La casita de Esperanza

Holiday House/Neal Porter. May 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823452033.
K-Gr 3–A family just arriving from Cuba is searching for an affordable place to call home when they find it: La Casita. It is a small house, and it has a bit of a musty smell, but Esperanza, Manolo, and their parents (who are light-skinned) see something more. Through hard work and dedication, they begin to slowly repair La Casita, making the little house a home. Each family member also works hard to learn English, and they form new friendships with families that are also looking for help, offering them a warm home in La Casita. Time goes on, and friends and family come and go from the little home; every time they do, Esperanza offers them a gift of hope as they set out. Colón’s trademark watercolor and color pencil illustrations begin by showing the uncertainty of a new place with a gray, almost stormy sky as the backdrop to the unfamiliar, and then move on to depict a loving family, warm home, sunny outdoors, and the hopes and dreams of many who face difficulties in their attempts at a better life. The poetic Spanish text (an English edition, The Little House of Hope, is also available) deftly conveys these hopes and fears in a accessible way to young readers.
VERDICT A great selection that honestly presents the hardships and the victories of families working hard for a bright future.

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