FICTION
Mallko and Dad
tr. from Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem. illus. by Gusti. 120p. Enchanted Lion. Nov. 2018. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781592702114.
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In this mixed-media Spanish import, Gusti relies on prose, poems, short sayings, and vignettes to explore his young son Mallko's early years. The author is honest about his initial anxiety upon learning that his son had Down syndrome, while noting that his wife was immediately accepting. With graphic paneling illustrations, childlike art and scribbles, and the use of collage and photos, this scrapbooklike memoir captures Mallko's vibrant personality. At times, however, Gusti comes across as self-congratulatory about both his and his older son Theo's attitude toward Mallko: "Theo helps us a lot with Mallko. When we're overwhelmed, we can always count on him. This makes him feel like a good person and gives him a sense of responsibility." Overall, though, this is a deeply personal account of fatherhood and a beautiful memoir about family and acceptance.
VERDICT This celebratory and enchanting title will engage teens.

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