Baking with Mi Abuelita

Random. (Step into Reading). Sept. 2023. 32p. lib. ed. $14.99. ISBN 9780593651971; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593651964.
Gr 1-3–It’s Papi’s birthday and the main character, a little girl with brown curls, is excited to help Abuelita make his favorite tres leches cake! She must measure, count, share, persist when things go awry, and, hardest of all, wait until the cake is ready. Baking the cake is only part of the fun, though. It’s most fun to spend time with family and continue traditions. Illustrations are delightful, perfectly portraying the big emotions that come with a big celebration. The family home is filled with cultural indicators, including a Cuban flag, tiled floors, tropical plants, and a religious statute, giving prominence to many items that create both a comfortable home and a valued culture. The narrative is in English, but contains Spanish words, so it may be challenging for beginning readers to parse out phenomes and word blends, especially those without any Spanish language experience. For example, the “her” in “hermana” makes a different sound in Spanish than “her” in English. A Spanish glossary with pronunciation guide resides on the copyright page, so it is directed at adult readers instead of children.
VERDICT This book is a fabulous example of Rudine Sims Bishop’s mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors concept. A first purchase for all libraries, but especially those with Spanish speakers in their communities.

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