New and Noteworthy



Monica Brown, winner of the 2015 Judy Goddard Award for children’s literature, has a new book, Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos, illustrated by John Parra. This is a story of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, remembered for her self-portraits featuring bold, vibrant colors.  Brown’s tale describes Frida’s beloved pets – two monkeys, a parrot, three dogs, two turkeys, an eagle, a black cat, and a fawn – and describes how Frida embodied the unique characteristics of each animal.

This book has received several awards, including a Barnes & Noble’s Best Children’s Book of 2017, and was also named one of Smithsonian’s Top Ten Best Children’s Books of 2017.

Marge Pellegrino, 2009 Judy Goddard Young Adult Award winner, has a new book, The Sculpture Speaks: A Refugee’s Story of Survival. It was co-authored by Marianna Neil, with art by Aida Algosaibi-Stoklos. The book tells the story of Juana, a young Guatemalan woman, who sets off on a dangerous journey north, leaving her previously happy life with her husband and children. She personalizes the plight of thousands of refugees who fled Central America in the 1980’s and 90’s, and continue to do so today. Juana’s story makes readers aware of the courage of Americans who have risked arrest and punishment to make life safer and more secure for refugees fleeing intolerable conditions.

Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford, 2009 winner of the Judy Goddard Award for children’s literature, journeyed to the magic kingdom of Disney, where she was selected to write a related children’s adventure book for Disney-Pixar’s acclaimed animated film “Coco.”  The film, which opened in theaters on Thanksgiving weekend, 2017, is now available in DVD. The main character is 12-year-old Miguel Rivera, a Mexican boy with dreams of becoming a musician,  who travels to the Land of the Dead to search for his great-great grandfather, a legendary singer.

Roni’s 2017 book, co-authored with her son Aaron Rivera-Ashford, is titled Miguel and the Amazing Alebrijes.  In this story, Miguel embarks on a class project to identify eight of his favorite living creatures, and then transforms them into alebrijes – colorful, fantastical sculptures made of paper mache, which blend ancient and modern Mexican art. It is an interactive book, with game cards and stickers.