Salvador raced home from school to share exciting news with his abuela: he made an A+ on his science test! But at home, he learns that his grandmother needs his help. She is going to the doctor and wants her grandson to interpret for her. Abuela is nervous because she has never been to a doctor in the United States. In El Salvador, she either saw a curandera or drank té de manzanilla when she felt sick.
When he learns that none of the physicians speak Spanish, the boy realizes that he is completely responsible for making sure the doctor understands his grandmother—and that she understands his instructions! But in spite of his help, the visit does not go well. The doctor rushes in and out. He doesn’t listen to Abuela. And he tells Salvador that she should not eat so much Mexican food! Abuela is so upset that she threatens not to take the medication the doctor prescribes! What can Salvador do to help her?
In this engaging bilingual picture book for children ages 4-8, a young Salvadoran boy dreams of becoming a doctor who speaks both English and Spanish so that patients like his beloved grandmother aren’t afraid to visit the doctor. Paired with lively, colorful illustrations by Victoria Castillo, this book will encourage children to think about their own futures as well as the role their culture can play in helping the community.
Click here to listen to an interview with Juan Guerra about his children’s book, The Little Doctor/ El doctorcito.
Named a 2018 Américas Award Commended Title
“Castillo’s background as a comic artist is successfully expressed in the characters’ exaggerated expressions and in her predominantly red and orange color scheme.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Inspired by his own experiences as a young boy helping his El Salvadorian grandmother navigate the US health-care system, Juan J. Guerra’s insightful, bilingual account highlights the need for culturally sensitive medical practitioners, in The Little Doctor: El doctorcito. Notes of despair and hope shine through in the strikingly animated artwork from Victoria Castillo.”—Foreword Reviews
“A great story on an important topic, this Latino family narrative deals with the challenges of diversity within our healthcare system. Wonderful characters and pacing are all perfectly illustrated by Victoria Castillo. The Little Doctor / El doctorcito is a story that speaks with heart.”—John Parra (artist/illustrator)
JUAN J. GUERRA, a doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Illinois School of Medicine. He was four years old when his family emigrated from El Salvador to Los Angeles, California. As a young boy, like many immigrant children, Juan had to translate for his grandparents. His experiences with his Abuelita Conchita and the U.S. health care system led to his passion for providing quality health care to culturally and linguistically diverse people; they are the basis for this book. Outside of the health care setting, Juan enjoys spending time with his wife Tamy and playing basketball and soccer with their sons, Salvador and Sebastian. This is his first picture book.
Translator GABRIELA BAEZA VENTURA is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Houston. She has translated numerous children’s books, including Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia (Arte Público Press, 2014), There’s a Name for this Feeling: Stories / Hay un nombre para lo que siento: Cuentos (2014), Adelita and the Veggie Cousins / Adelita y las primas verduritas (2011) and Remembering Grandma / Recordando a Abuela (2003).
Learn more by visiting her faculty page.
VICTORIA CASTILLO, an illustrator and comic artist, has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of North Texas. Her Colombian mother and Mexican father ensured that she was exposed to different cultures from an early age. She has travelled extensively, and those adventures taught her the importance of diversity. She credits her passion for languages and communication to these experiences. The illustrator of The Little Doctor / El doctorcito (Piñata Books, 2016), Victoria loves vibrant, expressive shapes and colors. She surrounds herself with books, toys, music, cartoons and monsters of various forms and sizes for inspiration in her drawing, sculpting and painting. She lives in Texas with her family and numerous dogs.