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“A trip to school takes on new meaning with the addition of a border crossing.”
Kirkus Reviews

Yenebi’s Drive to School

Written by Sendy Santamaria
Published by Chronicle Books LLC

Every morning, I’m up at four o’clock.

I brush my teeth, get dressed, and drag my sister Melanie to the car where Mami’s waiting for us.

¡Se nos va hacer tarde! ¡Apurarse!

For the next two hours, we’ll be in the car driving—past tamale vendors (my favorite part), through la linea (my least favorite part), and across the US border. That’s how we get to school every day. This is our normal. ¡Vamos!

In a winning, sunny voice in a bright, friendly palette, debut author-illustrator Sendy Santamaria tells the story of one girl’s commute—a commute Sendy herself made growing up as an American citizen living in Mexico. Yenebi’s Drive to School takes readers on a trip to school that many will recognize as very similar to their own.

WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS: This book is from a young, up-and-coming artist of color. By reflecting and celebrating the daily details of a child that reflects the author’s experience, it is a work that is universal and inviting—truly a mirror, a window, and a door.

TIMELY TOPIC: An accessible approach to a serious (and seriously underdocumented) part of American life for many young readers. Teachers, librarians, and parents will appreciate the way this book blends the importance of current events in an easily understandable narrative that kids will enjoy following along with.

FAMILY-CENTRIC: The journey described in this story—a loving family’s daily trip to school—is timeless and relatable, yet wonderfully specific.

UNIQUE EXPERIENCES: Like Last Stop on Market Street, this book leans into the narrator (and creator)’s very particular experience and yet makes the individuality of such an experience highly relatable, communicating to readers that even their most personal routines are part of what connects them with all humans. Young readers who take the bus to school or get driven a few blocks by their parents will see what makes them similar to kids like the author, even if the shape of their routines are different.

FRESH APPROACH TO A CLASSIC TOPIC: The author turns the “back to school” trope on its head by making the book all about the trip, rather than focusing on apprehension or excitement about school itself

Look for the Spanish version, El viaje de Yenebi a la escuela .

Primary ISBN: 9781797216294
Publication Date: June 2023
Available As: Hardcover, Audiobook, eBook
Picture Book, Age 03 or older

Community Represented:

Themes: , , ,

Setting: United States, Mexico

Character's Place in the Immigration Journey: Unknown Arrival

Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience

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