Francisco’s Kites / Las cometas de Francisco


by Alicia Z. Klepeis
Illustrated by Gary Undercuffler
Spanish-language translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura

Publication Date: May 31, 2015
Bind: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Ages: 4-8


Look Inside

Francisco looks out his bedroom window and thinks about his home back in El Salvador. He misses his friends and playing in the village’s park. He wants to fly a kite near his new home in the U.S., but his mother can’t afford one.

“If Mamá can’t buy me a kite, maybe I can make one,” he thinks. Picking up a bag, Francisco leaves the apartment in search of treasures that he can use for his project. He finds purple cellophane, a pile of string and a broken model airplane. In his apartment building’s recycling area, Francisco discovers other useful items that people have thrown away. He can’t wait to spread out all the goodies and start building his very own cometa!

Soon Francisco is testing his creation in Sunnydale Park. He makes it fly up and down, spin in the air, even make loops! The colorful toy catches the attention of a man who runs a recycled goods store. He wants to sell Francisco’s kites in his shop! But can Francisco really find enough material to make them? And will he be able to deliver them in time?

In this charming bilingual picture book for children ages 4 to 8, a young boy uses his ingenuity to build unique kites that will have young readers dreaming of building their own fabulous fliers!

Named to the 2016-17 Tejas Star Reading List

“A resourceful boy in a new town discovers a talent for giving old scraps flight in this immigrant’s story. The line-and-watercolor illustrations capture his moods elegantly… The kites themselves, with their patchwork patterns, are gloriously rendered with depth and variety. Francisco’s transformation from pensive newcomer to entrepreneurial kite master is inspiring and well-detailed in this successful slice of life.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Francisco’s talent for making kites proves to be prodigious; he’s able to sell them to local children, and earn enough money to take his hardworking mother out to eat. Beautiful and heartwarming, Francisco’s Kites is a delight to page through.”—The Midwest Book Review

“Alicia Klepeis deftly and unassumingly weaves together a variety of topics in this dual language book. With themes like homesickness, immigration, recycling, ingenuity, and family, Francisco’s Kites might easily become cluttered or scattered, but it’s not. Instead, it’s a simple story about a boy who creatively channels his past experiences – flying kites in his former home in El Salvador – to establish himself in windy Chicago, spend quality time with his mom, meet new people, and work on saving the earth. Readers will enjoy following the inventive Francisco, learning about kites, and maybe even picking up some information about Salvadoran food (pupusas – yum!). Meanwhile, Gary Undercuffler’s charmingly retro – but still fresh, clean, and colorful – illustrations add to the airy, buoyant tone of the book.”—Latin@s in Kid Lit

“The story is cleverly done to provide entertainment and knowledge at the same time. Your child will learn how to be creative, how to be resourceful, how to be inventive, and get exposure to another language.”—The Latino Author

ALICIA Z. KLEPEIS is a freelance writer who began her career at the National Geographic Society. A former geography teacher, Alicia is the author of Africa (ABDO Publishing, 2013), Understanding Turkey Today (Mitchell Lane Publishers, 2014) and The World’s Strangest Foods (Raintree, 2015). She lives with her family in upstate New York.

GARY UNDERCUFFLER has illustrated a wide variety of children’s books, textbooks and magazines. His children’s books include “Happy Birthday”: The Story of the World’s Most Popular Song (Pelican Publishing, 2010). He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.