Today, we are celebrating the start of Hispanic Heritage Month withg my friend and author, Cindy Rodriguez. We served on the same committee for equity and inclusion for NESCBWI and she’s awesome!
I’m thrilled today to be part of her blog tour for her latest picture book, Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition.
Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition by Cindy L. Rodriguez, illustrated by Begoña Fernández Corbalán
A wedding isn’t always the happiest of days. Beto’s Mami wants him to wear a guayabera, a traditional Mexican wedding shirt, but he refuses. This is a day of mixed emotions and it’s hard for Beto. When he tries to hide the guayabera, he and his Mami end up finding old family photos, and these memories help him to understand that this wedding doesn’t mean that his father will ever be forgotten. This is a story of grief & healing, new beginnings & old traditions and it 100% tugs on your heartstrings. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
We are giving away a signed copy of Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition, plus The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper. Please use the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Picture Books with Blended Families
The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper
Jackson’s mom is getting remarried, which means he will have a new dad, Bill, and step-sister, Sophie. Jackson is nervous about being the ring-bearer. He doesn’t want to trip and mess up in front of everyone! When the ceremony starts, Sophie, the flower girl, is the one who almost trips and falls, but new big-brother Jackson catches her just in time. They hold hands and walk together, a tender moment that shows trust and caring. This is a beautifully written and illustrated book that shows two Black families uniting, emphasizing love and joy, and validating a young boy’s ability to pull off an important job and be a great big brother. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Oh, Brother! by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Mike Benny
With twenty poems, Grimes is brutally honest about the growing pains that may come when parents remarry and two families merge. Early on, one character, Xavier, does not mince words, saying, “No way will I ever call him brother.” There’s even one poem titled “Showdown,” where the step-brothers come “nose to nose” to hash things out. Things do turn around, and the boys declare, “No matter what, we’re brothers.” They also welcome a new baby sister, Melodye. I love that this is one of only a few books I found with two families of color coming together.
Xavier is Latinx, while Chris is Black. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Maya and Annie on Saturdays and Sundays/Los sábados y domingos de Maya y Annie by Gwendolyn Zepeda, illustrated by Thelma Muraids
For most of the book, Maya and Annie seem like friends who get to see each other on Saturdays or Sundays. Maya, who is Latinx, and Annie, who is Vietnamese, share their cultures through food—such as tortillas and dumplings—and bigger events—such as a posada and the Lunar New Year. Later, the reader learns that Maya’s mom and Annie’s dad plan to get married, which means Maya and Annie will become sisters in a culturally blended family. Like the first two books listed, this is one of the few picture books in which two families of color are united by marriage. [bilingual Spanish picture book, ages 5 and up]
A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng
When a classroom teacher asks her students what makes their families special, one girl is embarrassed and decides to go last; she’s not sure what to say since her family isn’t like anyone else’s. As the other children speak, we see no two families are the same—some look alike; some don’t; some are big; some are small; some have two moms, two dads, or parents who live apart. In the end, the girl no longer looks embarrassed or unsure of herself when she shares that she is part of a foster family. I love that this book normalizes differences among families. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Do You Sing Twinkle? A Story About Remarriage and New Family by Sandra Levins, illustrated by Bryan Langdo
The start of this story lays out the realities of splitting time between divorced parents. Two brothers spend part of the week with Mom and part of the week with Dad. When Mom remarries and moves farther away, they live with Dad during the week and Mom every other weekend. The boys aren’t happy at first with their new stepdad or stepsisters. They also miss a ritual, which has been lost in all the change—their mom singing “Twinkle” to them at bedtime. After the older brother acts out at school and at home, the parents find ways to make life apart from a parent easier, including reading books over the phone and Mom singing “Twinkle” when she’s with them, even if it’s not bedtime. This book is honest about the tough feelings a child can have when things change, but they find solutions to make the boys feel better. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Fred Stays with Me by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
In this book, the main character explains the differences when she stays with Mom or Dad, who are divorced. At Mom’s, she has a bunk bed and eats pizza, but at Dad’s, she has a regular twin bed and eats peanut butter sandwiches. The one constant is Fred, the dog. He stays with the main character, no matter what, providing comfort, friendship, and certainty in what can be a confusing and difficult situation. Through Fred, readers learn that things may change, but some things stay the same, and those constants help us get through tough moments. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
More People to Love Me by Mo O’Hara, illustrated by Ada Grey
The main character struggles to create a family tree for school because her family is so big! She has a dad, step-mum, and step-brother on one side, and her mummy, step-dad, step-sister, and new twin half-sisters on the other. Plus, she has nine grandparents! Her teacher helps the main character to create a family forest instead of a single tree, so no one would be left out. When she’s asked if it’s hard to be in such a big family, she says, “Nah, there are just more people to love me!” I like that the illustrations add diversity to this book, making clear that some of the step-family members and grandparents are people of color. Also, one grandma is alone, suggesting she was either always a single parent or a widow. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Signed copy of Three Pockets Full & The Ring Bearer GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away a signed copy of Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition, plus The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
Cindy L. Rodriguez is an editor for an educational publisher and an author of children’s books. Her titles are: When Reason Breaks, (2015), Volleyball Ace (2020), Drill Team Determination (2021), Gymnastics Payback (2021), The Doomed Search for the Lost City of Z (2022), and Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition (2022). She also has an essay in the YA anthology Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles (2018). Upcoming is The Mount Everest Disaster of 1996 (2023). Cindy is a former journalist and public school teacher. She is also a founder of and blogger at Latinxs in Kid Lit, which has been celebrating children’s literature by/for/about Latinxs since 2013. Cindy has presented at numerous local, state, and national literary festivals and conferences about reading, teaching, and children’s literature. She lives in Connecticut with her family.
p.s. Related posts:
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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.