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Abuela - Arthur Dorros 1991    ABUELA

by Arthur Dorros
illustrated by Elisa Kleven (Dutton, 1991)

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Somersaulting in midair, resting in the sky on a chair-shaped cloud... A little girl and her grandmother, her abuela, soar in this highly acclaimed adventure of the imagination as they fly around New York City. In English, with Spanish words and phrases woven into the story, includes a glossary.


Star Review "A marvelous balancing of narrative simplicity with visual intricacy...the city is transformed into a treasure trove of jewels, dazzling the eye, uplifting the spirits."–The Horn Book (starred review)

Star Review "Each illustration is a masterpiece of color, line, and form that will mesmerize youngsters...The smooth text, interspersed with Spanish words and phrases, provides ample context clues...a jewel."–Booklist (starred review)

"A book to set any child dreaming...any reader can handle it, whether familiar with Spanish or not. It's just joyful."-The New York Times

Awards and Honors

ALA Notable Book
American Booksellers Pick of the Lists
Booklist Editor's Choice
Reading Rainbow Review Book
Horn Book Fanfare Listing
Parent's Choice Award
NCSS Notable Children's Trade Book
Hungry Mind Review Children's Books of Distinction List
New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
HBO Book Club: My Favorite Book
Storytime Public TV Selection

Author's note: the story behind the story

This story is based in great part on my warm and rich relationship with one of my grandmothers, who for many years lived in New York City. When I moved to New York as an adult for a time to learn more about writing, illustrating, and making books, one of my favorite places to visit was at the top of my apartment building. From there I could see the city from above, with sweeping views from the Statue of Liberty to midtown Manhattan. I had pictures and exact locations in mind as I wrote, for all of the places Rosalba and Abuela visit in the story.

My grandmother, like the story's Abuela, grew up primarily speaking a language other than English. She actually grew up speaking several languages, and then learned English when she moved to this country. When I lived in New York I heard many tongues each day, English and often Spanish. I like the sounds and rhythms of various languages, and I enjoy speaking Spanish as well. So I decided to include Spanish words as part of this story in a way that anyone reading it could understand, whether they knew Spanish or not. All of us have a variety of cultures, traditions, and backgrounds that are part of and take flight with each of us. Enjoy your own high-flying adventures and imagination!

Edition in Spanish also available, edición en español disponible: ABUELA

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