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Recommended by Liz at West Kendall Regional

Waiting for the Biblioburro/Esperando el Biblioburro
By Monica Brown

Ana loves stories and reading, but her access to books is limited, as she lives in a remote Colombian village with no teacher or library. One day, she sees a man with two burros carrying books and a sign that reads Biblioburro coming toward her village. The man tells Ana and the other children that he is a librarian of a moving library, which he brings to many villages with the help of his burros, Alpha and Beto. Ana picks books to borrow and read until the librarian and his burros return, and writes a book of her own to give to the librarian to share with other children.

Based on the life of librarian Luis Soriano Bohorquez, who for years has delivered books to the most remote villages in Colombia, this moving, bilingual story honors those who bring the love of reading to children around the world. John Parra’s folk art‑inspired illustrations bring Ana’s village to life, as well as highlight the joy of reading a good book.

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Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics
By Margarita Engle

This collection of poems about the accomplishments and contributions of 18 Hispanic men and women from a wide range of professions is the perfect book to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Included are well‑known individuals ranging from César Chávez to Roberto Clemente, as well as lesser‑known Hispanics such as George Melendez Wright, the first chief of the Wildlife Division for the National Park Service, and Baruj Benacerraf, the 1980 Nobel Prize winner in Medicine.

The striking art by Rafael Lopez includes portraits of each subject surrounded by the symbols and objects of their fame. Many of their faces are turned toward the reader; combined with the first‑person point of view they create an immediate connection. Included are notes about the subjects’ lives that provide more detail about these amazing people.

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Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash/Marisol McDonald y la Fiesta sin Igual
By Monica Brown

Marisol is planning the most fabulous party for her 8th birthday, but cannot decide on a theme. She just can’t make a choice between unicorns, pirates, soccer or princesses, so she solves her dilemma with a "Clash Bash" theme that throws all her ideas together in one crazy party. Marisol and her mother make one‑of‑a‑kind invitations for all her friends, and Marisol makes a special request for her grandmother in Peru to travel to the states so they can spend her birthday together. Marisol’s mother explains that her grandmother still does not have a visa to visit, and Marisol worries her grandmother won’t be there to celebrate her special day. Will the birthday girl’s wish come true?

Sara Palacios’s vibrant illustrations bring the irrepressible, Peruvian‑Scottish‑American Marisol to life; this is a charming bilingual picture book with a free‑spirited heroine sure to please young readers.

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music
By Margarita Engle

A little girl growing up on an island of music dreams of playing drums, but only boys are allowed to play them. She drums in her dreams and in her imagination, and finally plays real drums in secret. Her older sisters have an all‑girl band and she joins as their drummer, but their father forbids her to play. But the girl won’t give up, and her father eventually sends her to a drum teacher who is amazed by her talent and dedication. With her teacher’s help she plays the bongos at a moonlit café, impressing the islanders and opening the way for other girls to drum.

Based on the life of Chinese‑African‑Cuban drummer Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who at age 10 in 1932 performed with her sisters in Anacaona, Cuba’s first all‑girl band. The lyrical text shows how the girl finds drumbeats everywhere, from the sounds of nature to the beat of her own heart. Colorful illustrations by Rafael Lopez depict the fantastical world the girl enters as she drums, surrounded by animals, mermaids and birds. The determination of the heroine to follow her dreams is inspiring, and children will cheer her on as she changes her world.

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Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
By Yuyi Morales

Señor Calavera, an elegant skeleton with impeccable manners, comes to Grandma Beetle’s home to take her away. Grandma Beetle agrees to go, but asks if Señor Calavera can wait just a moment as she sweeps one (uno) house before they leave. After sweeping, Grandma Beetle asks to get two (dos) pots of tea to boil and then to make three (tres) stacks of tortillas. Grandma Beetle goes through her chores, and careful readers may guess what celebration Grandma Beetle is preparing for. When nine (nueve) grandchildren come through the door for Grandma Beetle’s birthday party, she says that all 10 (diez) guests have arrived, with the last one being Señor Calavera. He is so pleased to be included that he leaves Grandma Beetle in her home with a thank you note for the fantastic party.

Morales’s illustrations provide delightful details of Grandma Beetle’s Mexican kitchen and food. Grandma Beetle winks to the readers to let them know she can handle Señor Calavera, and the skeleton himself is so polite and comically impatient as he is put to work preparing the feast that he is quite endearing. His joy in the birthday party is infectious, and clever Grandma Beetle has a new friend by the tale’s end. Readers will enjoy the sequel when Señor Calavera looks for the perfect gift for Grandma Beetle’s next birthday in Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book.

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