Children’s Books:

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I Kick the Ball

Publisher: Pinata Books, 2011
Illustrator: Pablo Torrecilla
Translator: Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Language: Bilingual – English and Spanish
ISBN: 1558856889
Reading level: Ages 4 to 8

Awards:
2012 International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention

Publisher’s Description:

“I kick the ball. BAM! BOOM! POW!” Young Tonito dreams constantly about playing soccer. He imagines himself hitting the ball with his knee, his foot, his head.

In his mind’s eye, Tonito can run as fast as a race car. He can leap into the air like a fish jumping out of the ocean. He sees his name on the back of his red jersey. He hears the roar of the crowd as he scores a goal. They chant his name: “Tonito! Tonito! Tonito!”

But then his mother yells louder than the crowd in his head, and she reminds him about homework, dinner and family time. When he goes to bed, he knows that tomorrow he’ll have to go to school and do his homework. But he also knows he ll play soccer again. “I’ll dream what I do. I’ll do what I dream. I’ll kick the ball tomorrow. Bam! Boom! Pow!”

Crowd-pleasing author Gwendolyn Zepeda writes a dynamic story about a young soccer player that is sure to spark readers’ enthusiasm for both reading and dreaming big. The lively text is complemented by Pablo Torrecilla’s vibrant and spirited illustrations of Tonito buzzing around a field, hitting soccer balls with every part of his body. Children ages 4-8 will be inspired to go outside and play the world s most popular sport.

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You Don’t Have a Clue

Publisher: Pinata Books, 2011
Editor: Sarah Cortez
Paperback: 320 pages
Language: English
ISBN: 1558856927
Reading level: Young Adult

Awards:
2012 International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention

Publisher’s Description:

The teens featured in these stories deal with situations typical to all young adults, including attraction to the opposite sex–or to the same sex, in one story–and first sexual encounters, problems with family and friends, academic and personal aspirations.

But they also deal with every kind of thrilling situation imaginable, from missing girls to kidnappings and dismembered bodies. A young girl finds herself living with her “family,” though she has no memory of them or who they claim she is. A geek at a prestigious public high school finds himself working with his very attractive arch-rival to solve the mystery of a severed, bloody arm that appears inexplicably in his locker. And Mike’s life sucks when his parents split up, but it gets worse when his best friend is abducted by a thug shot by Mike’s dad, a police officer. There’s something for everyone here, with aliens, ghosts and even an Aztec god making appearances in these stories.

Set in schools and communities from New York City to Venice Beach, California, the protagonists reflect the breadth and diversity of the Latino authors included in this innovative collection. Published authors such as Gwendolyn Zepeda, Mario Acevedo, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, and Diana Lopez appear alongside less well-known authors who deserve more recognition. With an introduction by young adult literature expert Dr. James Blasingame of Arizona State University, this collection is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last page is turned.

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Sunflowers

Publisher: Pinata Books, 2009
Illustrator: Alisha Gambino
Translator: Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Language: Bilingual – English and Spanish
ISBN: 1558852679
Reading level: Ages 3 to 8

Awards:
2009 Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award

Publisher’s Description:
This charming bilingual picture book for children illustrates the simple joys of gardening and time spent with loved ones.

“My name is Marisol. I’m seven years old. This spring, I helped my grandfather make a garden.”

First, Marisol and her grandfather had to prepare the ground. They pulled out the old plants and weeds. They mixed up all the dirt “to make it soft.” Then it was time to plant the seeds. They planted seeds to grow the vegetables Mamá uses in soup—squash, onions, carrots, and cabbage. They planted seeds to grow the things she needs to make salsa—garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and chili peppers. They planted mint for Abuela’s tea. They planted watermelon seeds for Marisol and her brother. And for Grandad, they planted sunflower seeds because their “big black eyes with long yellow eyelashes” make him happy. And he likes to eat the seeds!

One day, Marisol’s grandfather gives her a small bag of sunflower seeds, but instead of eating them she plants them here and there—one in the corner of Mrs. Sosa’s yard, another in Mr. Binh’s yard. In fact, as she walks to school, she plants seeds in the corners of all the yards she passes. And she plants the last three seeds in the playground at school.

As the days pass, sometimes it’s rainy and sometimes it’s sunny. Finally, one bright day, Marisol’s sunflower surprise shines a bit of happiness all around.

The tender relationship between grandparent and grandchild is illuminated in this children’s book by author Gwendolyn Zepeda with warm illustrations by Alisha Gambino. Children ages 3-7 will sow and reap ideas of their own about ways to share a little joy, just as Marisol does with sunflowers.

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Growing Up with Tamales

Publisher: Pinata Books, 2008
Illustrator: April Ward
Translator: Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Language: Bilingual – English and Spanish
ISBN: 1558854932
Reading level: Ages 3 to 8

Awards:
Charlotte Zolotow 2008
Finalist—Foreward Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year
2008 Southwest Book of the Year

Supplemental materials:
Lesson plan by Dorothy S. Cobb, M.S., CCC-SLP

Also available as an audio book on CD through Lorito Books

Publisher’s Description:
“My name is Ana. Every year, my family makes tamales for Christmas. This year, I am six, so I get to mix the dough, which is made of cornmeal. My sister Lidia is eight, so she gets to spread the dough on the corn husk leaves. I wish I was eight, so that my hands would be big enough to spread the dough just right–not too thick and not too thin.”

And so the years pass, and Ana turns eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen. But every year, big sister Lidia is always two years older. Ana envies her elder sibling and wishes she could do what Lidia does: put just the right amount of meat inside the tamales and roll them up; steam the tamales without scalding herself with the hot, hot steam; chop and cook the meat for the tamales without cutting or burning her hands.

When she turns eighteen, though, Ana knows she will keep making tamales and she will be able to do all of the steps herself in her very own factory. When Christmas comes around, Ana will deliver tamales to all of her customers around the world, in delivery trucks that say “Ana’s Tamales.” And maybe Ana will even let Lidia work for her.

Gwendolyn Zepeda’s rhythmic prose is combined with April Ward’s bright illustrations to create an affectionate and amusing story about sibling relationships that introduces an important Hispanic holiday tradition–making tamales!

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