Books DiverseKidLit International International Youth Library Finds Literatura Europa Picture Books Reading Themes

[IYL Finds | Diverse KidLit] An Ode to the European Wee Ones – The Pequeños

Myra here.

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is socioeconomic diversity. Kids from all economic brackets should be able to find themselves in books – as well as to learn about the lives of others in different economic situations. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, September 2nd and the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was What is Family? 18 Picture Books about Loving Families in All Forms from Barefoot Mommy. This post includes new books as well as old favorites including multigenerational, multiracial, LGBTQ, foster, adoptive, and divorced families.

One of the reasons why I love going back again and again to the International Youth Library (IYL) in Munich is that it provides me with access to rare and wondrous books from all over the world. Jella Lepman, the founder of the IYL, would be happy to note that language is not so much an issue now as it may have been during her time. While staying at the library, I chanced upon this app that made my life as a research fellow much easier:

This is the way the app works (the red one on the right – which can be found in the App Store – but restricted only to Apple users): (1) I take a photo of the page, (2) it recognizes and transcribes the text for me, and (3) translates the text in English. There are of course a lot of limitations with the free app, so I have upgraded and paid around 7 USD to have access to all their services, which I thought was pretty worth it. Hence, I am able to share these two lovely diverse titles with you.

Niños Pequeños (Small Children)

Written and Illustrated by: Pere Ginard
Published byThule Ediciones, 2010. ISBN: 8496473880 (ISBN13: 9788496473881)
Borrowed from the International Youth Library Munich. Book photos taken by me. 

Two of my recent discoveries this year as an International Research Fellow at the IYL are Pere Ginard and Javier Saez Castan. Ginard describes himself as an illustrator, filmmaker and alchemist. This book has the feel of all three.

Each page shows a different child or children with their dreams for the future. These two children, for example, Quique and Ana want to become jugglers:

The child above is my favourite: Pablo, the sensitive one, who wants to write the saddest verses of all. As the adult reader can deduce, there are allusions here that can be captured by those who are astute enough to make the connections. This book actually reminded me a little bit of another international picturebook, The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz which I reviewed last year.

Niños Pequeños is a lyrical and thought-provoking picturebook that provides young readers with some off-kilter options of what they could become when they grow up, from being a juggler, a poet, an elite athlete, a cowboy, a choir singer – and what they need to overcome to reach their dreams.

El Pequeño Rey: Maestro Repostero (The Little King: Master Confectioner/Baker)

Written and Illusrated by: Javier Saez Castan
Published by: Ediciones Ekaré, 2013. ISBN13: 9788493913878
Borrowed from the International Youth Library Munich. Book photos taken by me. 

I think of Javier Saez Castan as the Hispanic version of Chris Van Allsburg. He has the same kind of surreal, borderline-magical-realism-vibe to his images that simply speak to me.

This is a fun story of a little king who is bored with the food that he eats. So he goes outdoors to find something different that will satisfy his discerning palate, and met these strange creatures:

I am not very certain how accurate Google Translate is, but it appears that these are “weevils, mealybugs and waterworms” who cheered this Little King on in his search for new ingredients for a different type of dish.

As the creatures helped out in stirring the sugar, the molasses, the sack of flour – the Little King realized that his little helpers were actually helping themselves with the ingredients and were sneakily munching away.

How the Little King solved this wee problem is so absolutely brilliant, I had a feeling it would end up the way it did, but I still found it lip-smacking good.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[IYL Finds | Diverse KidLit] An Ode to the European Wee Ones – The Pequeños

  1. These are wonderful! I love the surreal quality to the illustrations, such a refreshing change from the mass-market, super-cute illustrations we seem to be getting so much of!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing these picture book treasures and for hosting the DiverseKidLit hop!!!


  3. Pingback: [Saturday Reads | IYL Finds] Life-Saving Translator Photo App for non-English Picturebooks – Gathering Books

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