Today I want to introduce you to the work of Angela Dominguez. Born in Mexico City, Angela grew up in Texas. Named several times as a Pura Belpré Honor for illustration, she now lives on the East Coast. Her friendly and open artwork invites the reader into a world where they can truly see themselves and others.
Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita is a wonderful bilingual retelling of the nursery rhyme we all know. Mary is now named Maria, and instead of a lamb, she has a little llama. And as in the nursery rhyme, the llama is Maria´s constant companion. Instead of the English countryside, the setting for this book are the Andean highlands (where else would a llama live?) of Peru. There are wonderful touches of indigenous Andean culture throughout the book, including clothing and instruments. It deservedly was a Purá Belpre Medal Honor Book for Illustration in 2014.
Santiago Stays continues the theme of children and faithful animal companions. Santiago is a stubborn little French bulldog who stays put. He does not want to play, go for walk, or even eat a yummy treat. It turns out that Santiago is guarding the family´s newest arrival sleeping in her crib. The very simple text makes this a great read-aloud for young children, and Angela gives readers one of the cutest little dogs ever, with deep and soulful brown eyes. This book is perfect for both dog loving families and for older children who now have a new sibling at home.
If someone in your family loves to knit, Knit Together is the perfect book. A little girl loves to draw, but longs to learn how to knit like her mother. Knitting is a bit hard for little fingers though. But her mother has the solution. They will make something together. Like the mother and daughter in the book, Angela and her mother did many projects together growing up. As alluded to by the book’s title, spending time together is what draws-knits-a family together.
It is important that the books we read to our children present the full diversity of their world. It is important that children see themselves and people like them in the books they read. This is why I've given my niece and nephews multiple copies of Angela Dominguez´s books, including Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita, Santiago Stays, and How Do You Say?/¿Comó se dice?. They love making these books, and others I've given them, part of their bedtime routine.