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María José Ferrada and Ana Penyas
Translated from the Spanish by Kit Maude
Every morning, Ms. Marta goes out to check that the world is how it should be: her friends sitting on a terrace playing cards, the beach where it always is, children playing in the playground. There’s nothing particularly special about Ms. Marta’s neighborhood except that it’s the only one like it in the world: it’s hers.
My Neighborhood is a celebration of community that highlights the beauty of its everyday rhythms and routines, as well as offering a heartwarming meditation on what it means to grow old when surrounded by loving friends and neighbors.
Selected for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, New York, 2022
Américas Award Commended Title, 2023
8.11” (W) x 11.34” (H) • 32 pages • Hardcover
★“The art, by Ana Penyas, is stunning, full of pattern and texture and riotous color. Some characters’ heads are brightly painted; some are collaged photos. There are all kinds of hairstyles, skin colors, ages and body types. Ms. Marta seems attuned to everything…We should all be the kind of old lady who waves at little kids, practices belly breathing, appreciates animal print. And we should all get to grow old in a world that looks out for us…”—The New York Times
★“…for life lessons about the elderly, or to provide children with a glimpse of how others live. It’s a slice-of-life journey through elderly Ms. Marta’s daily routine. She leaves the house as her neighborhood friends are playing cards in the alley and passes by the local school and beach on the way to her 'appointments'…VERDICT This title will appeal far more to adults than to the general picture book audience of children. Potentially useful for open discussions in classroom settings about community, and what it means (in a general sense) to grow older ”—School Library Journal
★“…a picture book about old women, perfect for both young and older readers… the neighborhood is full of predictably helpful residents, young and old… both imaginative and brutally honest… Children will wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Marta that lives, like socks, are elastic.”—Imaginary Elevators, A Blog about Children's Literature
★“Ms. Marta lives in a bustling neighborhood where everyone knows her well and looks forward to her cheerful daily greetings. Mixed media illustrations illuminate her world, with predominant bursts of blue and red among other hues; the pictures included faces trimmed from photographs, too. Each conveys a range of Ms. Marta’s neighbors’ personalities and the nuances of their busy lives. Adult audiences will also appreciate this story about the happy rhythms of growing old at home.”—Foreword Reviews