Paletero Man

HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063014442.
K-Gr 2–This bright, bilingual story sparkles with celebrated musician-songwriter Diaz’s English and Spanish rhymes and Player’s bubbly, colorful digital illustrations, blending seamlessly to represent Diaz’s pride for his hometown in Los Angeles. Young readers will race alongside a Mexican American boy as he runs through his neighborhood streets to buy a cold paleta, a Mexican-style ice pop, quickly greeting local business owners on the way. As the boy rushes to find Paletero José and his paleta cart, daydreaming about the many fruity paleta flavors he will enjoy, the boy’s pocket change accidentally falls loose. The boy’s friends notice his plight and save the day, exemplifying a harmonious energy within the community that resonates through short, expressive bilingual rhymes. Similarly, illustrations fill every corner with vibrancy and amity in the people and activities depicted, honoring Eighth Street for its cultural diversity and liveliness. Along with an insightful author’s note, there is a website provided by the publisher on the book’s cover to link elementary readers to the children’s song “Paletero Man.”
VERDICT Filled with life and joy, this story is an upbeat, multi-sensory experience that honors the breadth and harmony of multiculturalism in Diaz’s LA hometown.

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