My Very Own Room ⁄
Mi propio cuartito
Amada Irma Pérez
Illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzales
Tired of sharing a room with her five brothers, an eight-year-old Mexican American girl longs to find a corner of the house she can call her own (“a place where I could read the books I loved, write in my diary, and dream”). She persuades her mother to let her take up residence in a storage room, and the whole family gets involved in refurbishing the new space. An uncle who is heading back to Mexico donates his bed; one brother finds a wooden crate to use for a bookcase—and the books come from the library. Based on Pérez’s own childhood, this bilingual picture book paints an affectionate portrait of life in a big family that often provides a home base to newly arriving relatives and friends (“There was always a long line to use the bathroom, but the toilet seat was always warm”) and offers strong testimony to the heroine’s resourcefulness. Gonzalez’s warm palette, simple lines and uncluttered images flow through the story like a series of murals. This inspiring tale will resonate with anyone who’s ever wished for a room of one’s own or worked hard to achieve an important goal.