cover image Adriana’s Angels

Adriana’s Angels

Ruth Goring, illus. by Erika Meza. Sparkhouse Family, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5064-1832-2

Two guardian angels, Alegría and Milagros, watch over a Colombian girl named Adriana, protecting her and accompanying her to Chicago, where the family moves after facing unspecified “danger.” An opening note explains that the story is inspired by a real-life family who sought asylum in the U.S., but Goring, a poet making her children’s book debut, doesn’t address the concept directly. Instead, she focuses on Adriana’s transition to an unfamiliar city that’s cold in more ways than one. At the playground, Meza (Pumpkin Day!) shows Adriana playing by herself while her classmates glare at her. The angels buoy her spirits with a message from God (“God loves you. God wants to be your very best friend”) but her situation still comes across as rather stark. Adriana’s family, God, and the angels are the only support she seems to have; no one else reaches out. Meza’s vivid cartoon illustrations, particularly the statuesque angels and their resplendent wings, provide welcome brightness in a story that doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties of adjusting to a new country and culture. A Spanish-language edition, Los ángeles de Adriana, is available simultaneously. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)