Do I Belong Here? / ¿Es este mi lugar? by René Colato Laínez Illustrations by Fabricio Vanden Broeck Piñata Books, May 2023
An immigrant boy stands “in the middle of a whirlwind of children,” and wonders where he is supposed to go. Finally, a woman speaks to him in a language he doesn’t understand and takes him to his classroom. A boy named Carlos helps orient him, but later when he reads aloud, everyone laughs at him. And when he gets an “F” on an assignment, he is sure “I do not belong here.” Award-winning children’s book author René Colato Laínez teams up again with illustrator Fabricio Vanden Broeck to explore the experiences of newcomers in schools and affirm that yes! They do belong. With beautiful acrylic-on-wood illustrations depicting children at school, this bilingual kids’ book by a Salvadoran immigrant tells an important story that will resonate with all kids who want nothing more than to belong.
Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth by Jorgue Tetl Argueta Illustrations by Felipe Ugalde Alcantara Piñata Books, May 2023
“My name is Earth / but people call me Little Earth.” In the fourth installment of their award-winning Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series of trilingual picture books about the natural world, Jorge Argueta and Felipe Ugalde Alcántara collaborate again to introduce Mother Earth, who is “full of all the colors / and all the flavors.” A Junior Library Guild selection, this book about Mother Earth reflects Argueta’s indigenous roots and his appreciation for the natural world. Containing the English and Spanish text on each page, the entire poem appears at the end in Nahuat, the language of Argueta’s Pipil-Nahua ancestors. This is an excellent choice to encourage children to write their own poems about nature and to begin conversations about the interconnected web of life.
Mis días con Papá / Spending Time With Dad by Elías David Illustrations by Claudia Delgadillo Piñata Books, May 2023
Mis días con Papá / Spending Time With Dad follows a boy and his stay-at-home dad, who takes care of him while his mom goes to work at the port, “where huge cargo ships come and go every day.” She oversees the containers that go around the world! In this brightly illustrated bilingual picture book, young children will relate to the family and its daily routines while immigrants will see themselves as they adjust to life far away from relatives. And children will see that the roles of men and women are fluid; dads can be loving fathers in charge of their kids’ well-being and moms can go to the office every day—or vice versa.