Let’s Go See Papa!

By Lawrence Schimel • Illustrated by Marina Rivera
Translated by Elisa Amado
Groundwood Books • 2011 • 48 pages
Hardcover ($18.95)
ISBN: 978-1-55498-106-9
Ages 9-12

In this translation of Vamos a ver a papá (Ekaré), a little girl tells about her life while her dad is working in the United States far from her, her mom, her abuela, and her dog, Kika. Papá has been in the United States for one year, eight months, and 22 days according to the unnamed girl’s journal. She writes everything she does in that journal so that when she sees her father again, it will feel like he never missed a day.

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Papá calls every Sunday to talk with his family, and one Sunday, he calls to say that the time to join him has come. Now, the girl must decide what to take with her in a small little carry-on. Abuela cannot come and neither can her dog. Her friend, Rocío tells her that everything will be fine, and that they will be friends despite the distance. So Mamá and the little girl are taken to the airport where they have to say goodbye to all they know to go to a new country to become a family again—a scene that will ring familiar to many readers, making the unnamed girl someone they may all identify with.

The family’s yearning to be reunited is evident in this story without being heavy-handed, and the narrative offers a happy ending. The full-page artwork in cheerful colors accentuates its message and helps to make the story feel more intimate. This delightful book may be used to help children who have gone through similar experiences talk through their feelings.

Reviewed by Bianca Elliott, PhD., High School and University Educator