I Am Rene, the Boy (Yo Soy Rene, El Nino)

Overview

Young René's teacher is calling role one morning, and René is dismayed to hear someone else answer to his name. It's not only that he thought he was the only person with that name, but also that the new student who answers is a girl. That afternoon his classmates tease, "René has a girl's name."

After discussing it with Mamá and Papá, René decides, "My name is so beautiful that a girl copied it from me," not the other way around. But the next day the new girl sits next to ...

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Overview

Young René's teacher is calling role one morning, and René is dismayed to hear someone else answer to his name. It's not only that he thought he was the only person with that name, but also that the new student who answers is a girl. That afternoon his classmates tease, "René has a girl's name."

After discussing it with Mamá and Papá, René decides, "My name is so beautiful that a girl copied it from me," not the other way around. But the next day the new girl sits next to him--is behind him every time they line up . . . shares her apple with him--and at recess tells him she wants to be his best friend . . . everywhere he turns, there's René the girl.

One day at the library, René discovers a book called The Meaning of Names. With the book tucked under his arm, René endeavors to win the first writing contest of the school year.

Complimented by playful illustrations, this bilingual picture book follows Colato Laínez's own experiences, when he was faced with a challenge to his own name as a child. This witty story about a young boy's odyssey to find out the meaning of his name will challenge readers aged 3 to 7 to chart cross-cultural differences by gaining an understanding about themselves and the people around them.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
On the surface, Lainez tells the story of a young Salvadoran boy who is in love with his name until he goes to school in the U.S. and discovers that one of his classmates shares his name. This occurrence would not be so problematic were it not for the fact that the other Renee is a girl. Rene is very distraught and teased until he researches the origin and meaning of his name and discovers its inherent strength and heritage. This discovery leads to Rene's self-reflection on his name and how it affirms his heritage and who he is as a Salvadoran American. Much of this discovery comes to light in the form of an essay that Rene writes for a contest and reads aloud before the school. Though the essay conveys an important message, it does become a bit tedious to read and may tire young readers. However, the book does provide plenty of fodder for discussion of the changing identity of Latinos in the USA. Ramerez's illustrations are goofy and colorful fun and complement Rene's strong emotions well. 2005, Pinata Books/Arte Pœblico Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Veronica Betancourt
Kirkus Reviews
Humorous illustrations, marked by oversized heads, mildly Cubist perspectives and rich pastels, combine with a wry narrative tone to fashion a marvelous look not simply at names shared by boys and girls, but also the transformation required of Spanish-speaking children as they remake themselves into English speakers. Rene the boy, a native El Salvadoran, is taken aback and then relieved to learn the name of the new girl in his class: taken aback that it's pronounced the same as his, relieved that it's spelled Renee. His discomfort leads him to research his name and write about it for a school essay contest, which he wins. The text moves swiftly forward in both English and Spanish, and Rene's essay provides a convincing and pertinent way for the author to point out the strong benefits of being bilingual and bi-national. A winner all-around. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558853782
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Edition description: English/Spanish Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 377,595
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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