Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin – Duncan Tonatiuh

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  • Age Range: 5 – 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Lexile Measure: 610L
  • Series:AWARDS: ALA: Youth Media Award Winners 2011
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810938723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810938724



From first-time Mexican author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh comes the story of two cousins, one in America and one in Mexico, and how their daily lives are different yet similar. Charlie takes the subway to school; Carlitos rides his bike. Charlie plays in fallen leaves; Carlitos plays among the local cacti. Dear Primo covers the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of two very different childhoods, while also emphasizing how alike Charlie and Carlitos are at heart. Spanish words are scattered among the English text, providing a wonderful way to introduce the language and culture of Mexico to young children.

Inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs and other cultures of Mexico, Tonatiuh incorporates their stylized forms into his own artwork.


Notable Acknowledgements: 2015 Monarch Award Nominee, 2011 Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration


Rationale for Inclusion: This book very cleverly introduces children to various elements of Mexican and American culture, by showing how the lifestyles of two cousins— one living in the United States and the other one living in Mexico, compare with one another. Terrific illustrations are also used throughout the book to depict the various elements of each respective culture. Comparing these two cultures can help children to draw their own parallels while also being able to learn how the cultures presented in the book are similar and different to their own.  This book also uses various Spanish words throughout the story and provides children with a glossary at the end so that they can learn these words as well as the various elements of Mexican culture. The message that this book is ultimately trying to convey, is that despite differences that may be apparent on the surface, we are all similar. We should therefore learn to embrace our similarities as well as the various characteristics that make us different.



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