Starting Over in Sunset Park

English & Spanish

4-8 years


Single-Parent Family

New Beginnings




José Pelaez, Lynn McGee, & Bianca Diaz


Our story opens with a young girl and her mother arriving to NYC from the Dominican Republic, ready to begin a new life for themselves. Initially staying with relatives, the pair is looking forward to getting their own space and making this gigantic new city their new home.

Our unnamed narrator has some trouble understanding English at school, and gets frustrated in the beginning at not having their own apartment. Having lived with roommates for many years, I feel this very much. Anywho, after her mother finds a job and they get an apartment, things get a bit easier.

Starting Over in Sunset Park follows a mother and daughter on a quest to feel at home, and of course that doesn’t happen immediately. Meeting kind folks in their community begins to ease the homesickness just a bit, as does picking up a new hobby. Overall the story is tender and recognizes that feeling at home takes time, and it’s possible to make yourself feel better by helping others.

This book was kindly sent by Tilbury House Publishers, but all opinions are my own! This would be a fabulous book for the beginning of a new school year to help new students (especially ones that have recently immigrated) feel seen and understood.

José Pelaez

José Pelaez (Brooklyn, NY) founded Kitty in NY, an agency that provides temporary homes to the pets of traveling New Yorkers. Starting Over in Sunset Park explores issues he himself experienced while adjusting to a new life in America. He hopes the book will help children during difficult times of transition.

Lynn McGee

Lynn McGee’s (Bronx, NY) published volumes of poetry include Tracks (2019), Sober Cooking (2016), and two award-winning chapbooks. Twice a Pushcart nominee, she is also a Best of the Net Award nominee and winner of a MacDowell fellowship and a Judith’s Room Emerging Writers Award. She has taught college writing as well as adult literacy to immigrants and has led poetry workshops in New York City elementary schools as an artist-in-residence with the Teachers and Writers Collaborative. Lynn is a communications manager at Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York. Starting Over in Sunset Park is her first children’s book

Bianca Diaz

Bianca Diaz (Brooklyn, NY), a granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, grew up in Pilsen, a Mexican American neighborhood in Chicago. She believes that healthy communities can help people become happy, independent human beings; through art and education, she strives to be instrumental in the collaborative creation of these communities. Bianca is a 2018 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor recipient for her book The One Day House.

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