Best Believe: The Tres Hermanas, a Sisterhood for the Common Good

Carolrhoda. Feb. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781728460444.
Gr 2-5–A stirring, picture book biography about three Puerto Rican sisters who made a lasting impact on the Bronx because of their activism and pride for their community. Evelina López Antonetty, Lillian López, and Elba Cabrera were born in a poor fishing village in Puerto Rico during the Great Depression. They moved to New York City and went on to fight for the needs of Black and Brown children in their borough. Antonetty founded United Bronx Parents in 1965 and fought for bilingual education in the Bronx and beyond. López became the first Puerto Rican administrator in the New York Public Library and spearheaded the South Bronx Project, which helped revitalize library services. Cabrera became the director of the Association of Hispanic Arts. They also helped found Hostos Community College in 1968. Done in verse, the narrative repeats “Best Believe” throughout, adding a layer of oratory that recalls legendary epic poems. The Tres Hermanas are presented as “sheroes,” larger-than-life women who advocated for families’ access to an education, regardless of race, nationality, language, or wealth. The Sisters are heralded as Queens and Madrinas (godmothers) and Ramos’s pride and reverence exudes from out of every word. Medina’s vibrant digital illustrates the powerful presence that these hallmarks had—capturing the righteous anger that drove the sisters to their to help their people. The jewel-tone palette of rich purples and teals is perfect for this tale of Bronx royalty. All quotes are sourced in the back matter, which also features a glossary, bibliography, and time line, and further reading.
VERDICT A wonderful choice for picture book biography shelves, especially where there’s a gap in women’s, Latinx, and activism history coverage.

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