New Book: Mayanito’s New Friends

Tato Laviera is doing children’s literature now? Too cool. Move over Silverstein!

 

Written by Tato Laviera

Illustrated by Gabhor Utomo

Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Pinata Books; Bilingual edition (October 31, 2017)
  • Language: English/ Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 1558858555

 

A young Mayan prince goes on an exciting journey

through the rainforest in this bilingual picture book.

From his perch high up on a mountaintop, a young Mayan prince watched as raindrops formed in the clouds below him. Suddenly, within each drop, there was a child! The raindrop children landed gently on the ground and Mayanito raced down the mountainside to play with them. They were from Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica and other countries in the Americas, but as the sun warmed the land, they evaporated and turned into flowers!

Mayanito was sad to lose his friends, so he decided to go find them. Thankfully, the animals of the jungle including Pablito the snake, Teresa the crocodile and Rafael the jaguar helped him. In this adventurous romp through the rainforest, monkeys pulled him from quicksand and carried him over a waterfall in a hammock made of vines! Riding on a flamingo’s back, he landed in the village far below his mountaintop home and finally found his new friends. Together, they rode an inchworm train back up the mountain. And when Mayanito was named king, he declared all the children of the hemisphere members of his tribe!

Gabhor Utomo’s gorgeous illustrations of the lush rainforest, its flora and fauna complement the boy’s fantastical journey in this bilingual picture book for children ages 5-10. Parents and teachers will find this beautiful book provides a good introduction to basic concepts of jungle creatures, geography and even musical instruments from different regions.

TATO LAVIERA (1952-2013) was a poet, playwright, novelist and community advocate. Born in Puerto Rico, he was raised in the Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His books include Mixturao and Other Poems; Mainstream Ethics; AmeRícan; Enclave, winner of the American Book Award; and La Carreta Made a U-Turn. His plays have been produced in Chicago and New York City, and have been staged at The New Federal Theater, The Public Theater, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Circle in the Square and Teatro Cuatro. He lived and worked in New York City until his death. Mayanito’s New Friends / Los amigos de Mayanito is his only children’s book.

GABHOR UTOMO was born in Indonesia, and received his degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2003. He has illustrated a number of children’s books, including Kai’s Journey to Gold Mountain (East West Discovery Press, 2004), a story about a young Chinese immigrant held on Angel Island. Gabhor’s works has won numerous awards from local and national art organizations. His painting of Senator Milton Marks is part of a permanent collection at the California State Building in downtown San Francisco. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.

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