El Barrio

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What do you like best about your neighborhood?

Maybe you like the park that’s nearby or a pool to splash in on a hot summer day. Perhaps you like having your friends close by or your abuelita (grandmother) or your tia (aunt).

In the new book El Barrio by Debbi Chocolate, illustrated by David Diaz, you’ll read about the neighborhood that one boy calls home and the things he likes best about living there.

El Barrio is a wonderful neighborhood with colorful walls, painted artwork, beautiful graffiti, sparkly tenements, bodegas (grocery stores) to visit, and elegant iglesias (churches). People from many different places—Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia— come to Spanish Harlem. They call El Barrio “home.” El barrio is a very busy neighborhood!

And what will you hear in El Barrio? The sounds of the city, of course, but you might hear a soft bolero or a slow ranchera that your parents might think sounds romantic. There may be trumpets and mariachis to play tejano and salsa music.

Talk about your double-whammy. Author Debbi Chocolate was a winner of a Coretta Scott King Award. Illustrator David Diaz is a Caldecott Medal winner. Put them together and you’ve got a book los niños will love.

The book is written mostly in English but includes plenty of Spanish words (with a glossary in the back of the book for pronunciation and definition). Every page is covered with vibrant, bright, eye-popping artwork with a Mexican flavor, making it fun to look at and a definite kid magnet.

For 2-to-8-year-olds who are curious about other cultures or for kids who are interested in becoming bilingual, El Barrio is a great place to start. Pick up this book y diviértete!