Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Juan Felipe Herrera

Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year.

Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas by Juan Felipe Herrera/Illustrated by Elly Simmons
Goodreads summary: Calling the Doves is poet Juan Felipe Herrera's story of his migrant farmworker childhood. In delightful and lyrical language, he recreates the joy of eating breakfast under the open sky, listening to Mexican songs in the little trailer house his father built, and celebrating with other families at a fiesta in the mountains. He remembers his mother s songs and poetry, and his father's stories and his calling the doves. For Juan Felipe, the farmworker road was also the beginning of his personal road to becoming a writer.

My thoughts: Juan Felipe Herrera is the United States Poet Laureate so this was a great book to read for poetry month. In Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas, Herrera shares about his childhood with a lyrical voice. Readers find out about the beauty of the land he lived in and the care and nurture he had from his parents. His parents loved the open sky and the tender earth. They taught him "that inside every word there can be kindness." His parents were migrant farmworkers and life was not easy. Herrera makes it clear though, that he appreciated many aspects of his childhood. His parents were storytellers and they filled the air with poetry, songs and stories. Juan Felipe Herrera shows the many ways in which his childhood was rich and how this shaped him and led him to poetry.

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera/Illustrated by

Another book of his that I enjoyed was Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes

Goodreads summary: An inspiring tribute to Hispanic Americans who have made a positive impact on the world This visually stunning book showcases twenty Hispanic and Latino American men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the arts, politics, science, humanitarianism, and athletics. Gorgeous portraits complement sparkling biographies of Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Ellen Ochoa, Roberto Clemente, and many more. Complete with timelines and famous quotes, this tome is a magnificent homage to those who have shaped our nation.

In this volume: Adelina Otero-Warren, Bernardo de Galvez, Cesar Chavez, David Farragut, Dennis Chavez, Desi Arnaz, Dolores Huerta, Ellen Ochoa, Helen Rodríguez Trías, Hero Street USA, Ignacio Lozano, Jaime Escalante, Joan Baez, Judy Baca, Julia de Burgos, Luis Alvarez, Rita Moreno, Roberte Clemente, Sonia Sotomayor, and Tomas Rivera.

The Upside Down Boy/El niño de cabeza by Juan Felipe Herrera/Illustrated by Elizabeth Gómez
I haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but I have it at school and am eager to read it soon.

Goodreads summary:
Juan Felipe Herrera's playful language and the colorful, magical art of Elizabeth Gomez capture the universal experience of entering a new school and feeling like a stranger in a world that seems upside down.


  1. These all sound wonderful, Crystal. I put the first on my wish list & when I did, a 2nd one came up too, The Upside Down Boy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I loved Herrera's book on Hispanic American heroes. Can't wait to look for these others. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Crystal, thank you as always for sharing diverse books that some of us may not know.