Dear Abuelo // Picture Book Review
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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 “Dear Abuelo” by Grecia Huesca Dominguez!
Find more similar picture books in a round-up of picture books for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Picture Book Review
Author: Grecia Huesca Dominguez | Illustrator: Teresa Martinez
About the Text
This picture book has a simple story, simple words, but such a big emotional impact. In “Dear Abuelo”, a little girl is moving from Mexico to New York. Already, we begin the story with a major move… but then the author really digs into the little experiences connected to the move. This little girl is having the time of her life in the airplane, but then realizes they will only live in an apartment (instead of the house they might have lived in before). She tries to see the bright side about the park. And then comes the gut punch, that feeling many kids from immigrant families might have had: when she gets on the school bus, Juana realizes she cannot understand what the kids are saying. To make matters worse, once she gets in the classroom, Juana’s teacher mispronounces her name. This is one of moments where the feeling of being an outsider really comes through, and kids can be really scared to push back if they haven’t been taught to do so. The rest of the book addresses this big problem of mispronunciation. Juana makes a new friend that helps her out.
About the Illustrations
Alright, first things first: the use of a child’s handwriting as part of the book is the best design decision anyone made. The use of that handwriting just really helps the story in that the reader can better picture the little girl writing these letters. I also really appreciate how the use of bright colors with gray – and the use of seasons – are used to amplify the emotional journey Juana (and the reader) have as they go through the story in “Dear Abuelo”.
Hey! I created an updated and longer picture book list full of fiction picture books and nonfiction picture books, including biographies, to read during Hispanic Heritage Month.
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.
This picture book provides simple language, which can help kids work through moving and feeling like an outsider. For children who struggle with having a different name, the story can be a helpful way to validate their feelings and experiences, while also letting them know they are not along. The colorful pictures and child’s handwriting helps give the book a fun design.
Simple language, helps to introduce children to school, can help children work through the emotions of moving and validation in those conflicted feelings, for children that have “different/weird” names then this story can help give them confidence in correcting others and in realizing that having a “different/weird” name is not a negative thing, child’s handwriting gives the book an intimate feel of a child’s perspective.
The simple language used in the book is perfect for young elementary schoolers. The story will also be easy to connect to their life experience with the mentions of a school bus, taking attendance, and other school activities. For students who are having to correct the pronunciation of their name for the first time, this book is a great way to validate their feelings and to let them know they are not alone.
Though the language may now be too easy for these ages, the emotional aspect of the story will be more important. This book can help validate feelings of being an outsider, or having to juggle two (or more) languages and two (or more) cultures.
Let me know if you have already read this picture book in the comments! Will you be adding it to your collection or checking it out from your local library after reading this review?
If you’re looking for more picture books, then check out this blog post about picture books for Hispanic Heritage Month.
This was a picture book review on
Dear Abuelo by Grecia Huesca Dominguez.