By Gladys E. Barbieri
Illustrations by Lisa Fields
Publisher: Piñata Books – Arte Público Press, Houston, Texas
Ms. Barbieri has captured the thinking of a young girl Felicia perfectly. Felicia comes from a working class family and is suddenly thrown into an environment which is out of her league. With this new encounter Felicia and her mother’s insecurities come through. Felicia quickly realizes that she isn’t in Kansas anymore and she begins to explore her surroundings; although, her mother has asked her to not to do so.
Felicia has an encounter with the owner of the place and is quickly transformed as they begin to share stories. Felicia’s dreams begin to materialize and she begins to feel that she too can have all this one day. In the end, Felicia realizes that people are not so different after all. What a great sedge way into a teaching moment for all. This is such a great message for everyone, but especially for those that are not quite as fortunate as others.
Although the story appears to be about a working class Latino Family, it could really be about any family or from any culture. The illustrations were great. Not only did they assist in capturing the story, the emotions shown on the characters added to the overall story and message. What great insight and artistic ability.
The author has crafted a book that not only has a great story, but one that resonates with a great message. I can only say that for me, as a young avid reader, these were the type of books that made me feel as if I could achieve anything I wanted. It is these types of subtle messages that are important in a child’s life to make them successful and to know that the world is theirs for the taking. We need more of these types of books in the academic arena.
Because the book is written in English and Spanish, it adds to the characters and the message overall. If a child reads or speaks both of these languages then it’s a plus and it helps to identify with the characters. If you aren’t familiar with the Spanish language then this book presents a great opportunity to become immersed into a different culture. This is a another great learning tool for any child.
Source: Book was provided by author for review. It was reviewed by Corina Martinez Chaudhry.