Please welcome my guest author today, Nicolas Solis. He has a list of children’s books that build bridges instead of walls. His newest picture book, My Town, Mi Pueblo, also serves as a bridge between cultures.
My Town, Mi Pueblo by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Luisa Uribe
Books that try to break down metaphorical, and sometimes literal, walls in order to build bridges between our commonalities. My new book, My Town, Mi Pueblo, does just that. It follows two cousins that visit each other’s towns on the opposite side of the border. They love all the new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, but ultimately the cousins discover that their towns have a lot more in common than they have differences.
My Town, Mi Pueblo is a bilingual picture book where readers are invited to explore two very different cultures and discover the similarities that connect us all. [bilingual Spanish picture book, ages 3 and up]
We are giving away three copies of My Town, Mi Pueblo. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.
I was recently working with some of my writing students and we were having an interesting conversation about voice. She was in search of her voice and was analyzing all of the pieces she was writing in order to find it. She created an exercise where she laid out all of her stories and looked for the thread they all shared.
I had never thought of doing this before and decided there was no time like the present. What I found was that I have been writing stories about putting joy into the world. Either they are simply funny or they are about characters that are lost and lonely, but look for ways to come together.
Here are some more books that focus on building bridges instead of walls.
Children’s Books that Build Bridges Instead of Walls
Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Teresa Martinez
On April 13, 2019, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the US-Mexico border as part of the Bach Project. The intent was to show that through music, we connect cultures. The story spans that day, as well as Yo-Yo Ma’s life and his own journey navigating between borders and cultures. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora
Based on true events, Noemi and mama flee their home in Mexico and head to the US border only to be denied entry. They find “The Notebook Keeper” – the person in charge of keeping the names of those waiting to cross and add their names. Time passes and hope dwindles, but the kindness of those around Noemi and the courage within remain. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza
A father and son wake up early on a Saturday morning, get in dad’s truck, and head across the US-Mexico border. They get breakfast at their favorite restaurant, visit and play with their family, and run a few errands. But before they cross back, they stop to visit some friends seeking asylum. The US says it is too full and Mexico says it can’t take care of them, so the families are stuck between countries. The father and son drop off food, toys, and medicine for the family hoping one day they’ll be able to move freely between the countries. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
American Desi by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illustrated by Supria Kelkar
This beautiful book follows a young, Indian American girl trying to find out where she fits in. Is she one thing over another, or can she simply be both? Written in rhyme, the pages are filled with exquisite illustrations that incorporate both Indian and American fabrics. The story ultimately highlights that we should love every aspect of ourselves unconditionally. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Color Collector by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Renia Metallinou
It might be a little pompous to throw my own book into this collection, but I’m still very proud of it and it fits the theme. There is a new girl at school with a very interesting hobby. She collects color: bits of paper, leaves, wrappers. They all go into her backpack. But what does she do with it all? Our narrator must find out. The Color Collector is a story of friendship, where even the forgotten bits have a purpose. [picture book, ages 6 and up]
My Town, Mi Pueblo 3 Book Giveaway!
We are giving away three copies of My Town, Mi Pueblo. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
Nicholas Solis (nicholassolis.com) is also an elementary school teacher who has traveled the world and taught students in Tanzania, India, and Morocco. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books, and in 2020 he was nominated for the 2020 Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. His debut author/illustrated book, THE STARING CONTEST (Peter Pauper Press), was released in September 2020, and THE COLOR COLLECTOR (Sleeping Bear Press) in Spring 2021. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, baby boy, and their dog.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.