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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Gift for Laura / Un regalo para Laura by Pilar Velez-Zamparelli, with illustrations and design by Alynor Diaz and drawings by Mariet Vergara, is a bilingual children's book about Laura, who is celebrating her birthday. Laura lives in Mexico with her grandmother, Carmela, who has raised her alone since Laura's father passed away. Her mother is in the United States and calls to wish Laura a happy birthday. But really, this is a story about Laura and her mango tree, which her father planted on her second birthday, and the gifts in her life that she possesses (and that the beloved tree provides) that are far greater than anything material she could own.
A Gift for Laura / Un regalo para Laura by Pilar Velez-Zamparelli has both English and Spanish text, which is wonderful for children learning either language. The story is sweet and the messages it conveys are important at a time when children tend to gravitate toward electronic devices instead of nature. Carmela is a loving grandmother and Laura is a curious and optimistic little girl, which makes both easy to like. The illustrations and drawings in this book are exceptional, combining both artwork and bits of realism. Alynor Diaz and Mariet Vergara are extraordinarily talented, and their work in bringing the story to life is exceptional, with vivid imagery and gorgeously textured graphics. I'd recommend this book to parents and teachers who are looking for a way to engage children in awareness of the blessings that nature provides and a much-needed look into the lives of those whose family dynamics might differ from their own.