Super Cilantro Girl/La Superniña del Cilantro
By Juan Felipe Herrera
Illustrated by Honorio Tapia
Young Esmeralda Sinfronteras eagerly waits for her mamá to come home from Mexico so the two of them can be together again. But when Esmeralda learns that that her mother is being kept at the United States-Mexico border, she begins to worry about when they'll be reunited. That night, Esmeralda makes a wish that Mamá comes home bright and full of life, like the heart-shaped cilantro leaves that grow in their garden.
The next day, there's still no word from Mamá, but something strange has happened to Esmeralda's hands. They're green--as green as cilantro leaves! At school, Esmeralda tries to hide her hands and the other parts of her body that are turning green too, but it's no use. Her hair has become tangled like green vines and she's grown fifty feet tall. Esmeralda rushes home hoping to find Mamá and ask her for help, but Mamá still hasn't returned. Missing her mother more than ever, Esmeralda decides to use her newfound powers to save Mamá herself. In a daring rescue, Esmeralda--now known as Super Cilantro Girl--finds her mother, evades border patrol, and successfully reunites her family.
Former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera taps poetically into the wellsprings of imagination to address and transform the very serious concerns many first-generation children have about national borders and immigrant status. And artist Honorio Robledo Tapia, a prize-winning illustrator of children's books, has created landscapes that will delight all children in this heartwarming story about a brave girl who becomes her own hero.
About the Creators
JUAN FELIPE HERRERA is the son of farmworkers and a graduate of UCLA, Stanford, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. During the last fifty years, he has dedicated his life to poetry, community, art and teaching. He has served as the Poetry Laureate of the United States and of California and he’s written more than thirty books across various genres. His awards include the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the LA Times Robert Kirsch Award, a Latino Hall of Fame Award, a Pushcart Prize, UCLA Chancellor’s Medal and the UC-Riverside Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Fresno with his wife, poet Margarita Robles.
HONORIO ROBLEDO TAPIA spent his childhood in Veracruz, Chiapas, and in the mountainous regions of Matlanzinca, Mexico, where there was no electricity or running water. Today he is a painter, musician, and author of more than twenty children's books, as well as the illustrator of El Cucuy, winner of the Independent Publishers’ Award in 2002. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and Veracruz, Mexico.