Tito, the Firefighter

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist 
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award Master Reading List
Read On Wisconsin! Recommended Reading List
Scholastic Book Fairs book

“This attention-catching book validates the importance of being bilingual, thus promoting increased self-esteem for Spanish-speaking children. Sprinkling Spanish words into the text aids language learning because readers can’t ignore them. Children ages four to eight will enjoy the big red fire truck, and will identify with Tito’s excitement about riding in it. Due to the boy’s special skill, he achieves his dream of riding in the fire truck and helping the firefighters. The book’s most vital lesson is that being bilingual is a great asset.”

Foreword Reviews

Pedro, the Pirate

“This picture book includes valuable lessons and is enjoyable to read. Themes of action, adventure, value, and virtue follow Pedro through his decision-making about becoming a pirate. The powerful lessons about right and wrong taught by the story are do not steal, people can change their mind and do the right thing, and that things that have gone wrong can be made right again.

Even though Pedro’s serious dilemma about right and wrong lends a serious tone to the story, there is humor in the interactions of the bilingual parrot and Captain Crossbones, who only speaks English and doesn’t understand what the parrot is saying. Crossbones says repeatedly “Quiet, parrot!” and the parrot always replies “Silencio, loro!” repeating what the captain just said, only in Spanish. Crossbones can’t understand what the parrot is saying, but the reader can, and this is very funny and enjoyable.

This book is highly recommended.”

San Diego State University Literature Reviews

Baseball on Mars

2010-2011 Tejas Star Reading List

“Roberto’s imaginary space trip to Mars requires the somewhat reluctantly granted use of his father’s favorite chair for TV baseball viewing. When co-pilot father and son take off for worlds unknown, the wondrous experience of flying asteroids, weightlessness and a TV-less Red Planet encourages a game of catch between parent and child, bringing the reality of a loving relationship back to Earth…Reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keat’s Regards to the Man in the Moon, this Spanish bilingual story is complete with a makeshift spaceship from odds and ends, an eager astronaut with a fanciful adventurous spirit and Rodriguez’s deeply colored, realistic paintings that juxtapose the actual backyard play with the whimsy of a planetary voyage. The subtle message of the importance of a parent’s role in a child’s creative play blends seamlessly with the simpler theme of a son’s love for his father in a traditionally American setting.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Readers learn how a simple game of catch between father and son can become an event of cosmic proportions. Here, it is the father who comes of age, learning the value and enjoyment of time spent with his son.”

School Library Journal

The Good Fire Helmet

Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Recipient

Ten-year-old Tommy and six-year-old Christian treasure the firefighter’s helmet that once belonged to their dad. The chaplain had told the boys, “If you just touch your fingers to this fire helmet, its courage can be given to you. A good fire helmet has been known to do that.”

Christian believes the helmet makes him brave when he gets a shot at the doctor’s office and wards off scary shadows at night, but his big brother isn’t so sure.

Tommy’s real test of courage comes the day Christian falls into the creek and is swept downstream, along with the helmet. Tommy draws on memories of his dad—and the courage he finds inside himself—to rescue his brother.

“…a touching story about what it means to be brave…McElrath-Eslick adds to the story with her paintings of warm tones and lush brush strokes that capture the boys’ emotions, taking young readers on a journey of loss and growing up.”

The Grand Rapids Press

Jungle Scout: A Vietnam War Story

In late 1969, 16-year-old Lam Hung guides an American platoon through the jungles of South Vietnam. He knows the area well and the enemy even better. Lam Hung was once a member of the Viet Cong. Now he’s a Kit Carson Scout for U.S. Marines, ordered to steer the troops safely around explosive land mines and deadly booby traps. One mistake could mean their lives. Lam’s most difficult task could be getting the platoon to trust him, a former enemy.

The Red Car

King Kong, the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, alligators in the sewers, and other urban chills keep a young girl awake. But when her bed becomes a red fire chief’s car, imagination fuels a nighttime journey through the city during which she confronts those fears…and finally falls asleep. The Red Car uses photographs of iconic New York City landmarks as backdrops.

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