Sunflowers / Girasoles
by Gwendolyn Zepeda
Illustrations by Alisha Gambino
Spanish translation by Gabriela Baeza Ventura
Publication Date: May 31, 2009
Imprint: Piñata Books
Trim: 8 ½ X 11
Acquaints children with the steps involved in growing food and gardening.Look Inside
“My name is Marisol. I’m seven years old. This spring, I helped my grandfather make a garden.”
First, Marisol and her grandfather had to prepare the ground. They pulled out the old plants and weeds. They mixed up all the dirt “to make it soft.”
Then it was time to plant the seeds. They planted seeds to grow the vegetables Mamá uses in soup—squash, onions, carrots, and cabbage. They planted seeds to grow the things she needs to make salsa—garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and chili peppers. They planted mint for Abuela’s tea. They planted watermelon seeds for Marisol and her brother. And for Grandad, they planted sunflower seeds because their “big black eyes with long yellow eyelashes” make him happy. And he likes to eat the seeds!
One day, Marisol’s grandfather gives her a small bag of sunflower seeds, but instead of eating them she plants them here and there—one in the corner of Mrs. Sosa’s yard, another in Mr. Binh’s yard. In fact, as she walks to school, she plants seeds in the corners of all the yards she passes. And she plants the last three seeds in the playground at school.
As the days pass, sometimes it’s rainy and sometimes it’s sunny. Finally, one bright day, Marisol’s sunflower surprise shines a bit of happiness all around.
The tender relationship between grandparent and grandchild is illuminated in this children’s book by author Gwendolyn Zepeda with warm illustrations by Alisha Gambino. Children ages 3-7 will sow and reap ideas of their own about ways to share a little joy, just as Marisol does with sunflowers.
Winner, 2010 Texas Institute of Letters’ Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award for Children’s Book
“A pleasing and and effective multicultural offering.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The warmth and richness of the palette highlights expressions of loving friends and family in this child’s world and her impatience until the young plants finally appear.”—School Library Journal
GWENDOLYN ZEPEDA is the author of three bilingual picture books for children: I Kick the Ball / Pateo el balón (Piñata Books, 2011); Growing Up with Tamales / Los tamales de Ana (Piñata Books, 2008), a 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title; and Sunflowers / Girasoles (Piñata Books, 2009), winner of the Texas Institute of Letters’ Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Award for Best Children’s Book. She lives and works in Houston, Texas.
Learn more at gwendolynzepeda.com.
ALISHA GAMBINO teaches for Continuing Education at the Kansas City Art Institute and is the Art Education Curator for the Mattie Rhodes Art Center. She has organized and completed murals in the U.S. and Mexico, and has exhibited her work at galleries around the country. She lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri.
Accelerated Reader Quiz #131066
ATOS English: 2.7
ATOS Spanish: 3.1
ATOS Interest Level: Lower grades