Review of Family Poems for Every Day of the Week

Family Poems for Every Day of the Week / Poemas familiares para cada día de la semana
by Francisco X. Alarcón; illus. by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Primary, Intermediate    
Children’s Book Press/Lee & Low    40 pp.
9/17    978-0-89239-275-9    $18.95

Alarcón uses simple verse (printed in both Spanish and English) to explain the origins of the days of the week while celebrating Latino family traditions. His poetry is richly descriptive: “the shut oysters / of my sleepy eyes”; “running after balls / our joyful doggie is like / a swift bowling ball.” The young narrator savors Sunday (“the first day / of the week / is dedicated to the Sun”) as a day spent playing with cousins and Saturday as a day of freedom, whether it’s playing soccer in the park or helping his sister make a kite (“even the blue of the sky / seems a lot bluer / on Saturday”). Mondays at first make him feel like “a wild porcupine in real bad humor” because he has to go back to school, until, after talking and laughing with classmates, he’s happy to be there. The love this young narrator has for his family shines brightly: Tuesdays are reserved as the day to remember his grandmother whispering words of comfort; family dinners at a local restaurant happen on Thursdays; and Friday afternoons are spent with his brothers. Gonzalez’s full-bleed double-page-spread illustrations, in watercolor, gouache, and acrylic marker, richly complement the text. Her art pays tribute to “Mexico’s indigenous crafts,” while her use of circles on each page shows that life is a continuous cycle. An illustrator’s note reveals that Alarcón died in 2016 but adds that his unique way of portraying the Latino experience through poetry will live on. An author’s note introduces the poems, and reference sources are appended.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Alma Ramos McDermott

Alma Ramos-McDermott is currently a teacher-librarian at Lake Trafford Elementary School in Immokalee, FL, and was the Schools Coordinator for the Blue Zones Project Southwest Florida. Alma is a life member of REFORMA, a member of YALSA, and has also served on the Pura Belpré selection committee. She holds an MS in Library Science from Simmons University and an MS in Education from Brooklyn College. You can find her online at

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