Estas manos: Manitas de mi familia / These Hands: My Family’s Hands


by Samuel Caraballo
Illustrated by Shawn Costello

ISBN: 978-1-55885-795-7
Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Bind: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Ages: 5-9

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In this heart-warming ode to family, the young narrator compares the hands of family members to plants in the natural world. “Your hands, the most tender hands! / When I’m scared, / They soothe me,” she says to her mother. The girl compares her mother’s hands to rose petals, which represent tenderness in Latin America.

Her father’s hands are strong like the mahogany tree; her siblings’ friendly like the blooming oak tree. Grandma Inés’ are the happiest hands, like tulips that tickle and hug tightly. And Grandpa Juan’s are the wisest, like the ceiba tree, considered by many indigenous peoples of Latin America to be the tree of life and wisdom and the center of the universe. His are the hands that teach his granddaughter how to plant and care for the earth and how to play the conga drum.

She promises to give back all the love they have always given her, “Dad, when your feet get tired, / My hands will not let you fall.” Samuel Caraballo’s poetic text is combined with Shawn Costello’s striking illustrations depicting loving relationships between family members. An author’s note about Latin American symbols will introduce children both to the natural world and the idea that one thing can represent another.

Named to the 2015-2016 Tejas Star Reading List

“A girl introduces readers to her family, describing their characteristics through their hands. Her mother’s tender hands soothe her and give her warmth; they are like rose petals. Her father’s hands are as strong as mahogany trees; her grandfather’s hands are like majestic ceiba trees. Her family brings her peace, joy, love, wisdom, knowledge, courage, and determination, and in turn she promises that she will always do the same for them. Impressionist-like brushstrokes illuminate the pages and help to convey happiness, movement, and calm.”—School Library Journal

“From grandparents to siblings, the nurturing hands in the young protagonist’s life are praised for their contributions to her well-being. The illustrations capture the joyful intimacy of family relationships, from benevolent smiles to cherishing embraces.”—Kirkus Reviews

“…a simple but powerful story that uses Latino and Caribbean nature symbols to pay tribute to the strength of family relationships….shares a beautiful message and is appropriate for all ages…”—The Children’s Bookshelf

“Children will feel comforted knowing that the beautiful love of their family is always there for them…This book is a wonderful addition to any library, encouraging young children to learn to appreciate the beauty of both Spanish and English.”—Good Reads with Ronna

“Sweet and loving without being heavy-handed or cheesy…Shawn Costello’s soft, swirling pastel illustrations that precisely capture the warm, colorful relationships presented in the text…accessible to both young Spanish and English speakers, and teachers can draw on Caraballo’s simple yet rich language to help their students learn about poetry and effective literary devices.”—Critical Children’s Lit

“Sweeping color illustrations reflect the enduring beauty of family togetherness, in this wonderful read-aloud picture book. Highly recommended.”—The Midwest Book Review

“This simple yet touching story provides the opportunity for parents to discuss the importance of loving and caring relationships between family members and friends. The drawings are impressionistic, like watercolor paintings that reflect a tropical landscape, and will appeal to both children and adults.”—Catholic Library World

SAMUEL CARABALLO was born in Vieques, a gorgeous, tiny island off the East Coast of Puerto Rico. He spent many of his childhood days playing in the countryside hills and picking mango and guavas, his favorite tropical fruits. He has served as an interpreter for the courts in cases involving Hispanics and has also dedicated many years to teaching Spanish in several public schools in the United States. He is the author of four bilingual picture books for children, Estrellita se despide de su isla / Estrellita Says Good-bye to Her Island (Piñata Books, 2002), Mis abuelos y yo / My Grandparents and I (Piñata Books, 2004), My Big Sister / Mi hermana mayor (Piñata Books, 2012), and Estas Manos: Manitas de mi familia / These Hands: My Family’s Hands (Piñata Books, 2014). He lives in Virginia with his family.

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SHAWN COSTELLO graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art with a BFA and received her Master’s Degree in Art Education from Towson University near Baltimore. She teaches art in Howard County, Maryland. Her work has appeared in Cricket and Spider magazines, and her illustrated books include Estas Manos: Manitas de mi familia / These Hands: My Family’s Hands (Piñata Books, 2014), Private Joel and the Sewell Mountain Seder (Kar-Ben Pub, 2008), A Bus of Our Own (Albert Whitman & Company, 2001), and Mommy Far, Mommy Near (Albert Whitman & Company, 2000). She lives and paints in Maryland and Downeast Maine..

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Accelerated Reader Quiz #174190
ATOS English: 3.2
ATOS Spanish: 3.1
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades