September 11, 2023

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read

By Raúl the Third
Review by
Libraries are often portrayed as places for shushing and serious reading, but ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! portrays them as bright, welcoming places of learning and exploration.
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Everybody in town is excited to participate in the library’s Libro Love book festival. There are secondhand books to buy, crafts to make, authors to meet and new skills to master . . . something for everyone!

Written and illustrated by Pura Belpré Award-winner Raul the Third, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! pulls readers into an explosion of true book love starring the spirited Little Lobo and his friends. This latest addition to the World of ¡Vamos! series is an energetic tribute to libraries, their patrons and readers of all stripes.

With colors by Elaine Bray, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! is a visual explosion in the style of a graphic novel, combining narrative text, dialogue bubbles and bold characters against warm-hued, detailed backdrops. It’s hard not to catch the excitement of the cast of animal characters, who are spirited, devoted book-lovers. Loosely based on the author’s hometown of El Paso, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! reflects a celebration of Mexican-American culture in every image. Raul the Third’s narration nimbly flows with Spanish as well as English, creating a sense of place and introducing non-Spanish readers to new words. A glossary at the end, although definitely not needed to follow the story, helps fill in any gaps.

Beyond the sheer joy of books, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! recognizes all the different ways people can enjoy libraries. We see characters use books to learn new skills like cooking and skateboarding. They hunt for their favorite titles, listen to audiobooks, take classes and make artwork. They even create their own books. Libraries are often portrayed as places for shushing and serious reading, but ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! showcases them as the bright, welcoming places of learning that they truly are.

Lengthier than most picture books, ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! is recommended for ages 4–8, but there is plenty to entertain keen-eyed older readers, including Easter eggs such as a brilliant nod to Stephen King: Gallos of the Corn by “Estéfan Rey.” There is so much to see in this vibrant ode to libraries that readers may be surprised upon a second reading by all the things they missed the first time around. There’s also a hefty dose of self-discovery and empowerment woven into each scene as ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read! asks: What will you discover at the library?

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¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Read

By Raúl the Third
ISBN 9780358539360

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