Let's Go See Papa!

Overview


The little girl in this story likes Sundays best of all — it’s the day her father calls. She hasn’t seen him for over a year because he works far away across the ocean in the United States. She writes in her notebook every day, keeping a record of everything that happens to share with him when she finally sees him again. And she thinks about the fun they used to have when he was home — taking their dog Kika to the park and buying freshly baked bread together. Then one Sunday her father asks if she and her mother...
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Overview


The little girl in this story likes Sundays best of all — it’s the day her father calls. She hasn’t seen him for over a year because he works far away across the ocean in the United States. She writes in her notebook every day, keeping a record of everything that happens to share with him when she finally sees him again. And she thinks about the fun they used to have when he was home — taking their dog Kika to the park and buying freshly baked bread together. Then one Sunday her father asks if she and her mother would like to join him, and she’s surprised by her mixed feelings. It means leaving her grandmother, her friends . . . and Kika behind.

This is a powerful story from a young child’s perspective about what it’s like to have an absent parent and to have to leave your home, country and those you love for a new life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The young narrator hasn’t seen her beloved Papá for “one year, eight months and twenty-two days,” ever since he left Spain to work in the U.S. But now Papá says the girl and her Mamá can join him, which means leaving behind her best friend, her beloved Abuela (“I wish I could go with you to see my son. But I’m too old to change my life,” she says), and, perhaps hardest of all, her beloved dog, Kika. The cheery title aside, this is at times a heart-wrenching story of separation (the girl even tries to pack poor Kika into her suitcase). Schimel, ably translated by Amado, never coddles his heroine or papers over the hard realities she faces; even the ending, which finds the girl on a plane heading for the States, is tinged with emotional ambivalence. Rivera fills the pages with poignant, angular portraits and telling details. For some children (and even adults) it may be too somber, but there will be readers who will admire the heroine’s stoicism and faith in the importance of having her family whole again. Ages 4–7. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

• "…readers…will admire the heroine’s stoicism and faith in the importance of having her family whole again." — Publisher's Weekly

• "The feelings of missing a loved one are realistically conveyed and will resonate with children." — School Library Journal

• "Readers will enjoy deciphering the various visual elements…its themes are relevant to all children." — Kirkus

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
The unnamed child in this book has a universally understood problem. Her Papa is missing from her life. He is working far away in another country. She keeps a journal to update him on her daily activities. Although she misses him, she has adjusted to his absence and lives contentedly with Mama, Abuela, and her dog, Kika. Now, however, it's time for her to go with Mama across the sea to live with Papa. Abuela, too old to make the journey, will remain behind with Kika. This story is the very definition of bittersweet. The child looks forward to the reunion with her father, but can't bear to part from Abuela, her best friend, and all her possessions. She tries to pack everything (including Kika!) in her suitcase, but ultimately must abandon that plan. Finally, she narrows her suitcase contents to necessities only, since Abuela has promised to keep the child's other belongings for when she comes back. She climbs aboard the plane with Mama and starts a new notebook. This one is for Abuela, to tell about her new life in America. The book beautifully sums up the emotion of losing the familiar and trading it for the excitement of new experiences. A lovely picture of the child cuddled on her grandmother's lap captures the tug of loss surrendering to love and comfort, perfectly. The pictures depicting all of the child's possessions scattered helter skelter across the pages portray her conflicted feelings. Although this book is written by a Spanish author and, presumably, the child is Spanish, the message translates clearly to every child who is facing upheaval and trading comfort for new experiences. A lovely and moving (in every sense) book. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—A young girl waits by the telephone every Sunday for a call from Papá;. He left "one year, eight months and twenty two days" ago to find work in the United States. He is always in her thoughts and she writes to him in a notebook every day. When Papá; asks her and Mamá; to join him, she is thrilled to be reunited, but also sad to leave her abuela and friends. Rivera's pencil, crayon, and watercolor illustrations capture the daily details of a loving extended family. Photographs, postcards, and drawings are pinned to the girl's bedroom walls and a calendar shows the days crossed off and big red circles around Sundays. The feelings of missing a loved one are realistically conveyed and will resonate with children.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl realizes that moving to the United States to live with her father means leaving familiarity behind. "I haven't seen my papá for one year, eight months and twenty-two days." Her father moved away to earn money to send back to his family. Since Sundays are the cheapest day for long-distance phone calls, that day is special to the girl, her mamá and her abuela. The three live together in an unnamed, presumably Latin American country. She keeps a notebook of all the things Papá is missing and reminisces about the times they spent walking their dog Kika. One Sunday, Papá tells his daughter that she and Mamá will finally be able to come live with him in the United States. While she is happy at the prospect of living with her father again, she is also has trepidations about leaving Abuela, Kika and her best friend Rocío behind. Schimel takes readers into the mind of the unnamed girl through his skillful use of the first-person narration, while Rivera's mixed-media illustrations combine traditional materials with photocopies and transfers to give some pages a scrapbooklike appeal. Readers will enjoy deciphering the various visual elements. While this is clearly a much-needed story that effectively captures the experience faced by many immigrant families, its themes are relevant to all children. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554981069
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Lawrence Schimel was born in New York in 1971. He graduated from Yale and now lives in Madrid, Spain. He’s a poet, novelist, translator and essay writer. He has written over one hundred books on very different subjects for children and adults, which have been translated into many languages. He has received the Lambda Literary Award and the Rhysling Award. His book ¿Lees un libro conmigo? was selected as one of IBBY’s Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities and No hay nada como el original was a White Ravens selection.

Alba Marina Rivera was born in Russia in 1974, and she grew up in Cuba. When she moved to Barcelona she discovered her love for illustration, which she studied at the Escola Massana. She received the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Award in the New Horizons category for her book El contador de cuentos. It was also recognized as "Los mejores libros para ninos y jovenes" (the best books for children and youth) by Venezuela’s Banco del Libro and was a finalist at the Picture Book Festival in Korea.

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