I Am René, the Boy / Soy René, el niño
An engaging bilingual picture book about a boy’s ingenious efforts to gain acceptance.
by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Fabiola Graullera Ramírez
Publication Date: April 30, 2005
Imprint: Piñata Books
Young René’s teacher is calling roll one morning, and René is dismayed to hear someone else answer to his name. It’s not only that he thought he was the only person with that name, but also that the new student who answers is a girl. That afternoon his classmates tease, “René has a girl’s name.”
After discussing it with Mamá and Papá, René decides, “My name is so beautiful that a girl copied it from me,” not the other way around. But the next day the new girl sits next to him…is behind him every time they line up…shares her apple with him…and at recess tells him she wants to be his best friend. . . everywhere he turns, there’s René the girl.
One day at the library, René discovers a book called The Meaning of Names. With the book tucked under his arm, René endeavors to win the first writing contest of the school year.
complemented by playful illustrations, this bilingual picture book follows Colato Laínez’s own experiences, when he was faced with a challenge to his own name as a child. This witty story about a young boy’s odyssey to find out the meaning of his name will challenge readers aged 3 to 7 to chart cross-cultural differences by gaining an understanding about themselves and the people around them.
Named to the 2008-2009 Tejas Star Reading List
Special Recognition, 2006 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
2006 International Latino Book Award for Best Children’s Picture Book-Bilingual
2005 Junior Library Guild Selection/strong>
“A marvelous look not simply at names shared by boys and girls, but also the transformation required of Spanish-speaking children as they remake themselves into English speakers. A winner all-around.”—Kirkus Reviews
RENÉ COLATO LAÍNEZ is the author of Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá. Colato Laínez was born in El Salvador but moved to the United States in 1985. René is a teacher at Fernangeles Elementary School in Sun Valley, California. All the children know him as “the teacher full of stories.” René graduated from California State University at Northridge. Currently, he is working on his Master’s Degree in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Learn more at renecolatolainez.com.
FABIOLA GRAULLERA RAMÍREZwas born in Mexico City and she graduated from UNAM’s National School of Fine Arts with a degree in Graphic Communication. Her work has been part of collective exhibits in Mexico and Spain. She has illustrated sixteen picture books and has worked on projects for Richmond, Progreso, Alfaguara, Compuvision, Laredo Publishing, Renaissance House, and for magazines such as Istmo, Selecciones, and Mamá.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grade
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 3.1
ATOS Spanish: 3.4
SPANISH LEXILE: AD520L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 86822