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2001 Book Award Winner

My Very Own Room/Mi propio cuartito

Book Synopsis:

Tired of sharing a room with her five brothers, an eight-year-old Mexican American girl longs to find a corner of the house she can call her own. She persuades her mother to let her take up residence in a storage room, and the whole family gets involved in refurbishing the new space. An uncle who is heading back to Mexico donates his bed; one brother finds a wooden crate to use for a bookcase–and the books come from the library. Based on Perez’s own childhood, this bilingual picture book paints an affectionate portrait of life in a big family that often provides a home base to newly arriving relatives and friends and offers strong testimony to the heroine’s resourcefulness. Gonzalez’s warm palette, simple lines and uncluttered images flow through the story like a series of murals. This inspiring tale will resonate with anyone who’s ever wished for a room of one’s own or worked hard to achieve an important goal.

En Espanol: Mi Propio Cuartito

Cansada de compartir la habitación con sus cinco hermanos, una niña México-Americana de ocho años de edad, anhela encontrar un rincón de la casa para si misma. Ella convence a su madre que su habitación sea el cuarto de servicio, y toda la familia se involucra en la remodelación del nuevo espacio. Un tío que se regresa a Mexico le donó su cama; un hermano encuentró una caja de madera para uso de un librero y consiguio los libros de la biblioteca. Basado en la propia infancia de Pérez, este libro bilingüe pinta un retrato cariñoso de la vida en una familia gran que a menudo proporciona una base para familiares y amigos recién llegados y ofrece un testimonio sólido de ayuda invaluable. Las paletas cálida de González, líneas simples e imágenes sencillas fluyen a través de la historia como una serie de murales. Esta inspiradora historia resonará con toda persona que alguna vez desea una habitación propia o trabaja duro para lograr un objetivo importante.


Amada Irma Pérez was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. as a young child. She teaches 3rd grade in Oxnard, CA and is a leading advocate of programs encouraging multicultural understanding. My Very Own Room/Mi Propio Cuartito is her first book, and is based on her own struggles with poverty in a large family. Her second book, My Diary From Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá, was published by Children’s Book Press in 2002.


Maya Christina Gonzalez was born outside of Los Angeles and raised in Oregon. She now resides in the Bay Area, where she is an artist in residence at a local elementary school and serves as a mentor in the Children’s Book Press community outreach program. She has contributed to numerous books for Children’s Book Press, and has illustrated books such as, Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems. In addition to illustrating, she is also involved in crafting jewelry, printing and the graphic arts. Recipient Website: