Alice and the Hurricane a Story of Puerto Rico\Alicia y el huracán un cuento de Puerto Rico

Written By\escrito por: Leslea Newman

Illustrated By\ilustrado por: Elizabeth Erazo Baez

Publisher\publicado por: Children’s Book Press an Imprint of Lee and Low Books (2022)

Region: North America (U.S.), Caribbean (Puerto Rico)

Ages\Edades: Young readers\leyentes jovenes  (3-6)

Written in English and Spanish

Alicia y el huracán Un cuento de Puerto Rico escrito por Leslea Newman e ilustrado por Elizabeth Erazo Baez explora el impacto del Hurácan María en la joven Alicia a través de su conexión con la rana coqui. Todas las noches antes de acostarse Alicia escucha al coqui cantar su canción, durante y después del huracán Alicia no está segura de si escucharé el croa del coqui de nuevo. Recoge el libro de Newman para averiguar cómo Alicia se reconecta con la hermosa melodía que utiliza el coqui para arrullarla a dormir cada noche.

Recursos Adicionales:

El sitio de we de la aútora

La autora conversa sobre su libro

Alicia and the Hurricane A Story of Puerto Rico written by Leslá Newman and illustrated by Elizabeth Erazo Baez is a children’s book that explores the impact of Hurricane María on young Alicia through her connection to the coqui frog. Every night before bed Alicia listens to the coqui sing its song, during and after the hurricane Alicia isn’t sure if she’ll hear the coqui croak again. Pick up Newman’s book to find out how Alicia reconnects with the beautiful tune the coqui’s use to lull her to sleep at night.

Additional Resources:

The Author’s Website

The author discusses the book.


Where Wonder Grows

Written by Xelena González 

Illustrated by  Adriana M. Garcia

Published by Cinco Puntos Press an Imprint of Lee and Low Books 2022

Region: North America (U.S.)

Ages: Young readers (3-6)

The inspiration behind Gonzalez and Garcia’s  book came from their readers’ love and wonder for rocks. Where Wonder Grows captures the marvel and mystery behind the different stories of rock formations, from what they may know, to what they may tell us about life. Where Wonder Grows centers different Indigenous epistemologies, creating space for different ideas and histories of specific rock formations to inform the reader. Where Wonder Grows facilitates young readers travel through time and space leaving them inspired by, and connected to, nature.

Additional Resources:

NPR Picture This – Grandma’s garden of magical rocks is “Where Wonder Grows”

Author’s Website

Illustrators Website


By: Angie Cruz

Publisher: Flatiron Books (2019)

Ages: Adult/Teen

Region: North America (U.S.), Caribbean (Dominican Republic)

Angie Cruz’s Dominicana was inspired by her mother’s own story of immigration to the United States. At fifteen years-old, Cruz’s Afro-Dominicana protagonist, Ana, is arranged to marry a man more than ten years her senior. The arranged marriage could promise her and her family’s security as the political situation in the Dominican Republic worsens. However, the marriage is far from a happy one. Ana must navigate her abusive marriage as a sacrifice for her family’s well-being, adapt to a new country and language, innovate in the face of economic hardships, and confront the possibility of falling in love with a forbidden man. The weight of the world is on young Ana’s shoulders; see how she preserveres in Angie Cruz’s Dominicana.

Additional Resources:

Rincey Reads Review 

The Author’s website

Podcast Interview on her New Book How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water

El secreto del plátano, The Secret of the Plátano

By: Luz Maria Mack

Illustrator: Stephany Mesa

Publisher: Soaring Kite Books (2002)

Location: La República Dominicana, The Dominican Republic

Age Range: 5-9 years

Inspired by a dream encounter between the author and her late grandmother, Luz Maria Mack’s enchanting story The Secret of the Plátano reminds us to find and share the magic that illuminates ourselves and the worlds we inhabit. The story begins by inviting the reader to a unique dance lesson between a beloved grandmother and her grandson. This demonstration quickly transforms into a presentation of life lessons about our internal connection to the natural world. By the end of the session, the young dancer is reminded to listen to and respect themselves and the natural world that surrounds us. As abuela demonstrates through her own dance, the two are not as separate as we are so often led to believe. Lit by a full moon, Stephany Mesa’s vibrant depictions illuminate the darkness this family dances within, inviting readers to both recognize its beauty and learn to listen to the world around them. After all, the music that inspires this dance is none other than the rush of leaves, the wind, creatures unseen moving about at night. Through this dance lesson, the grandson comes to trust in the natural world surrounding him that thrives under the moonlight of this nurturing sky. 

We recommend this book for many reasons. Whether you are looking to read about a wholesome bond between a grandmother and grandson, cultivating self awareness, or simply seeking to encourage those young readers who may not be as trusting of the dark, this story is a useful addition to your toolkit. Crucially, The Secret of the Plátano also demonstrates a loving, creative, and supportive relationship between a grandmother and her grandson.

Inspirado por un encuentro en un sueño entre la autora y su abuela, el cuento encantado de Luz Maria Mack El Secreto del plátano nos recuerda a encontrar y compartir la mágica que nos ilumine y puede iluminar los mundos en que vivimos. El cuento empieza invitando al lector a una clase única entre una abuela querida y su nieto. Esta demostración transforma rápidamente a una presentación de las lecciones de vida sobre nuestra conexión interna al mundo de la naturaleza. Al final de la clase, se recuerda al joven bailarín que debe escucharse y respetarse a sí mismo y al mundo de la naturaleza que nos rodea. Como la abuela demuestra a través de su propio baile, las dos cosas no están tan separadas como se nos hace creer. Iluminado por una luna llena, las ilustraciones vibrantes de Stephany Mesa iluminan la oscuridad en que esta familia baila, invitando los lectores a reconocer su belleza y aprenden a escuchar al mundo alrededor de ellos. Después de todo, la música que inspira este baile es el sonido de las hojas en la brisa, el viento, y las criaturas ocultas moviéndose en la noche. A través de esta clase de baile, el nieto aprende a confiar en el mundo de la naturaleza que crece debajo de la luz de la luna de este cielo cuidoso. 

Recomendamos este libro por muchas razones. Si estás buscando leer un libro sobre una relación saludable entre una abuela y su nieto, desarrollando conciencia de sí mismo, o simplemente tratando de animar a los lectores jóvenes que quizás no tienen mucha confianza en la oscuridad, este cuento es una adición útil a tu juego de herramientas. Crucialmente, El secreto del plátano también demuestra una relación amadora, creativa, y comprensiva entre una abuela y su nieto. 

Recursos adicionales, Additional Resources:

Author’ website:

Interview with the author, Dominican Writer’s Association:

What the Bread Says: Baking with Love, History, and Papan

Written by: Vanessa Garcia

Illustrated by: Tim Palin

Publisher: CardinalRulePress (2022)

Location: United States, France, Cuba

Language: English, some Spanish

In this picture book, multidisciplinary writer Vanessa Garcia introduces her knowledge of food culture to the next generation, sharing the story of a grandfather’s love and support of his family through weekly baking sessions with his granddaughter. In the process, this endearing account shares the story of one young baker’s experience learning and cooking through the shared stories and recipes of her grandfather, whom she affectionately refers to as “Papan”.  Papan has some difficult stories of his own to share–of love, history, and loss, but has found a beautiful way to reflect on and share his experiences with his young granddaughter. In this episode of their weekly lessons, a loaf of challah becomes a history lesson, just as the lessons of Cuban bread and baguettes before this, introducing young readers to difficult realities and challenges that cause many to leave one home in search of another. These emotions are complex and hard to place for those who have not had to face such challenges, but this story reminds us that these experiences can be shared with younger generations in a manner that teaches love, reality, and history in a constructive way. In the process, we see a supportive grandfather dedicating love and the sharing of life lessons to his granddaughter–a way of loving and supporting we seldom see illustrated so well in children’s literature. We wholeheartedly recommend sharing this book with the young baker in your life, as it speaks to the power and importance of sharing recipes and lessons across the generations in a new light.

As a bonus for readers looking to continue teaching in the classroom or at home, Garcia includes suggested guiding questions for before, during, and after reading. Designed to promote interactivity, empathy and inference making, these serve as a welcome addition to the text and encourage readers to bring what they have learned into their daily lives.

Additional Resources:

Read aloud by the author:

Interview with the Author:

El cuarto turquesa The Turquoise Room

Author: Monica Brown

Illustrations by: Adriana M. Garcia

Published by: Children’s Book Press

Locations: Peru and the United States

Languages: Spanish and English

Spanish Translation by: Cinthya Miranda-McIntosh

Age: 6-10 years old

This beautiful story is based on the life of author Monica Brown. Based on the legacy of the generations of imaginative women in her family, Brown passes along her family’s secret to the next generation, sharing the story of artistry and imaginative power that has enabled the women in her family to go so far. In the process, we see a legacy centuries in the making, beginning with artist-traveler Esther, whose journey begins in Peru over a century ago, and sees its future manifesting in Monica’s daughters (now based in primarily in the US) who will determine what this imaginative power will bring to the next generation. This family’s story demonstrates the power of imagination, self-fulfillment, and confidence, encouraging young readers to go out and dare to chase their own imagined futures–whether that be on a page, in a book, or in creating and loving across borders and boundaries. 

While expertly told (in Spanish and English), this journey is also enchantingly illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia. The whimsical perspective of the illustrations bring the story to life, as does the unique color palette. Based in the initial story of imaginative power Isabel’s turquoise room fostered, the majority of the illustrations are illuminated by blues and purples. Only the dreams imagined and artistic productions are given full color, placing an increased emphasis on the power and of these creations. It is with this emphasis that we picture the voyages dreamed and lands traversed throughout this family’s history, placing value on the power of these creative pursuits in guiding the different destinies of each woman. We also see how creativity is fostered and shared by each mother with her children. In fact, it is a defining feature of this family’s tradition of teaching and sharing knowledge, enshrined in the turquoise room but which truly lies in each member of this family. We highly encourage this beautiful read, and hope it spurs creative traditions across all families who have the opportunity to share it. 

Additional Resources:

Q&A with the Author

Author’s Website

The Tooth Fairy and the Tooth Mouse: A Tale About Culture Shock

By Ariatna G. Claudio and Almaris Alonso-Claudio, Ph. D (self-published)

Illustrated by: QBN Studios

Language: Spanglish

Location: Maryland

The Tooth Fairy and the Tooth Mouse: A Tale About Culture Shock, was self-published by the mother-daughter due Dr. Almaris Alonso-Claudio and Ariatna G. Claudio in 2022. Ariatna began writing when she was just five years old, and has since worked with her mother/scientist/author Dr. Alonso-Claudio to publish works that foster expression and introduce diverse topics at a young age with the hope of fostering inclusivity in the next generation. This endearing tale provides a glimpse into the everyday moments of culture shock that have great meaning and importance for growing minds. After learning about the tooth fairy from her friends at school, Lucy learns from her parents that rather than a tooth fairy, a mouse should be the one to collect her lost tooth. However, this scary moment for Lucy is resolved when the tooth fairy and the tooth mouse have the opportunity to meet, deciding to share her tooth and both offer gifts. This becomes the start of a beautiful friendship. In the process, it assures young readers that their personal backgrounds may be different than those around them, but that difference is not something that must be forced to compete against and choose from. In this case, the tooth fairy and the tooth mouse find they actually compliment one another, and go on to create valuable and happy experiences to those they visit in the future.

Additional Resources:

Authors’ Website:

Interview with the Author:


Mexican Folk Art Transport in English and Spanish

Author: Cynthia Weill

Wooden Sculptures by: Martín Melchor, Augustín Tinoco Cruz, Avelino Pérez, and Maximino Santiago

Age: 3-6 Years

Language: English, Spanish

Region: Oaxaca, Mexico

Vámonos is the seventh installment of Cynthia Weill’s collaboration with Mexican folk artists to create children’s books in English and Spanish that showcase Mexican folk art. In lieu of the illustrations most of us are accustomed to that animate children’s literature, the First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series utilizes photographs of Mexican folk art, introducing these vibrant works and type of artistry to the next generation. This installment introduces young readers to various modes of transportation through the hand carved wooden sculptures created and shared by Oaxacan folk artists on an imagined voyage to the library. As a potential learning or teaching resource, this bilingual book serves as a clever way to encourage young readers to exercise their language skills, whether learning English or Spanish. This series also does a great deal to promote folk art more generally, an art form that is often overlooked in contemporary conversations of artistry. In the bilingual 2-page spread of each section of this voyage, each work is shot from different angles, adding a sense of movement while showcasing more of the artist’s work in the process. Moreover, the vibrant and colorful paintings that cover each work appear like a potent embroidery, capturing the imagination and emboldening this adventure for young readers. The library serves as the meeting ground for these works, figures, and ideas, inviting children to consider embarking on their own journey.

Additional Resources:

Author´s Website

Teaching Resources

If Your Babysitter is a Bruja

Author: Ana Siquiera

Illustrated by Irena Freitas

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Language: Spanglish

Location: Unknown, likely magical

Ages: 4 +

Ana Siquiera’s If Your Babysitter is a Bruja offers an essential survival guide to the young reader who may find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances as to be under the spell of a magical babysitter in their life. In what begins as a battle of wits between the Babysitter Bruja and her unwilling ward, our young narrator soon sees that her Bruja is not such a bad witch after all. After escape attempts and tricks and even the occasional sweet, our narrator becomes a little brujita in training. After accepting each other, they spend the spooky night sharing traditions, potions, and laughter. Eventually, this cherished Bruja must leave, but not before inspiring the next generation of brujitas to come. 

Nor would this voyage be possible without the whimsical illustrations of Irena Freitas, whose bold colors and sudden perspective shifts across these adventures can keep even the most strong-willed of young readers captivated. We whole-heartedly recommend keeping this guidebook on hand for the All Hallows holiday season; it serves as a great reminder of the magical threads of everyday life most visible on certain spooky nights. 

Additional Resources: 

Spooky Eyeball Recipe with the Authors:

Additional teaching resources:

Ordinary Girls

Written by: Jaquira Diaz

Published by: Workman Publishing (2019)

Region: North America, Puerto Rico

Ages: Adult

Ordinary GirlsWinner of a Whiting Award in Nonfiction, Winner of a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, and a 2020 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist, is a gripping memoir on gender, sexuality, race and poverty by Jaquira Diaz. Diaz’s memoir illustrates the intersectionality of these different categories in her coming of age stories. Ordinary girls is equal parts heart-wrenching and hopeful, chock full of grit and resistance. From abuse to addiction you will be rooting for Diaz, the whole way. Ordinary Girls is a must read.

Additional Resources:

Author’s Website

Author Interview w/ Steve Inskeep of NPR