My Tata’s Remedies: Los remedios de mi Tata / by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford; illustrated by Antonio Castro. 7.25.2016

Cinco Puntos Press ISBN 9781935955917

INT Grades 3-6 Rating: 5

A Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor book for 2016, Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford’s My Tata’s Remedies depicts a day in the life of Aaron, a young Latino boy, and his grandfather or “Tata,” who is valued in the neighborhood for his knowledge of herbal remedies and willingness to treat all who show up needing his help.

While Aaron spends the day with his Tata, neighbors drop by and ask for assistance with various complaints—a bee sting, diaper rash, a burn, an eye infection. Tata treats each one with a remedy involving herbs or common household items. Aaron is charged with finding the appropriate items on his grandfather’s shelves. The “patients” are grateful and stay for empanadas and hot chocolate, and the story beautifully demonstrates how Tata’s willingness to help brings his community together. It is also a reminder of the value of extended family.

A glossary provides definitions and illustrations of the plants mentioned in the story (with a disclaimer noting that readers should not take the text as medical advice). Antonio Castro’s award-winning watercolor illustrations are cheerful and realistically depict the characters and evoke their culture.

The bilingual text makes this book of interest to those learning either English or Spanish. Comparing the renditions in both languages, however, one finds that the English and Spanish texts both reflect the spirit of the narrative but do not always correspond in an absolutely literal fashion (for example, “santo remedio,” which literally translates as “holy remedy,” is rendered as “magical cure,” and an English reference to a “high five” is not reflected in the Spanish text).

Angela L. Walsh, CLJ