A Gift from Papa Diego/Un regalo de Papa Diego

A Gift from Papa Diego/Un regalo de Papa Diego

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Benjamin Alire Senz, Benjamin Alire SC!Enz, Geronimo Garcia

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"A border is nothing for people who love."

Editorial Reviews

Janis Ansell
This bilingual early reader is the first children's book by Saenz, an anuthor of novels, poems and short fiction for middle readers. Each page contains blocks of the Spanish and English text. This story is long enough to satisfy a young reader ready to move beyond the simplest beginning readers. The story will be an enjoyable read-aloud in either language as well as a title to offer to the newly independent reader who is not quite ready for a chapter book.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"A border is nothing for people who love," Pap Diego tells his young grandson, also named Diego, in this engaging, bilingual picture-book debut by American Book Award winner Senz. Diego's birthday is coming, and he longs to see his Pap Diego, who lives far away in Chihuahua, Mexico. He knows his grandfather is old and that it's hard to cross the border. Diego fantasizes about flying there in his new Superman suit, until he walks into the kitchen and finds his beloved grandpa waiting for him. The artwork isn't quite on par with this fine text. Children's book newcomer Garcia employs terra-cotta clay painted with acrylics to create the homey illustrations and page borders. While the clay medium gives the artwork a three-dimensional quality, it does not allow for much subtlety in facial expressions, and there are some minor inconsistencies in the way the characters are portrayed from spread to spread. Despite this, readersbilingual or notwill likely enjoy this emotionally satisfying family story. A glossary is included. Ages 5-10. (Apr.)
K-Gr 2-This charming bilingual tale of a boy's love for his grandfather combines the superhero stuff that boys love with the pain and pathos of a long-distance relationship. Diego lives with his family in El Paso, but his grandfather, with whom he shares a first name and a birthday, lives far away in Mexico. The story is told with true understanding of the hopes and fantasies of boys and yet it is grounded in the reality of today's transnational families. A must for any library serving a Mexican American clientele. Rebecca Thatcher Murcia, Akron, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Little Diego loves his grandfather and thinks of him constantly. But his grandfather lives in Chihuahua, Mexico and Little Diego lives in El Paso. He can't talk to him when he wishes and he can't understand why his grandfather doesn't live with the family. When Little Diego's father gives him his collection of Superman comics, Little Diego starts to dream of being able to fly and he knows that what he really needs is a Superman suit. He gets one for his birthday but, of course, he can't fly to Mexico so he rushes to his room in tears. The story has a happy ending with a birthday surprise that Little Diego will always remember. The story is told in English and Spanish accompanied by unusual illustrations-photographs of clay figures and scenes painted with acrylics. It is a warm family story.
Horn Book Magazine
The bilingual text presents the story of Little Diego, who lives with his family in El Paso, Texas. The boy misses his grandfather terribly, and his father does his best to explain that Pap Diego is getting old and lives far away across the border in Chihuahua. One day Diego's father gives him a pile of his old favorite Superman comics, and Little Diego reads them again and again, dreaming of a Superman suit that would enable him to fly to Mexico to visit Pap Diego. When his birthday arrives, Little Diego gets the longed-for present, but he is so disappointed that the suit can't make him fly that he throws it into the garbage can. When he grudgingly joins the family for his birthday cake, he finds his real birthday surprise: Pap Diego sitting at the table. "Mijito," he says, "tonight Chihuahua is not so far, and I do not feel so old, and it was very easy to cross the border. A border is nothing for people who love." Garcia's expressive clay illustrations painted with acrylics bring life to the characters in this Mexican-American family, and iconic designs on the text pages playfully reflect elements of the touching story.
Kirkus Reviews
A nicely done bilingual tale about a little boy who misses his grandfather. Little Diego lives in Texas, but Pap  Diego remains across the border in Mexico. When his father gives him some old Superman comics to look at, Dieguito gets an idea: If he had a Superman suit he could fly across the border to see Pap  Diego every day. He asks for one for his birthday, but the suit doesn't perform as expected. Bitterly disappointed, Dieguito thinks he's having an awful birthday until a surprise visit from Pap  Diego gives him exactly what he's been wishing for. Parallel columns of text tell the story in English and in Spanish, accompanied by innovative illustrations, originally modeled with clay, then painted with acrylics and photographed. Reminiscent of Mexican folk art, they fit the story especially well, conveying its warmth and poignancy; geometric clay borders and small figurines on text pages complete the package. (Picture book. 6-12)

Product Details

Cinco Puntos Press
Publication date:
A Little Diego Book Series
Edition description:
Bilingual English-Spanish
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

Gary Soto
A stylist in both poetry and prose, Sáenz has now taken his magic of flight to younger readers. This is his gift to them. Parents, snuggle up to your children at night and read this delightful tale of Dieguito.
Naomi Shihab Nye
A Gift from Papá Diego / Un regalo de Papá Diego is a tender love story of a book, perfect for all relatives who must live at any distance from one another. It's a kiss on the forehead at bedtime!

Meet the Author

BENJAMIN ALIRE SÁENZ was born in his grandmother's house in Picacho, New Mexico--on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico where Juliana in Hollywood is set. He was the fourth of seven children and was brought up in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. His family spoke mostly Spanish at home, and it was only through his education in the public schools that he learned to speak and write in English. He entered the seminary in 1972, a decision that was as much political as it was religious: he was heavily influenced by such Catholic thinkers as Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, César Chavez and the Berrigan brothers. After concluding his theological studies at the University of Louvain, he was ordained a Catholic priest. Three and a half years later, he left the priesthood. At the age of 30, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. He later received a fellowship at the University of Iowa, and in 1988, he received a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship in poetry from Stanford University. In 1993 he returned to the border to teach in the Bilingual MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso. His most recent book of poetry, Elegies in Blue, was published by Cinco Puntos Press in 2002. This is his first book for young adults.

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