Estrellita en la ciudad grande / Estrellita in the Big City
This bilingual picture book captures a young immigrant girl’s excitement upon discovering the sights and sounds of New York City.
by Samuel Caraballo
Illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla
Publication Date: October 31, 2008
Imprint: Piñata Books
“Hola, Abuelita. It’s me, Estrellita!” And so begins the phone conversation that Estrellita and her beloved grandmother have longed for since Estrellita moved from her beautiful island home of Puerto Rico to New York City.
Estrellita regales her grandmother with stories of the exciting sights and sounds of the big city: her first ride on a subway train into Manhattan and the fascinating underground city where you can buy anything—“even clothes and shoes”— and listen to musicians perform at all hours; the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue, where people, yellow cabs, and buses rush up and down; the Empire State Building that “was SO tall that I thought it was going to fall on me!”; Rockefeller Center with its glass-covered buildings that reach into the sky; and the Verrazano Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspended bridges that looked “as if it had no end.”
As exciting as the tourist attractions are to Estrellita and her father, El Barrio, a neighborhood where everybody speaks Spanish, is just as thrilling. There’s a restaurant called Rincón, just like the town in Puerto Rico, and a music store called La Casita Latina. Estrellita and her family sing Abuela’s favorite song, “En mi viejo San Juan,” and Estrellita is reminded once again of how much she misses her grandmother. But she is comforted by her phone conversation with Abuela and knows she’ll talk to Abuela again soon. And maybe some day Abuela will come to visit Estrellita in the big city!
In this lively sequel to Estrellita se despide de su isla / Estrellita Says Good-bye to Her Island, author Samuel Caraballo and illustrator Pablo Torrecilla team up again to depict the loving relationship between a young girl and her grandmother. Torrecilla’s exquisite illustrations of Abuela on the phone in tranquil Puerto Rico contrast superbly with those of Estrellita set against the backdrop of a vibrant and busy New York City. Readers of all ages will relate to a young girl’s love for her grandmother, while children ages 4 to 9 who have been separated from family will empathize with—and be reassured by—Estrellita’s experiences in a new city.
“. . .the spirit comes through, making this ode to an island home a selection with wide appeal.”—School Library Journal
“. . .will strike a response in readers, whether recent immigrants or not.” — Booklist
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.
Learn more at samuelmcaraballo.com.
PABLO TORRECILLA, a native of Madrid, Spain, has illustrated numerous books for children, including The Bakery Lady / La señora de la panadería (Arte Público Press, 2001) by Pat Mora and Estrellita se despide de su isla / Estrellita Says Good-bye to Her Island (Piñata Books, 2002).
Learn more at pablotorrecilla.com.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 3
ATOS Spanish: 4.2
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 123864