Alicia and the Hurricane /Alicia y el huracán: A Story of Puerto Rico/Un cuento de Puerto Rico

Children’s Bk. Pr. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780892394555.
K-Gr 3–Alicia and her family live in Puerto Rico, where she loves to fall asleep to the sound of the coquí, a tree frog abundant on the island. However, when Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico, the family has to shelter away from home with hundreds of other people. Newman offers an accessible glimpse of the effects of hurricanes in communities. This child-friendly picture book expresses the loss of homes and neighborhood damage from the eyes of a supportive and loving family. The bilingual story, which features from one to 10 lines of text per page, is set to a small black-and-white font with Spanish terms interlaced in the English text. The third-person narrative, set primarily on full spreads, moves the plot forward with text repetition and some vocabulary words. Newman utilizes onomatopoeia to represent the sound of the coquí, which may enhance a story time activity where children imitate this frog during the reading. This book could also be used in a social studies unit covering natural disasters for younger elementary students. The acrylic paint and charcoal illustrations depict the story’s plot with a palette of primary and pastel colors. The illustrator captures scenes of Puerto Rico, revealing her own rich heritage.
VERDICT An expressive picture book that will offer comfort to children who have experienced natural disasters and help other young children empathize with their classmates.

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