René Colato Laínez

Books by This Author

From North to South

Mom hugging son
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

When Mamá is sent to a detention center in Tijuana because she doesn't have the right immigration papers, José must get used to life without her. He and his father visit Mamá at the center, where they talk about the future in which they will be together. Based on the experiences of René Colato Laínez's students, both he and illustrator Joe Cepeda strike the right balance of honesty and hope in depicting this difficult yet common situation for families along the border.

Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre

Illustrated by: Laura Lacamara

"When Mamá's purse falls on the floor, Sofia gets a peek at Mamá's old Resident Alien card and comes to the conclusion that Mamá might be an alien from outer space. Sofia heads to the library to learn more about aliens. Some are small and some are tall. Some have four fingers on each hand and some have large, round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But Mamá looks like a human mother! Could she really be an alien? Sofia is still puzzling out this mystery when she sees an alien-looking Mamá one night.

My Shoes and I

Mario is leaving El Salvador with a new pair of shoes — and a good thing, too, because he has a long and difficult journey ahead of him to reach a new country. His shoes carry him through rain and across mountains, all the way to the river where his mother is waiting on the other side. Young readers may need some information explaining the context of the story, which is based on the author's journey from El Salvador in 1985. Painted illustrations on grainy wood backgrounds match the gritty but hopeful tone of the story.

Playing Lotería

Grandson and grandmother with loteria card
Illustrated by: Jill Arena
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Together a little boy and his grandma discover a world of language through la lotería, a Mexican game similar to Bingo, and realize that loved ones have special ways of understanding each other.

René Has Two Last Names

Illustration of a boy standing in front of his classmates
Illustrated by: Fabiola Graullera Ramirez
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

"René, a new student from El Salvador, doesn't understand why his second last name is missing from his desk's name label. Adding it results in a name so long that his classmates make fun of it by comparing it to that of a dinosaur…When his teacher assigns the students the project of creating a family tree, René is determined to show his classmates and teacher why he has two last names and the importance of his dos apellidos." — School Library Journal

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez

Illustrated by: Tom Lintern
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: When both the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez arrive to claim Miguelito's tooth, sparks fly under the Mexican-American boy's pillow. Who will rightfully claim his tooth? This magical tale introduces a legendary Latino character to a new audience and provides a fresh take on the familiar childhood experience of losing one's tooth.

¡Vámonos! Lets Go!

Illustration of school bus with children
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

From their window on the bus, a girl and a boy see a fire truck that goes woo-ooo-ooo, also known as a camión de bomberos--uuuah uuuah uuuah. They see a train, an ambulance and an airplane too! With this rollicking adaptation of "The Wheels on the Bus," young people can sing out the names of their favorite vehicles and the sounds they make -- in both English and Spanish.