Fresh from the country, Juanito is bewildered by his new school. Everything he does feels upside down: he eats lunch when it’s recess and goes out to play when it’s time for lunch, and his tongue feels like a rock when he tries to speak English. But a sensitive teacher and his loving family help Juanito find his voice through poetry, art, and music. Juan Felipe Herrera’s playful language and the magical illustrations of Elizabeth Gómez capture the universal experience of entering a new school and feeling lost in a world that seems upside down — at first.
Author: Juan Felipe Herrera
Juan Felipe Herrera traveled as a child with his parents through many small farming towns and cities in California, until finally settling in San Diego. Juan Felipe’s books are often inspired by his past as the only son of a pair of migrant farm workers along with his belief that language, culture and good-hearted laughter are key ingredients of his work. He has taught poetry from kindergarten to the university level and is the author of numerous poetry and children’s books, including Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and CrashBoomLove, which was prized with the Americas Award. He also wrote Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical in New York City, and Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, winner of a Pura Belpré honor award. He holds the Tomás Rivera endowed chair in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, where he is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing.