Reviews of the 2024 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winners


Mexikid: A Graphic MemoirMexikid: A Graphic Memoir
by Pedro Martín; illus. by the author
Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    320 pp.
8/23    9780593462287    $24.99
Paper ed.  9780593462294    $14.99
e-book ed.  9780593462300    $9.99

Martín’s humorous and heartfelt memoir recounts a momentous 1977 road trip with his “big Mexican American family.” Apá and Amá gather the nine Martín children to drive to Jalisco to pick up Apa’s father. The younger four “Somewhat Mexican” boys, including the author, travel in the family motor home, while the older “Somewhat American” siblings follow in a pickup truck. Martín captures each family member’s quirks — Amá’s habit of offering half bananas, or Apá’s whistling call — to bring their distinct personalities to life. Panels smoothly transition to splash pages with added visual guides and gags to create a dynamic flow. A full-color palette gives way to soft watercolor hues as the narrative evokes the past or, as Pedro learns more about his abuelo, integrates Ben-Day dots to lend a vintage comic vibe to Abuelito’s imagined adventures. Bits of Mexican Revolutionary history are integrated, reminiscent of the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, and myriad pop culture references, from Star Wars to superhero action figures, reflect contemporary nerdom. Spanish is integrated throughout, with translations and comical addenda provided at the bottom of the page. Deep familial bonds, a lovingly chaotic household, and a heartfelt exploration of culture and identity underpin this very memorable debut. JESSICA AGUDELO

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Honor Books

by Xelena González; illus. by Adriana M. Garcia
Primary    Simon    40 pp.
8/23    9781534499638    $18.99




Mi papá es un agrícola/My Father, the Farmworker
by J. Roman Pérez Varela; illus. by José B. Ramírez
Primary    Lil' Libros    32 pp.
8/23    9781948066754    $18.99






Papá’s Magical Water-Jug ClockPapá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock
by Jesús Trejo; illus. by Eliza Kinkz
Primary    Minerva/Astra    24 pp.
6/23    9781662651045    $18.99
e-book ed.  9781662651052    $11.99

Young Jesús eagerly awaits Saturdays, when he helps his father with their family’s lawn service business. Papá gives him the responsibility of taking care of the water jug, claiming that it is a magical clock and when the water runs out, it’s time to go home. Hilarity ensues when Jesús doles out cups of water to three “super-old” thirsty cats, a dog in a sweater, and some peacocks, and uses lots of water to splash his face. The jug may now be empty, but Jesús and Papá can’t yet go home: it’s only ten thirty in the morning, and they still have eleven more houses to visit. Papá confesses that the water jug is not a magical clock after all; he had tried to make the day go more quickly by making the jug into a game. But as Jesús tells Papá, they can have fun in other ways. The protagonist’s exuberance shines through in his observations of the world. Kinkz’s art — in “pencil, ink, watercolor, gouache, crayons, and a few drops of queso” — brings this story to life. The colors are bright; the line drawings are childlike and full of zany energy. The garden-themed luchador endpapers will garner lots of laughs. This book mixes humor with the touching bond between a son and his papá, and a gentle message about the preciousness of water as a resource. YESICA HURD

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Read reviews of the 2024 Pura Belpré Author Awards here and of the 2024 Pura Belpré YA Awards here. For more, click on the tag ALA LibLearnX 2024.

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