Recommended ages: 0 to 6
You know it’s summer in Los Angeles, CA when you hear the ring ring ring of the paletero man! As a Los Angeles native, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Latin Grammy winner, Lucky Diaz perfectly encapsulates all of the joyous memories I had of growing up as a Mexican-American Angeleno. As soon as I heard the ring ring ring down my neighborhood block or the local park, I was conditioned to run to the nearest adult to ask for money to buy ice cream. I’d plead for them to be quick or else I’d miss the cart! More than a few occasions called for a full fledged sprint to catch up to the paletero man.
And therein lies the plot driver for this book. On a hot summer’s day, a young Angeleno, with money in hand, is determined to find the local paletero man, José. He runs all over the neighborhood before catching up with José at the park. But, alas, along the way he dropped his money! Members of the community come together to ultimately get a paleta into the hands of this determined Angeleno.
Micah Player’s illustrations burst with color and movement. I dare you to read this book and NOT want a paleta by the end of it! And I especially love the incorporation of the sights, smells, and Spanglish sounds of a bustling Los Angeles neighborhood.
Un aroma is calling,
caught in the breeze.
It’s a BBQ smell
coming from Ms. Lee’s!
Diaz pays homage not only to the street vendors of Los Angeles, but also to the ethnically diverse small business owners and citizens of our city. Ms. Lee owns a Korean BBQ restaurant, and Frank (depicted with copper-brown skin and Afro-textured hair) owns a bike shop. And the children and families gathered at the park also represent a diverse community.
Take-away message: Paletero Man is a picture-perfect representation of a true community: friendship, diversity, and collaboration.
TAGS: Latinx, male-lead, diverse characters, hardcover
About the Author:
Lucky Diaz is a multi–Latin Grammy Award–winning and six-time Emmy–nominated musician and songwriter. His work has been praised by NPR, Billboard magazine, and the New York Times. In 2020, his album Buenos Diaz was named an official selection of notable works for children by the American Library Association.
He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Alisha, daughter, Indiana Maven and their dog Django. His favorite paleta flavor is horchata.
About the Illustrator:
Micah Player began his career designing and illustrating for Paul Frank Industries in Southern California. He is the author of Chloe, Instead and the illustrator of several books and games for children, including Vote for Our Future! and Friday Night Wrestlefest. He lives in a little house beneath a giant tree in the Utah mountains, with a lovely schoolteacher named Stephanie. They are the parents of two rad kids, one Yorkshire terrier, and several Casio keyboards. His favorite paleta is fresas con crema.
Paletero Man Book Trailer