Mamá Graciela’s Secret by Mayra Calvani, illustrated by Sheila Fein - my review
It’s nice to read a children’s book with letters accented so neatly, giving depth to the narrator’s voice. Mamá Graciela has a restaurant called La Bahía, and already I need to learn how to pronounce the words. Meanwhile I learn of delicious bacalaítos fritos and I want to taste them!
Sheila Fein’s illustrations in this book and bright and warm, perfectly complementing the Mayra Calvani’s warm, inviting story. And it’s not just a story about food. There are cats “like my children, the ones I never had.” And such wonderful cats… and so many cats!
I love how this story moves from normal to wild and wonderful. I love how the illustrations are so satisfyingly filled with character. I imagine a small child playing spot the striped brown kitten. But trouble looms… and I love that this is a children’s book with a real story, with beginning, middle and end.
Disclosure: I was given an ecopy and I offer my honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Publication date: October 10, 2017
Written by Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by Sheila Fein
36 pages, 3-7 year olds
Reading guide at: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com
Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town...
Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her children's picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer's Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.
She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she's not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila's education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book "Mama Graciela's Secret" for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.