cover image Isabel and Her Colores Go to School

Isabel and Her Colores Go to School

Alexandra Alessandri, illus. by Courtney Dawson. Sleeping Bear, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5341-1063-2

In this bilingual picture book, Isabel, a tan-skinned Latinx child who loves coloring, feels prepared for the first day of school, except for one thing: “Isabel didn’t speak much inglés./ English sounded wrong, like/ stormy blues and blizzard whites. Isabel preferred the pinks/ and yellows and purples of español.” Once there, Isabel suffers a few language blunders and misunderstandings, including unintentionally declining proffered friendship from Black classmate Sarah—until a coloring session turns the day around. Alessandri melds Spanish and English in a narration filled with varying color words, and bubbles on each page offer the corresponding text entirely in Spanish. Dawson’s expressive digital art emphasizes the big-eyed characters’ emotions amid a classroom of students with differing skin tones. This synesthesia-inflected tale helps teach colors while simultaneously buoying those nervous about language barriers. Back matter includes a Spanish-English glossary. Ages 6–7. (July)