Mango, Abuela, and Me

Mango, Abuela and Me 61mOUGgpH9L__SX425_BO1,204,203,200_Mango, Abuela, and Me

Meg Medina, Author

Angela Dominguez, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, Aug. 25, 2015

2016 Pura Belpré Honor Book medal for literature

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Aging grandparents,  Love, Family relationships, Learning a new language, Hispanic, Diversity

Opening: “She comes to us in winter, leaving behind her sunny house that rested between two snaking rivers.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: Mia’s “far-away” grandmother leaves behind her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to come live with Mia and her parents in the city. But when Mia tries to share her favorite bedtime story with Abuela, she discovers that Abuela can’t read the words.  Mia helps Abuela with her English while they cook, and Mia learns some Spanish, too. But it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. So when Mia sees a parrot in the pet-shop window, she has the perfecto idea for how to help Abuela.

Why I like this book:

What a treat to review Meg Medina’s book, just after she received the 2016 Pura Belpré Honor Book medal for literature. Her heartwarming story about the bonds of love, family and culture is a testament to how important Latino books are for children.

Medina weaves her magic as she includes both Spanish and English words into her uplifting and endearing bilingual story about Mia finding a way to communicate with her Hispanic grandmother — especially since they share a bedroom together. Language barriers are likely a familiar issue for many multi-generational immigrant families.

Mia and Abuela’s memorable characters are artfully crafted. Mia is caring, creative and determined to find a way to bridge the communication gap and does so in a very clever and humorous way. (No spoilers.) Abuela is sad and homesick at first, until she begins to cook with Mia and learn new words. Both learn to be patient with each other.

The text is simple and lyrical, the plot engaging and timeless. The narrative is a springboard for Angela Dominguez’s lively, colorful and expressive illustrations which are a blend of  ink, gouache and marker. This is a lovely collaborative effort between Medina and Dominguez.

Resources: Children learn a second language very easily. No matter if your child is learning English or Spanish, you can teach them simple words. For instance, Mia makes words cards for her abuela and tapes them to the lamp, rug, door, phone, chair, blanket, pillow.  Teach your child to count and say the alphabet in Spanish or English. Visit this creative Bilingual Teaching Activities page for children on Pinterest.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

43 thoughts on “Mango, Abuela, and Me

  1. A great bi-lingual book. When I taught English as a Second Language in Vancouver, Canada, many of the immigrant grandparents were learning English from their grandchildren. What a wonderful way for them to bond as well as learn each other´s language.


  2. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday – Lemonade In Winter – Susanna Leonard Hill

  3. I’ve heard about this book, and now that I’ve read your review, I really want to read it – intergenerational interactions are of huge interest & I especially love when young & old learn from each other. And who knows, I may even learn a few words of Spanish!


  4. I Love Meg Medina and had a chance to hear her speak at our SBWI conference year before last. She spoke about her diverse book a middle grade book which I am blocking on the title. She talked about diverse characters for a whole afternoon intensive. It was great and I took copious notes.

    I need to read this book, Great that she is so talented. I’ll put it on hold at my library. 🙂


    • Yes, I love Meg’s books and writing style. This is a beautiful diverse book for kids. Would love to hear her speak at a conference. I’ve reviewed some of her other books, so you may want to type her name and do a search. One of my favorite YA books is “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass!” Very powerful book!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, tha was the book she referred to so often during the conference discussion. I wish I had known sh e would speak about it so I would have read it before the discussion. But I had not heard of her until then.

        We all learn so much at these conferences, don’t we? 🙂


  5. Great minds think alike, Pat…this is a wonderful book and I am definitely going to get a copy. I love how the girl helps her grandmother…and I love the intergenerational aspect of it also. And as always, your review is stellar!


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