cover image Abuelita and Me

Abuelita and Me

Leonarda Carranza, illus. by Rafael Mayani. Annick, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-773

A bus driver’s prejudice forces a child to grapple with difficult emotions in this affecting story. Employing first-person narration, a child describes a separation between “inside” as a space where “we can be silly,” and “outside” as a locale where “sometimes, people are not nice to Abuelita.” On a trip to the store for sopa ingredients, the pair, portrayed with tan skin, first face a white-cued grocer’s impatience, and then the cruelty of a pink-skinned bus driver who thinks they are trying to ride for free. After the incident, the child, sad and angry, refuses to go out again, but Abuelita’s patient support (“What happened is not our fault. We are not the ones that need to hide”) helps them return out of doors. A subtle resolution underlines pride in a personal act in lieu of real equity won, but the incident itself should prompt discussion of systemic racism and its manifold effects. In rust and beige hues, Mayani’s dramatic graphics partner readily with the book’s lines. Ages 4–7. (Apr.)