About the Book & Reviews: Mario is leaving his home in El Salvador. With his father by his side, he is going north to join his mother, who lives in the United States. She has sent Mario a new pair of shoes, and he is thrilled. He will need good shoes because the trip will be long and hard. He and his father will cross the borders of three countries. They will walk for miles, ride buses, climb mountains and wade a river. Mario has faith in his shoes. He believes they will take him anywhere. On this day, he wants to go to the United States, where his family will be reunited. René Colato Laínez’s inspiring story, dramatically illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck, vividly portrays a boy who strives to reach a new land and a new life.
~School Library Journal
K – Grade 3 — In this story of an arduous journey, Mario and his father leave their home and friends in El Salvador for a reunion in the United States with Mamá. The child is sad to go, but his mother has sent a pair of new shoes that “will take me anywhere.” Along the way, they face many obstacles: a pack of hungry dogs steals their food in Guatemala City and Papá loses his wallet at the bus terminal in Mexico City. They cross deserts, mountains, and rivers—and three borders. Mario’s shoes become soiled, torn, and water-logged, but with each setback, he croons a lullaby: “Sana, sana, colita de rana” and reassures himself that everything will be okay. On the banks of the final river, Mario summons his resolve: “I become a horse. My shoes will ride on me. They are on my shoulder. ‘Don’t worry, shoes, we will cross the finish line,’ I say to them.” This inspiring tale soars with real emotions, even as it celebrates the resiliency of children. Vanden Broeck’s color-drenched illustrations on weathered backgrounds add immediacy and detail. This moving, heartfelt tale of courage and perseverance will be embraced by a wide audience of readers, young and old.
~Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
About the Author: René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, The Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. The picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. René Colato Laínez was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. He is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
René Colato Laínez says, “My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature, stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.”
BronzeWord Tour Schedule
Date Blog Host Blog
Mon, March 08 Mayra Calvani Latino Books Examiner
Wed, March 10 Christina Rodriguez Christina Rodriguez’ Blog
Thurs, March 11 Silvia Mama Latina Tips
Fri, March 12 Monica Olivera Hazelton Latin Baby Book Club
Mon, March 15 Tina Nichols Coury Tina Nichols Coury Blog
Tues, March 16 Michael Sedano La Bloga
Wed, March 17 Caridad Pineiro Caridad Pineiro’s Blog
Thurs, March 18 Sandra Lopez Sandra’s Book Club
Fri, March 19 Sheila DeChantal One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck