cover image Welcome to My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC

Welcome to My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC

Quiara Alegría Hudes, illus. by Shino Arihara, Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-09424-5

In the first children's book from Hudes (who wrote the book for the musical In the Heights), an expressive girl takes a friend on a poetic tour of her inner-city neighborhood. "E is for the echo of the elevated train./ F is for the fire hydrant spraying summer rain." Chalky, gouache washes capture both the vital and gently dilapidated elements of city life: "Q is for quemar, to burn a house to the ground beneath,/ making a block full of row homes look like a smile that's missing its two front teeth." The subtle presence of the girl's personal narrative and her nuanced understanding of what makes her neighborhood home set this ABC book apart. Spanish-language edition also available. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)