Written by: Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by: David Roberts
For ages: 4-8 years
Language: English, minor Spanish.
Topics Covered: Community Action, Environmentalism, Girls Outdoors, Creativity, Feminism, Girls in Leadership, Latinx, Activism.
Sofia Valdez loves her community, and she especially loves helping her community be better. When her Abuelo injures his ankle slipping on trash and can’t walk Sofia to school anymore, she decides to do something about it and open a park for the neighborhood to enjoy.
We love that this book addresses fear that Sofia has about speaking in front of adults alone, when she’s a second grader. But she believes in her cause and summons the courage despite being scared. We really love this series, and in particular this book has very diverse illustrations. The mayor is a person of color in a wheelchair, someone on the city committee is wearing all pink with fancy painted nails and a beard, another individual has a cochlear implant. One of Sofia’s classmates is shown picketing and wearing a patka! These illustrations are normalizing so many different ways of moving throughout the world, and they’re gorgeous. Different body types are represented, and it doesn’t feel othering or tokenizing to have these diverse cast of characters living in Sofia’s neighborhood. Ada, Iggy, and Rosie even make an appearance! Overall, we’re so pleased to see where this book series is headed, and excited to see what comes next!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Andrea Beaty was raised in southern Illinois in a town so small she knew everybody and their pets. And they all knew her. Andrea was one of six kids and we spent our summer days traipsing through the fields and forests hunting for adventure. Always, it was fun and often, they laughed so hard they blew Orange Crush or Grape Nehi Soda out their noses. She still avoids Grape Nehi … just in case.
Andrea was a big reader as a kid and LOVED Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon Mysteries. Then she moved on to Agatha Christie books and then the classics. Don’t tell anyone, but her secret ambition is to star in a Broadway musical and Andrea is often tempted to break into song and dance at very odd moments. Mostly in the frozen food section of her grocery store! They have very good lighting.
Andrea attended Southern Illinois University and studied Biology and Computer Science. After that, she worked for a computer software company. Andrea helped people with their computer problems (“Did you try turning it off and on again?”) and some technical writing. Andrea didn’t know at the time, but tech writing was great training for writing for kids because it taught her to be a fierce self-editor.
Now, she lives in Chicago with her family. Andrea visits lots of schools each year to share her love of reading and her writing journey with kids and educators.
When David Roberts was at school, he claims he wasn’t very good at anything so the teacher would give me projects to produce big pictures for the school hall. He remembers doing one of Death rowing in a boat on the river Thames with a dead dog floating past!
David has always been drawing ever since he was a very small child and then when he left school at 16, he went to Art College. There, David did a foundation course trying out all different types of art practice. The thing David thought he wanted to do the most was costume and fashion design so he did a degree in fashion design.
David ended up being a children’s book illustrator and it was always his dream to do this! Although David tried to pursue a career as a fashion illustrator first. When he met Christine of Artist Partners she pointed out to him that he was drawing characters and perhaps he should focus more on publishing and in particular children’s books.