flock to her backyard birdfeeders every day. El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! is her debut picture book. She is also the author of the middle-grade novel Lupe Wong Won’t Dance.

You can find Donna online at her website dbhiguera.com, and on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About The Illustrator:

Juliana Perdomo is a Colombian illustrator and writer, with a background as a psychologist and art therapist. Her work is joyful and heartfelt, folkish, and a bit retro with a Latin touch. She has participated in different projects as an illustrator, this book being her debut in the United States. Perdomo lives in Bogotá, Colombia, with her amazing son Luca and a crazy old dog named Menta.

You can find Juliana online at her website julianaperdomo.com and on social media at Twitter, and Instagram.

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Bella’s Recipe For Success

They say the most successful people in life fail the most. I always try to remember this when I run into roadblocks in life, and today I want to share a book that illustrates this growth mindset perfectly for young readers. Bella’s Recipe for Success by Ana Siqueira is a wonderful picture book all about patience, practice, and polvorones.

Title: Bella’s Recipe for Success
Author: Ana Siqueira
Illustrator: Geraldine Rodríguez
Publisher: Beaming Books
Published: July 13, 2021

Bella’s Recipe for Success follows a young Latinx girl named Bella who is trying to figure out what she’s good at. Her sister is a talented gymnast and her brother is a talented musician, but Bella is struggling to find her hidden talent. She tries baking polvorones with her abuela, but her first attempt goes all wrong. Though she struggles, Bella learns that being good at something takes hard work, perseverance, and patience.

The illustrations by Geraldine Rodríguez are so fun! The way she captures the facial expressions of each character brings so much emotion and personality to every single page.

With Spanish vocabulary peppered throughout, Bella’s Recipe for Success would be a fantastic addition to classroom libraries. Plus, there’s a recipe for polvorones con dulche de leche that I can’t wait to try. My baking skills are not great, but I will take a lesson from Bella and practice.

Bella’s Recipe for Success is available next week (July 13, 2021), but you can preorder your copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of Bella’s Recipe For Success.

About The Author:

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher and an award-winning children’s book author based in Tampa, Florida. Before Bella’s Recipe for Success, she published children’s books in Portuguese in Brazil and in Spanish for the foreign language educational markets. Ana is also a global educator, a PBS Media innovator, and an SCBWI member.

You can find Ana online on Instagram (@asiqueira1307), Twitter (@SraSiqueira1307), and at her website anafiction.com.

About The Illustrator:

Geraldine Rodríguez is a Mexican illustrator and digital artist who enjoys telling stories through colors and lines. In addition to Bella’s Recipe for Success, Geraldine is the illustrator of Cinco de Mayo and the Adventures of Samuel Oliver series.

You can find Geraldine online on Instagram (@geryrdzart) and Twitter (@GeryRdz).

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Bird House

If you’re looking for a precious picture book with a heartwarming grandparent/grandchild relationship, I have the perfect book for you today.

Inspired by the author’s own childhood, Bird House by Blanca Gómez is a wonderful story about a grandmother and granddaughter who nurse an injured bird back to health together.

Our young narrator details the story of finding the bird on a snowy day, and how the pair take it back to Abuela’s home while it recovers. Though they let the bird back into the wild once it heals, they are sure to invite him back by building a birdhouse.

Blanca Gómez’s minimalist style is ever present in both the text and illustrations in Bird House, the first book she has both written and illustrated. This book may seem short and sweet, but Blanca Gomez builds so much character with so few words. I am honestly amazed that someone can convey the emotion in this story in less than 200 words.

The illustrations are delightful and add so much depth to the story. I wished I could visit Abuela’s home and ask her about all her beautiful houseplants, and what she was knitting — a basket of yarn always tugs at my little crochet heart, and makes me think of my own grandmother.

Bird House is available in both English and Spanish versions next week (April 20, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Blanca Gómez is an author and illustrator based in Madrid. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at cosasminimas.com.

Many thanks to Abrams Books For Young Readers for providing me with a review copy of this wonderful book. It was an absolute treat!

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Hear My Voice – The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States

A few days ago, I watched a video on Facebook that spoke about how “funny” it was to see Democrats who opposed the Trump administration’s treatment of children at our southern border accepting the border situation now that Biden is president.

I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I (along with most other Democratic voters) do not support the mistreatment of migrant children at any border, in any country, under any administration. I will continue to demand the fair treatment of migrant children, especially from a Democratic president. If you feel the same, I would recommend Hear My Voice by Warren Binford for Project Amplify.

This moving picture book pairs the stories of children detained in immigration detention facilities with illustrations from 17 different Latinx artists. The stories are told in the children’s own words — in English on one side and Spanish on the other – providing an unflinching look at the experiences of thousands of migrant children who have been detained by the Unites States of America.

These children tell us how old they are, where they are from , how they came to arrive in America, and what their daily life looks like in the facility in which they are held. They share their fear and their hopes, creating a larger picture of the immigrant experience in our country today.

The back matter contains quite a bit of information about the situation at the border, a discussion guide for reading with children, and a list of ways you and your family can help. Ordering a copy of this book is an excellent first step, as proceeds will be distributed to Project Amplify, Human Rights Watch, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and Las Americas to help support children in migration.

The illustrations in Hear My Voice are flawlessly executed. With a wide range of styles, each spread captures every artist’s unique depiction of the children’s experiences. Contributing artists include:

Some may consider Hear My Voice a difficult read, but I believe it is essential. If we continue to call America “the land of the free”, we have to be honest about who is free and who is not. We must listen to these children and their stories, and we must hold our leaders accountable for their actions and the trauma they are inflicting.

Hear My Voice officially releases next week (April 13, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

I would like to thank Workman Press for generously providing me with a review copy of Hear My Voice. As much as I wish these stories weren’t true, I am honored to share the stories of these courageous children.

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Definitely Dominguita – A Fresh Chapter Book Series Inspired By Classic Literature

When I first heard about Definitely Dominguita, the new chapter book series by Terry Catasús Jennings, I knew I had to read it!

Illustrated by Fatima Anaya, each book in this series is inspired by our main character Dominguita’s love of her collection of classic literature; a collection her abuela brought all the way from Cuba and gifted to Dominguita before moving away to Florida. Dominguita misses her abuela, and reads her stories often to feel close to her.

The series begins with Knight of The Cape, where we are introduced Dominguita and her family. We follow her on a journey, inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, to prove to a bully at school that girls can be knights too. The adventures continue in the second book, Captain Dom’s Treasure, as we follow Dom and the friends she made in the first book on a treasure hunt inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Now I have to be totally honest with you all: I actually have not read either of the classic titles that inspired Dominguita (Though I did watch Muppet Treasure Island at least a thousand times during childhood. That has to count for something, right?), but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the books at all! While this series will be great for young readers who are already familiar with classics, I believe it will also be a great tool to introduce classics to children who haven’t read them yet.

Both Knight of The Cape and Captain Dom’s Treasure are filled with fun adventures, and gently touch on themes like family, friendship, bullying, diversity, and disability without distracting from the story. Dom and her friends are a lovable group of kids that I’m sure many readers will relate to. I absolutely adored this series and I would highly recommend it to any adventurous young readers.

Both Knight of The Cape and Captain Dom’s Treasure are available now, and the third book in the series, All For One (Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers), will be available in August, but can be preordered today. You can look for them wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

I will also be hosting a giveaway for both Knight of The Cape and Captain Dom’s Treasure over on Instagram, so be sure to enter!

Terry Catasús Jennings is an award-winning author who ‘s family moved from Cuba to the United States when she was eleven. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at terrycjennings.com.

Fatima Anaya is a graphic designer and illustrator who loves working on projects about diversity, family, love, and friendship. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at fatimaanaya.com.

I would like to thank Blue Slip Media and Aladdin/Simon and Schuster for kindly providing me with review copies. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Dom’s adventures, and am so glad to be able to share them.