Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: Cuando papa esta lejos / When Dad's Away by Gabriela Arellano

Cuando papa esta lejos / When Dad's Away
by Gabriela Arellano
illustrated by Gustavo Mazali

32177468(ESPAÑOL) El papá de Kena tiene un trabajo que lo mantiene lejos de casa durante largos períodos de tiempo. De regreso a casa, padre e hijo tendrán una conversación que ayudará al cachorro a entender que la distancia no es un obstáculo para el amor de su papá.

(ENGLISH) Kena 's dad has a job that keeps him away from home for long periods of time. When Dad returns home, he will have a conversation with Kena that it will help the cub to understand that the distance is not an obstacle to his love. 

My Take:
A bilingual children's book is a win-win in my estimation, and this book is a winner all round. Dad is returning from one of his extended work assignments, and Kena is not sure Dad really cares about him, or he wouldn't be gone all the time.

Dad works on an oil rig, and the job requires he spend months away from home. Yet, he is always thinking about his family, and he finds a way to make this clear to Kena. 

Since this is a children's picture book, let's just say there's nothing objectionable in it at all.

Final Analysis:
This is an excellent kids' book with beautiful illustrations, and a heartwarming message of family, coupled with English and Spanish text side by side. Families with dads in the military, who work on oil rigs, or who take extended sales trips, can benefit from reading this together. For a dad, it makes me think about how important it is to get home at night and be with the wife and kids. 

It teaches the family togetherness and the importance of quality time, and helps bridge the language barriers for all ages. I'm an engineer, and this is the first time I've learned the Spanish word for that, ingeniero. Wow, who knew? Five Stars!

About the Author:
(ENGLISH) I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Down there, I studied Majors in Literature and Law. In the United States I taught Spanish in a Montessori school grades 1-12. I'm also a prolific author of several blogs in English and Spanish.

I always wanted to be a writer, and I've written hundreds of unpublished poems and tales since age 8. But it took an additional uprooting experience to finally burst me into a real writer activity. As a mother of a bilingual child I was desperately digging into the major libraries looking for good quality reading material in English and Spanish. I was looking for books that had both languages in the same text. The experience was quite frustrating because of the small number of titles published and the deficiency in their artistic quality, or due to the extreme simplicity of their plots (presumably fit for children 5-year-old and younger, but not for my elementary student daughter). I shared my experience with other mothers of US origin, and found that many of them wanted to teach Spanish to their children, but lamented the lack of sufficient English/Spanish bilingual quality literature. Consequently, I decided to write the books for my child by myself and also put them in the market for those who feel are facing the same kind of literature vacuum.

About the Illustrator:
Gustavo Ariel Mazali es un ilustrador e historietista argentino. 
Dibuja desde muy chico.
Realizó talleres de historieta un año con Alberto Salinas y dos años con el maestro Oswal (creador de Sónoman, Consumatum est, entre otros).
Sus comienzos profesionales fueron las historietas.
Colaboró durante seis años con los “genios” Carlos Trillo y Carlos Meglia en las series Cybersix e Irish Coffee. También realizó varios unitarios con textos de Guillermo Saccomanno y Carlos Albiac. Desde 1998 hasta el día de hoy se dedica a la ilustración de libros para chicos, siendo sus primeras publicaciones en libros de texto escolar, en todas las áreas, para varias editoriales de la Argentina. Con la autora Jane Cadwallader crearon el personaje Uncle Jack, para la editorial italiana Eli. Su libro número 3, Uncle Jack and the meerikats fue elegido por un jurado de niños de todo el mundo como ganador del concurso Language Learner Literature Award 2012 en Japón.

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