Antonio’s Card / La tarjeta de Antonio

author: Rigoberto González 
translator: Jorge Tetl Argueta
illustrator: Cecilia Concepción Álvarez
Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low, 2005
grades 1-3 
Mexican American

Young Antonio likes how letters come together to form words, and how words can come together to express feelings. But he’s unable to put his feelings into words when his classmates start to make negative comments about his mother’s partner, who, they say, looks like a man, looks like a rodeo clown, “looks like a box of crayons exploded all over her.” Trying to deal with his embarrassment, Antonio tries to change his routine so that the children won’t see Leslie, but still, he’s able to create a beautiful Mother’s Day card for both his mothers. When his teacher announces that all of the children’s cards will be put on display, once again Antonio struggles with his feelings and has to decide how—or whether—to express his love for his mothers.

Antonio’s Card / La Tarjeta de Antonio is perceptively written in English and beautifully translated into Spanish. Álvarez’s detailed acrylic-and-pencil paintings, on a richly hued palette, effectively convey Antonio’s dilemmas and love. This is a sweet little story that will especially resonate with children in non-traditional families who are faced with the difficulties of having to define themselves and their relationships. Highly recommended.

—Beverly Slapin
(published 4/6/13)

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