Recommended ages: 3 to 9
Hermanito-Little Brother is a playful bilingual book about a mixed-race couple teaching their children how to be responsible and “take care of business.” This story has a Latina mom and Black dad. The companion book, Hermanita-Little Sister, features a Black mom and Latino Dad. Although their narratives are not identical, they both share the same message of encouraging siblings and parents to work and play together to foster long-lasting familial bonds.
In Hermanito-Little Brother, the story begins with siblings Mateo, Amaya, and Santiago watching Saturday morning cartoons. While Mami and Papi are preparing breakfast together, they are also discussing how they want to teach their older kids the importance of responsibility. Around the breakfast table, the family has a conversation about what it means to be responsible. Mami and Papi also remind the older kids that their baby brother looks up to them. They then spend the rest of the day completing chores together while at the same time finding the time to play and have fun as a family.
I appreciated the depiction of family discussions around the dining table. It’s so easy to be distracted by technology nowadays. Seeing this family have meaningful conversations, device-free, while enjoying a meal together was refreshing and a nice reminder to do so with my own family.
The illustrations by Adau Hernandez are what initially attracted me to this book! It was nice to see a range of skin tones and hair textures, all in the same family. These images will certainly resonate with blended families, like my own. One child might look more like their mother while the other might look more like their father. And another may be in between! So to see this representation with the blended family in this book was really special and much needed.
Bonus content includes “write and draw” pages that prompt readers to answer the following questions:
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- What things do you like to do with your family?
- What are ways that you will help your family in the future?
Take-away message: Older siblings should act as role models for their younger siblings. This can easily be done by guiding them through simple tasks like completing chores. In the process, you are also spending quality time together as a family. I like that the story also shows them taking breaks to simply play and have fun together. There is always time for work and play!
TAGS: bilingual, Spanish, nuclear family, family, mixed-race, blended family, siblings, Black, Latinx, indie publisher, paperback
About the Authors:
Dr. Khalid White is an award-winning educator, author, and filmmaker. Khalid has worked with youth and young adults, in public education, for 15 years. As an entrepreneur, Khalid owns and operates Blkmpwr (Black Empower), LLC., a multi-media company charged with creating counter-narrative content. Visit his website for details: blkmpwr.com
Isela Garcia White is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker dedicated to providing high quality, effective and culturally responsive mental health services to children and families from diverse communities. She earned her B.A. from UC Berkely and her M.S.W. from the University of Southern California.
Companion book: Hermanita – Little Sister
Check out our MiJa Books Storytime! episodes featuring English and Spanish read-alouds of Hermanito-Little Brother.