Tía Sofía’s nieces and nephews love to spend the weekend at her house. She lets them camp out on mattresses and in sleeping bags in the living room, where they play games and watch TV in their pajamas. But best of all, they love eating at their aunt’s house, because she’s the best cook in the family.
So the kids are sad to hear that this weekend is going to be sugar free. It turns out that cousin Tito is at risk of developing diabetes like his abuela and Tío Pedro. Tía Sofía tells them that on Saturday “we’re going on a sugar hunt.” The kids are confused, but she explains that they are going to find all of the sugar—especially hidden sugar—in their food.
The next morning, their oatmeal doesn’t have any added sugar, but each bowl has plump raisins and a naturally sweet surprise: strawberries, banana, peaches, peanut butter or cinnamon and vanilla. One taste and they scoop their bowls clean. At lunch, the sugar hunt continues. The kids learn that much of the food they eat without thinking contains sugar, like the catsup, mayonnaise and relish they usually put on their burgers. So, instead, they paint their hamburger buns yellow with mustard, pile on slices of fresh tomatoes from their aunt’s garden, and bite into crunchy dill pickles.
When their parents pick them up at the end of the day, they’re all thrilled to see Tía Sofía holding a plate with a delicious surprise to take home: apple empanadas … cooked without sugar, of course! In this bilingual picture book for children ages 7 – 10, cousins share time with family and learn fun and delicious ways to eat less sugar.
Named to the 2013-2014 Tejas Star Reading List; Included in Bank Street College of Education’s 2013 edition of Best Children’s Books of the Year
“A risk of family diabetes prompts Tía Sofía to teach her nieces and nephews about alternatives to sugar when choosing meals and snacks. Latino family scenes painted in gouache on textured paper are populated by amiable, brown-skinned characters who seem to enjoy the challenge presented to them. Though the focus on sugar is apparent, an underlining theme of balancing nutrition with exercise rounds out the purpose-filled story told with a fluent dual English and Spanish text.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Given that diabetes is a significant problem in the Latino community, this book is recommended even though it exists almost entirely to teach a lesson.”—School Library Journal
“…Hispanic American children find strength in their loving extended families…children will enjoy the warm celebration of cultures.”—Booklist on The Ice Dove and Other Stories
“Younger children in this age group will enjoy these fast-paced tales brimming with positive values.”—MultiCultural Review on The Immortal Rooster and Other Stories
“…Diane de Anda is a talented storyteller whose stories will surely capture a child’s imagination.”—Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work on The Immortal Rooster and Other Stories
“Diane de Anda writes with a lyrical prose style perfectly suited to capturing the attention and engaging the interest of her young readers.”—Children’s Bookwatch on The Immortal Rooster and Other Stories
GABRIELA BAEZA VENTURA is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Houston. She has translated numerous children’s books, including Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia (Arte Público Press, 2014), There’s a Name for this Feeling: Stories / Hay un nombre para lo que siento: Cuentos (2014), Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas (2011) and Remembering Grandma / Recordando a Abuela (2003).
Learn more by visiting her faculty page.
JANET MONTECALVO has created illustrations for greeting cards, magazines and children’s books. Her first picture book, Sofie and the City (Boyds Mills Press, 2006), was nominated for the Golden Kite Award in 2007. She has also worked as a graphic designer, sign painter and scenic artist for feature films, including Mermaids and Stanley and Iris. Janet lives outside Boston with her family.
Learn more at janetmontecalvo.com.
AR Quiz #152600 | ATOS English: 3.8 | ATOS Spanish: 3.5 | ATOS IL: LG