The Little House of Hope by Terry Catasús Jennings, illustrated by Raúl Colón

Published by Neal Porter Books

Summary:  Esperanza, Manolo, Mami, and Papi look hard to find a new home when they arrive in the U.S. from Cuba.  The house they find is small and needs some work, but everyone pitches in to fix it up.  It’s not easy to find the time because all four members of the family are working hard to earn money and learn English.  Eventually things get easier, and they’re able to share their home with two other families who have recently immigrated from Cuba and Mexico.  Over the years, more families come and go, and Esperanza always creates special artwork for them to take for their new homes.  48 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A positive look at the experience of immigrating to the United States, showing families who are able to get ahead through hard work and sharing.  Raúl Colón’s beautifully colored illustrations add just the right touch.  Thanks to Terry Catasús Jennings, who sent me a signed copy of this book (which unfortunately got a bit mangled by the U.S. postal service).

Cons:  Immigrant kids today may find their experiences are not as rosy as the ones pictured here. The back flap mentions that this story is based on the author’s experiences moving to the U.S. in 1961.  I wish she had included a note with more information about that and how times have changed since then.

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