Esteban wears his green cape every day. He wears it to breakfast. He wears it to the park. He even wears it to the grocery store. The only problem is that it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t help him fly or become invisible. He decides to sell it.
Just then his mother tells him that they’re going to the park, so Esteban puts his cape back on. At the park, he sees a baby doll on the swings. Suddenly a storm blows in, and Esteban’s mom calls him to run home. If Esteban leaves the doll, it will get wet and dirty. So he wraps the doll in his cape and ties it back on. “Don’t worry, baby! I’ll save you!”
On the way home he jumps over puddles and walks under awnings to keep the baby dry. At home, he wears the doll in his cape as he plays and does his chores. That night—with the baby clean and dry—the boy feels like a superhero. He will not sell the cape after all. “From now on, I am Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer!”
With whimsical illustrations by Alex Pardo DeLange that depict a kind and compassionate boy, this charming bilingual picture book for children ages 4 – 8 will generate dialogue about what it means to be a boy while broadening the definition of masculinity to include tenderness and caring.
Click here to listen to an interview with Larissa Mercado-López about Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! / Esteban de Luna, ¡Rescatador de bebés!.
Named an Honor Book, 2018 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
“Mercado-López’s debut children’s book challenges gender expectations through its compassionate story of a young boy who learns that being a hero is not always about having superpowers. Esteban is simultaneously a gentle being and a caped hero, and his wonderful, accessible story showcases how being a superhero is about far more than fighting.”—Booklist, starred review
“Determined to protect the doll, Esteban uses his cape to care for it and keep it clean, a rejection of both superhero stereotype and gender norms that is unquestioned in his loving Latino family.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Overall, this is a well-crafted picture book that young readers will relate to. A solid choice where tales about superheroes or self-confidence are needed.”—School Library Journal
“The unstated message in this lovely little picture book—for the youngest hablantes as well as those who are bilingual or English-only speakers—might be that the concept of ‘boys will be boys’ (whatever that meant, once upon a time) is finally being changed, and that kindness, caring, love and compassion are not gender-specific. Esteban de Luna, Baby Rescuer! / Esteban de Luna, ¡rescatador de bebés! is highly recommended.”—De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children
LARISSA M. MERCADO-LÓPEZ, a Texas native and mother of four, is a professor of Women’s Studies at California State University, Fresno. This is her first book for children.
ALEX PARDO DELANGE is a Venezuelan-born artist educated in Argentina and the United States. A graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Miami, she has illustrated numerous books for children, including the Pepita series and Sip, Slurp, Soup, Soup / Caldo, caldo, caldo. She lives with her family in Florida.
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.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book