Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela

By Alexandra Alessandri illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

Age: 4-6

Region: Colombia

Language: Bilingual

Who? What? Where?

Ava Gabriela and her parents are in Colombia visiting relatives for the holidays. When they first arrive at Abuelita’s finca, Ava Gabriela is very shy and reserved. She has a hard time speaking up and enjoying her family members who do their best to make her feel comfortable and pull her out of her shell.

When her Tía Nena asks Ava if she wanted to make buñuelos Ava agrees and enjoys the quality time she spends with her primos while doing so. As her time at the finca progresses, Ava slowly becomes more comfortable allowing for more opportunities to connect with her relatives and participate in the festivities of the new year. She bonds further with her primos when they create Año Viejo and pop him together during the new year festivities. Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela reminds us that new situations can be hard for all of us. Through the kindness of her family and her own bravery and interest in the world around her, Ava breaks free of her fear and is able to fully enjoy herself.

Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela is a wonderful book that could be incorporated into any classroom. It would be great for Spanish language learners as the book includes many Spanish words. It is a great resource for teaching about Colombian culture and includes a glossary of terms including translations and explanations of customs.

Discussion questions for students:

  1. Does your family have a particular holiday they celebrate together? What kinds of things does your family do to celebrate?
  2. Can you think of a time you felt shy or scared? How did you overcome those feelings? What made you feel more comfortable?
  3. What new words did you learn? What do they mean?

Additional Resources:

Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela read aloud:

Chat with the author:

Author’s website: https://alexandraalessandri.com/feliz-new-year-ava-gabriela/

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