Finalist Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award
Bank Street College of Education Best Book of 2019
Author & Illustrator
Grecia Huesca Dominguez
Grecia Huesca Dominguez moved from Veracruz, Mexico, to New York when she was ten years old. She started writing poetry while pursuing her B.A. in English and Creative Writing at CUNY Lehman College. She initially used poetry as a coping mechanism and soon began to use it as a way to chronicle her life as a single mother and undocumented immigrant, and her Latinx identity. Her poem, “Marilín,” was published in 2015. Since then, she has published more poems and written three books.
Teresa Martinez grew up in Mexico loving to draw and decided to study graphic design. She spent many afternoons reading books on art in the university’s library. She also took many painting courses and even went to Italy for a short course at the Leonardo da Vinci School (Florence). Eventually she started working as a children’s book illustrator and has been doing that ever since. Now Teresa lives in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Moving to a different city is difficult, but moving to a new country is even harder, especially when you do not know the language. Juana is an elementary school–aged girl who relocates from Mexico to New York City where she experiences snow, the huge park near her apartment, and her new school. Even though the children around her appear happy, she is concerned about her English language skills and her name, which her teacher cannot pronounce properly. Dominguez offers a picture book based on her own experience when she moved to New York at age 10. This fictional narrative chronicles Juana’s adjustment to her new life using epistolary form, which connects both the main character to her grandfather in Mexico, and readers to Juana. The soft illustrations provide a fresh and inviting ambiance with smiling children and adult characters who interact, and pictorial elements that support the text. This book could be used in a storytime activity supporting social studies units on diversity and immigration. VERDICT A thoughtful and age-appropriate look at a timely and much-debated subject.