Francisco’s Kites (published May 2015) written by Alicia Z. Klepeis and illustrated by Gary Undercuffler is a bilingual children’s book about a boy who uses ingenuity and perseverance to solve a problem.
In the story, Francisco and his mom have emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Francisco misses some of the things from his old home especially the kite he used to fly all the time with his friends. Francisco’s mom doesn’t have enough money to buy him a kite, so he goes on a “treasure hunt” collecting discarded materials and uses them to create his own kites. His dragon kite is such a successful creation that it attracts the attention of the owner of a recycled goods store who commissions some hand-made kites from Francisco. Once the kites are completed and paid for, Francisco uses his hard-earned money to take his mom to a Salvadoran restaurant where they feel at home once again speaking their native language and eating their favorite foods.
There are so many things I like about this picture book.
- It’s bilingual with English text on the top half of the page and Spanish text on the bottom.
- The main lesson is about working hard to solve your own problem.
- It shows the value of recycling (or upcycling).
- The illustrations are colorful and accurately portray the events of the story (both in the U.S. and El Salvador).
This book is recommended for children ages 4-8, but I think you could easily extend it up to age 10 or so. This would be a great book to add to a collection of high quality bilingual children’s books, but I think it would be great for all children. I would also recommend it to teachers and parents teaching about Hispanic culture or recycling.
Please note: In exchange for an honest review, I was given a copy of this book by Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest publisher of literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children, Piñata Press, is dedicated to the authentic portrayal of Hispanic culture in the U.S. All opinions are my own.
I’m linking this to the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Come over to the hop to see what else is new in children’s literature.