Tito Puente, Mambo King: Tito Puente, Rey Del Mambo (Bilingual English-Spanish)

by Monica Brown (Author) Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)

Tito Puente, Mambo King: Tito Puente, Rey Del Mambo (Bilingual English-Spanish)

In this vibrant bilingual picture book biography of musician Tito Puente, readers will dance along to the beat of this mambo king's life. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. From Spanish Harlem to the Grammy Awards--and all the beats in between--this is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the "King of Mambo."

Award-winning author-illustrator duo Monica Brown and Rafael López bring the remarkable story of this talented legend to life in this Pura Belpré Honor Book. Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Publishers Weekly

As Brown explains, Tito Puente (1923-2000) made music his entire life, from banging "spoons and forks on pots and pans, windowsills and cans," to learning the saxophone while serving in the Navy during WWII, studying at Juilliard, and leading the big band that carried his name. Brown's bilingual text echoes the rhythms of salsa, mambo, and jazz ("The claves smacked clackity clackity clack clack"), yet feels somewhat subdued next to Lopez's sizzling acrylics, which have a weathered, mural-like quality but are anything but flat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6--This is a Spanish translation of a book that previously appeared in English as Love, Amalia. When Amalia's friend Martha moves away, she deals with an acute feeling of loss that is soothed by her grandmother. The book portrays this loving relationship in a very tender way that is made all the more poignant when Amalia's grandmother passes away. At the end of the story Amalia reconnects with Martha via a letter, and works to reforge a connection. The book includes recipes for the dishes that Amalia and her abuela make together.

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Brown and Lopez collaborate in this energetic bilingual tribute to salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire. Lopez's pictures convey salsa's rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette. A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa."—Kirkus Reviews
Monica Brown

Monica Brown is the author of many award-winning bilingual books for children, many of which are inspired by her Peruvian American heritage. Monica is a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, specializing in U.S. Latino Literature and Multicultural Literature. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. You can find her online at monicabrown.net.

Sara Palacios was born in Mexico City. She holds degrees in Graphic Design, Illustration, and Digital Graphic Techniques, and is pursuing her MFA in Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She divides her time between Mexico City and San Francisco, California. Her web site is sarapalacios.com.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2013
Pura Belpre Honor Books - Illustration Honor
Pura Belpre Award
Honor Book 2014 - 2014
Buckaroo Book Award
Nominee 2014 - 2015
Americas Award for Children & Young Adult Literature
Commended 2014 - 2014

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