Hoy no juegas by Pilar Serrano, illustrated by Canizales. NubeOcho, 2019. 9788417123451
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3.5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Bullying is the topic of this intense picture book. A new girl, Emma, pits friend against friend by tithing lunches, starting false rumors and in general waging a reign of terror. Ana and her friends are helpless and terrified. Ana, especially, shows signs of trauma – she starts to vomit in the mornings before school. Eventually, one child starts to push back and by the end of the book, Emma is all alone, and must ask to be able to play with the others. I like the stylized and colorful depictions of lower elementary school life and the racially diverse kids.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Where was the teacher in all of this vicious bullying? It took many pages of awful bullying behavior before kids realized that they didn’t have to take it. I think the author could have devoted fewer pages to the unrelenting bullying, and more to the other kids’ responses.
To whom would you recommend this book? Could be useful for Spanish speaking folks seeking books on bullying, for ages 5-9.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Spanish language picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: August 11, 2019