Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá
A heartwarming bilingual picture book about a boy’s reunion with his father.
by René Colato Laínez
Illustrations by Anthony Accardo
Publication Date: November 30, 2004
Imprint: Piñata Books
As Beto looks at the eight candles on his birthday cake, he knows that his wish is always the same. Beto wishes that he could be with his father every chance he gets. It has been three years since he and Mamá left El Salvador. Lurking in his mind are the memories of the losses they suffered before leaving: the bombing of a factory, the burning of the family home, the loss of all their possessions, but most of all, he thinks of the father that he has left behind.
In the United States, Mamá has found a job in a sewing factory making jeans, and they are trying to bring Papá to the United States with the help of an immigration lawyer. But this is only the beginning, and for Beto, it seems that his father cannot come fast enough.
One day in school, Beto is given the opportunity to write his father a letter. When he is invited to read his letter on RADIO Voz del Inmigrante, his heartfelt homage to home spurs a surprising chain of events that even the imaginative Beto could not have expected.
In this book, readers discover a young character whose vision and tenacity allow him to accomplish a feat that once seemed nearly impossible. Through the character’s memories of El Salvador and his classroom experiences, the reader also gains insight into the tense political ramifications of war in a country and how that war impacts its survivors. For Beto and the reader, Waiting for Papá is an educational lesson.
“This is one of the most joyful immigration stories recently published.”—MultiCultural Review
“A well-written story.”—Críticas
“An excellent learning tool for the bilingual classroom while the story’s pertinence makes it an excellent addition to any classroom or home library.”—Children’s Literature
“Laínez’s child-centered words make the concept of refugees more approachable and sympathetic, but Beto’s love for his father goes beyond the specificity of the situation, making the story universally endearing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Three cheers for Rene Colato Laínez’s skillfully written Waiting for Papa / Esperando a Papá. The El Salvadoran author’s real-life story mirrors the experiences of immigrant children, and these pages reveal hardships as well as hope, separation and the resilience of love… This book is truly a must for all English as a Second Language classrooms.”—San Antonio Express-News
RENE COLATO LAÍNEZ was born in El Salvador but moved to the United States in 1985. A writer since early childhood, Colato Laínez pursued a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from California State University at Northridge. He has taken writing courses at the Institute of Children’s Literature, Highlights Foundation, and UCLA, and he has studied with acclaimed children’s authors, Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. Currently, he is getting his Master’s Degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College. He has been a bilingual elementary teacher for twelve years. He resides in Arleta, California. Waiting for Papá / Esperando a Papá is his first book for children.
ANTHONY ACCARDO has illustrated more than fifty children’s books, including Chiles for Benito / Chiles para Benito (Piñata Books, 2003) and The Last Doll / La última muñeca (Piñata Books, 2001). His paintings have been exhibited in both the United States and Europe. A New York native, he lives in Brooklyn.
ATOS Interest Level: Lower Grades
Category: Picture Book
ATOS English: 3.5
ATOS Spanish: 3.8
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 84332