cover image Mango, Abuela, and Me

Mango, Abuela, and Me

Meg Medina, illus. by Angela Dominguez. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6900-3

Abuela has left her house in a sunnier place and moved to the wintry city to live with Mia and her family in their small apartment. Even though Mia and Abuela share a room, the older woman still feels like a “far-away grandmother” because her English is “too poquito” for Mia to speak with her. But Mia won’t give up; embracing the role of teacher and enlisting the help of a bilingual pet parrot (the “Mango” in the title) she and Abuela are soon “full of things to say.” With its emotional nuance and understated, observant narration—especially where Abuela’s inner state is concerned—Medina’s (Tia Isa Wants a Car) lovely story has the feel of a novella. Dominguez’s (Knit Together) broader, more cartoonlike art initially seems like a mismatch, but she captures the doubt in Abuela’s eyes, and her sunny colors and simple characterizations keep the story from sinking into melancholy before it bounces back to its upbeat ending. A Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Aug.)