A Bean and Cheese Taco Birthday – Un cumpleaños con tacos de frijoles con queso

By Diane Gonzales Bertrand

Illustrations by Robert Trujillo

Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas

The story is centered on a birthday event for a five year old, but it’s not your everyday celebration. The author has managed to add a cultural twist to the story and makes it quite intriguing for the young reader. Come to think about it, it caught my attention as well.

It is the story of two brothers, Dario the eldest and Ariel the five-year-old birthday boy. They each have a different vision of what a birthday party should be like. Dario is not quite convinced that his younger brother knows what is best for an event such as this.

The author has done a wonderful job of showing children that there are many choices in life, and what may work for one may not work for everyone – it’s alright to go against the grain at times because you might get better results. What a great way to have a young audience relate to a plot! The message sent is subtle yet skillfully crafted. This also makes for a good teaching moment.

The illustrations capture a typical Latino family, which is excellent in allowing readers to see outside of their lens and culture. If you are Latino, then you quickly identify with the characters. If you are not Latino, it brings you into a typical family setting and you find that we are not so different and that every child is basically the same – birthday wishes and all.

Because the book is written in two languages, English and Spanish, this is an added benefit. For those that can read both languages it’s exciting, and for those that can’t what a great way to introduce another language and/or culture to a child. Bilingual books make a great learning tool for educators and parents alike. This is a fun book to have on your bookshelf.

Source: Book was provided by author for review. It was reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry.

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