Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

*Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta [bilingual]* by Mimi Chapra, illustrated by Martha Aviles

Also by Mimi Chapra:

Sparky's Bark/El ladrido de Sparky


Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta [bilingual]
by Mimi Chapra, illustrated by Martha Aviles
Ages 4-8 32 pages Rayo May 2004 Hardcover    

Amelia is very excited on her first day in her new American school, happy to make friends and learn about her new country. Before the children leave the classroom at the end of the day, the teacher reminds them that the next day will be Show and Tell.

All the way home, Amelia thinks about what will be appropriate for the assignment, finally settling on her fiesta dress with its three fancy skirts: “First rojo whips around her hips like red hot peppers; Amarillo swirls about her knees like a sea of yellow corn; Blanco circles her feet like a flock of white doves.”

The next morning, Amelia cannot wait to get to school, beautiful in her fiesta finery. But when she enters the classroom, no one else is dressed up. The students all look the same as yesterday and here is Amelia, so different from everyone else.

When Amelia looks at the teacher’s desk, she sees a big basket, filled with the things the children have brought for Show and Tell: a clay elephant from India, a handmade truck and a carp-shaped kite. “Que pasa?” she wonders. “I’m the only one in costume!”

Embarrassed, Amelia has nothing to say when she is called to share; but suddenly “her twirling skirts spring to life in a samba, a tango, a rumb,a” and Amelia describes how people love fiestas on her island home, enjoying hours of dancing in the streets. The children clap in approval and Amelia is no longer an outsider, part of the wonderful new world of her classroom.

The brilliant illustrations that accompany the text bring Amelia to life - her dark curly hair, sparkling eyes, her happiness and confusion, her three-layered dress and the dancing skirts that help her remember her proud origins to share with her classmates.

Written in a bilingual format, the story is delightful and especially sensitive to a child’s fear of otherness in a strange situation, resolving the potential conflict in a positive manner by embracing and celebrating differences. Uplifting and positive, this is a lovely story for youngsters exploring their own differences and the value of nonconformity.

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Luan Gaines/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (