Lupita’s First Dance / El primer baile de Lupita
A bilingual picture book about learning to dance from the heart—even in the spotlight!
by Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Illustrated by Gabhor Utomo
Publication Date: November 30, 2013
Imprint: Piñata Books
Lupita is excited about dancing la raspa, a Mexican folk dance, with her first-grade class at a celebration of Children’s Day. But she’s devastated when she learns right before the show that her partner Ernesto sprained his right ankle.
She had been practicing for weeks. And now her family won’t get to see her, swishing and swaying in her beautiful dress full of colorful ribbons. Lupita sadly watches the other dancers from backstage behind the blue velvet curtain. But suddenly, she finds herself on stage, in the spot where she and Ernesto should have been. She begins to dance the routine she knows so well, holding her arms out to an imaginary partner, and almost flees when the audience laughs at her.
But the sight of her mother encourages her to be brave. She continues the dance, becoming the star of the show at least in the eyes of her proud teacher and parents.
Named to the 2014-2015 Tejas Star Reading List
Finalist, 2013-2014 Writer’s League of Texas Book Awards – Picture Book
“The positive portrayal of a young girl brave enough to take a risk is noteworthy. The realistic illustrations successfully depict the movement of the dancers and the expressions of emotion, helping to elevate the book overall. This straightforward presentation of Mexican-American culture and dance as celebrated by children has understated appeal.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Charming illustrations bring to life the dancing Lupita and her story.”—Today’s Catholic
“Here is an endearing pick-me-up, dust-me-off, and keep-on-trucking story. Lupita’s ability to overcome heartbreak, self-doubt and fear serves as a good lesson for children and a reminder to us all that sometimes in life, we must have the courage to dance alone.”—Mamiverse
“Lupita’s First Dance is a lively, vivid bilingual illustrated book about a girl’s first dance performance…It is stunningly presented with narrative illustrations that whirl and dance off the pages.”—Midwest Book Review
“A charming and beautifully illustrated story, Lupita’s First Dance is a good choice for both school and public libraries. [It] will appeal to all little girls who love to dance and perform for their families. Lupita’s determination to make her parents proud, in spite of feeling foolish, will inspire all children to carry on in the face of unforeseen obstacles.”—Catholic Library World
LUPE RUIZ-FLORES is the author of six bilingual picture books: Lupita’s First Dance / El primer baile de Lupita (2013), Let’s Salsa / Bailemos salsa (2013), Alicia’s Fruity Drinks / Las aguas frescas de Alicia (2012), The Battle of the Snow Cones / La Guerra de las raspas (2010), The Woodcutter’s Gift / El regalo del leñador (2007) and Lupita’s Papalote / El papalote de Lupita (2002). She has also written children’s narrative passages for Harcourt Educational Measurement Center. Some of her poetry has been published in Voices Along the River, the San Antonio Express-News, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She received a Master of Arts in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1994. She was an engineering technician with the Department of Defense until her retirement in 1999. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is currently working on a middle grade novel. She resides in San Antonio, Texas.
Learn more at luperuiz-flores.com.
GABHOR UTOMO was born in Indonesia, and received his degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2003. He has illustrated a number of children’s books, including Kai’s Journey to Gold Mountain (East West Discovery Press, 2004), a story about a young Chinese immigrant held on Angel Island. Gabhor’s works has won numerous awards from local and national art organizations. His painting of Senator Milton Marks is part of a permanent collection at the California State Building in downtown San Francisco. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.
Learn more by visiting his Facebook page.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Books
ATOS English: 3.6
ATOS Spanish: 3.5
LEXILE SPANISH: 400L
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 163968