Abuelita’s Secret // Picture Book Review

Tired of reading the same picture book over and over and over and over?! Looking for a new picture book to add to your child’s collection? No worries, let’s get into today’s picture book review of “Abuelita’s Secret” by Alma Flor Ada! It very nicely addresses the complex feelings of having a family in more than one country and what traveling back home is like.

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Find more similar picture books in this post about picture books for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Picture Book Review

Author: Alma Flor Ada
Illustrator: Jacobo Muñiz

Buy on Amazon

Picture Book Summary & Review

This book got me in my feels! It’s the first day of school, and a little boy has decided to not talk about his summer: not the trip to Cuba, not the beach, not about meeting other family members. He spends his whole morning before school, just fretting about meeting his new classmates. Right before he leaves for school, Abuelita tells him to check his bag whenever he is asked to talk, but not a moment before. In the end, the little boy learns that his stories are just as cool and interesting as his classmates.

About the Illustrations

Illustrations are colorful and have a soft edge. It gave the story a bit of innocence and intimacy. I don’t know if this emotional closeness to the pictures developed because the story felt personal, but the illustrations made it feel like I was reading my own story from my childhood memories.

Picture Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

Hey! I created an updated and longer picture book list full of fiction picture books and nonfiction picture books to read during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Check out the updated post over here!

Recommended Ages for this Picture Book

Picture books are helpful at all ages because they help kids make sense of the world around them. It also exposes them to new situations and people they may not have yet encountered in their life.

Here are some notes on how this picture book can be helpful at different ages.


Cute illustrations for this age but the emotional appeal of the story and experience is definitely for an older child. Still, the text is short enough that a younger child could be interested. Could provide a start for an interesting conversation regarding different experiences compared to friends.


This story is perfect for children that interact with other kids in a daily manner, like daycare or a nursery, because this story highlights how our experiences can be cool even if we don’t think they are.

Early Elementary

Show-and-tell might not be an activity that is done as often anymore, but conversations regarding “what you did over the summer” or “what you did over winter break” still happen. This story will definitely speak to children who are part of an immigrant family or who think their experience of visiting their family in another country isn’t as special as a beach trip or going on an amusement park trip. The story really helps to bring in some perspective about how our differences can be cool to other people. Could be a start to a conversation about those who truly do not like having differences.

Late Elementary

Again, though the story and words stay simple, the story and emotional journey can be anything but. This story could be a great way to open a conversation about feeling out of place, feeling like an outsider, and other similar emotions. It could also help to provide some validation in the child’s experiences.

I hope this picture book review helped you figure out if this is a worthy book to read with your family or to add to your collection! If you’re looking for more picture books, then check out this blog post about picture books for Hispanic Heritage Month.

This post was a picture book review of
“Abuelita’s Secret” by Alma Flor Ada.

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