cover image Barrio Rising: The Protest That Built Chicano Park

Barrio Rising: The Protest That Built Chicano Park

María Dolores Águila, illus. by Magdalena Mora. Dial, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5934-6207-2

In this activist picture book, a child living in San Diego’s Barrio Logan vividly narrates, in English and Spanish, a story of individual and collective strength. In their Chicane neighborhood, which now sits adjacent to a freeway and a junkyard, Elena and Mami encounter jacaranda blossoms, close-knit neighbors, and a tiendita, as well as vehicle fumes and noise. Elena is excited to see construction, believing it’s the start of a long-requested park, but the community soon learns that the workers are breaking ground on a planned police station. Defying “men in hard hats, and police with squawking radios,” the residents join hands and surround the equipment, and the bravery of a protesting neighbor inspires everyone to stand their ground—until their efforts, step by step, result in community-built Chicano Park. In a powerful work that celebrates community engagement at any age, Mora’s pencil, charcoal, watercolor, and digital illustrations contrast hard-edged concrete and metal with cloudlike jacaranda blossoms and vivid hand-rendered murals. Background characters are portrayed with various skin tones. A history of the park and an author’s note conclude. Ages 4–8. (June)