"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Me Llamo Gabriela/My Name Is Gabriela

Me Llamo Gabriela/My Name Is Gabriela
Author: Monica Brown
Illustrator: John Parra
Publisher: Luna Rising
ISBN-10: 0873588592
ISBN-13: 978-0873588591

This wonderful little tribute to Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean Nobel Prize winner for Literature and the first Latina to receive the award works on so many levels.

As a picture book, the illustrations by John Parra are simply beautiful. His almost etched looking feel to the pages give that unique Latino flair and flavor while his color palette brings a happy and joyful feel to the book.

As a history, the book is a wonderful way to introduce young children to important historical figures in a completely relatable way. The book opens telling about Gabriela and how she picked her own name because she liked the sound of it. Writen in the first person, Me Llamo Gabriela/My Name Is Gabriela draws in the young reader with its imaginative, day dreamy feel and a sense of play. My little granddaughter was captivated by the story of young Gabriela Mistral and how she realized her dreams and beyond. I could see that she was drinking in the story, seeing herself in Gabriela and imagining herself doing the same. Isn’t that what we want for our children? That they see themselves as strong and successful so that they can go out into that wide world with a strong sense of self and the belief that their dreams are possible? Monica Brown’s book does just that – it gives them a concrete example of someone who followed their dreams and made them happen.

On another very important level this book teaches the importance of literacy. It gives little Latinas a good look at an intelligent role model. People like Gabriela Mistral are people Latinas or Chicanas don’t always learn about till college. To have a young child’s picture book teaching about a Nobel Prize-winning author gives them a view that they as Latinas have value and much to contribute. That’s an extremely important view to have when you’re growing up. My Name is Gabriela is highly recommended.

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