By The Horn Book
This bilingual (English and Spanish) picture-book biography chronicles the early life of biologist Valentina Cruz. Born in 1971 on Floreana, a Gala?pagos Island, Cruz spends much of her childhood exploring the flora and fauna around her home. Readers accompany Cruz on an introductory tour of Floreana, brought to vivid life through illustrator Dominguez’s digitally colored pencil illustrations of Gala?pagos penguins, sea lions, and the famous Gala?pagos tortoises. When Cruz’s father informs her of the reality of extinction that many of these animals face, she vows to do what she can to keep them safe. Upon completing her education (at the University of Havana, per the appended author’s note), Cruz comes home to lead nature excursions for visitors and shares her appreciation of the island with them; according to the author’s note, that’s how Arnold met Cruz and was inspired to tell her story. The book adopts the English-to-Spanish bilingual model throughout (including back matter), and translation of the text and its grammar are concise and accurate, making the story accessible for English-speakers and English-language learners alike. With its vibrant illustrations and engaging text about a true galapaguen?a, the volume shows that Cruz has kept her promise to her beloved Floreana all these years.