The Coquíes Still Sing: A Story of Home, Hope, and Rebuilding

ISBN 9781250787187.
PreS-Gr 2–The strength and hope of a young girl, her family, and her country after a devastating hurricane is shared in this beautiful picture book. When Hurricane María makes landfall in Puerto Rico, Elena and her family take refuge in their home, hiding in the closet as the rain falls in sheets and the wind howls, tearing off the roof and soaking everything in its path. In the aftermath, the mango tree that provided shade, sweet mangoes, and a perch for the coquíes that share their nightly song, stands bare and battered. The coquíes go quiet. Elena’s family and their neighbors work to repair their homes, creating a garden where they share fruits and vegetables. Eventually, the mango tree provides shade again, and they hear the song of the coquíes once more. The heartfelt, lyrical text conveys the resilience of Elena and her family; each sentence is full of a simplicity and beauty---in both English and Spanish editions. Even when describing how Elena’s family is preparing for what would be one of the most destructive hurricanes in Puerto Rican history, each word is necessary and each sentence reads as an essential part of a larger poem. Readers will sing along with Elena to the lyrical “Co-quí, co-qui” tune, the joy the song brings evident on the characters’ faces. The gouache and acrylic illustrations are vibrant and magical, illuminating Elena’s home as she shares time with her family and pulling readers in to a darkness as the hurricane makes landfall.
VERDICT An inspiring picture book full of love and wonder for Puerto Rico, it is highly recommended for library collections for children.

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