Alicia and the Hurricane / Alicia y el huracán

By The Horn Book

Newman wrote this book in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, and people’s subsequent worry about whether the tiny tree frogs, or coquíes, a cultural symbol of Puerto Rico, would return. Every night, Alicia’s Mami tells her, “Hop into bed like a little frog, mi corazón, and los coquíes will sing you to sleep.” But then a hurricane strikes, and while Alicia and her family are staying in a shelter, she can no longer hear the frogs’ song. Her family and community come together to rebuild her devastated neighborhood, but it is only on the last page that Alicia is sure that the coquíes have returned, too. Baez’s detailed acrylic on canvas illustrations aptly convey Alicia’s emotional journey as well as the bright, tropical colors of Puerto Rico. The layout of this bilingual book foregrounds the Spanish translation by Lázaro, a Puerto Rican children’s author and poet in her own right, and the English text includes Spanish words readers can understand from context, as cognates, or using the book’s glossary. An author’s note includes detailed information about tree frogs, Puerto Rican identity, hurricanes, and hurricane relief efforts.