La panza de mamá

Penguin/Kokila. Mar. 2024. 32p. tr. from English by Aida Salazar . Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593696606. SP.
K-Gr 2–An ode to mothers and to bodies of all kinds, this picture book is a warm hug for readers. A little boy shares that everyone has a panza (belly), and they come in all shapes and sizes. But his favorite panza belongs to his mother. It was his first home, his first cradle, where she felt his first kicks, and he first felt her heartbeats. The boy finds comfort on his mom’s belly as they snuggle and play with each other’s tummies as if they’re drums, or when he tucks behind her when meeting strangers. When the boy asks his mom if she loves her belly, she replies that she can’t love her whole self if she doesn’t love her belly, too. This celebration of mother’s bodies, as they grow and stretch to produce life and nurture those around them, is honest and tender. There is so much joy in the characters’ faces as they play lucha libre and snuggle for a bedtime read. Quintero’s lyrical language captures the inquisitive child’s voice perfectly and offers a wonderful way to teach kids (and adults) to embrace their miraculous selves. Galvez’s art is composed of warm browns, purples, and turquoise, with the bodies in constant motion. The lines are fluid, and the bodies are beautifully large and brown. The family’s Mexican cultural ties are hinted at with scenes in the supermarket aisle, their furnishings and prints, and more, making this feel even more familiar and open.
VERDICT Every body needs this book. Purchase for all Spanish-language collections.

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