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Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!
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Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Ava Gabriela is visiting her extended family in Colombia for the holidays. She's excited to take part in family traditions such as making bunuelos, but being around all her loud relatives in an unfamiliar place makes Ava shy and quiet. How will Ava find her voice before she misses out on all the New Year's fun? ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Joana Pastro
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book set around Colombian New Year traditions. I loved seeing the commonalities with the Brazilian traditions and learning about the differences, like the Ano Viejo doll. Being shy is an extremely relatable theme, and is treated with respect and acceptance. Ava Gabriela is shy and although she wants to overcome it, there's not a moment in the story where shyness is portrayed as a bad thing. The family is loving, the food is mouthwatering and Spanish is seamlessly woven throug ...more
Jillian Heise
Not just about holiday or food or family traditions in this Columbian family, but also about a shy girl getting comfortable enough to share her voice. And she is never shamed for it.
Virginia Hartman
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about learning or teaching others about traditions around the world. I received this book for my child but found myself learning so much! The only problem with this book is that I am now craving guava pastries and dulce de leche!
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ava Gabriela is the sweet protagonist to this story that introduces Colombian New Year's Eve and New Year's traditions to U.S. readers. Ava is a shy girl and I loved watching Ava gradually open up as the new year gradually comes. Ava finally comes out of her shell with the explosion of the fireworks. The warmth of the family depicted in encouraging but still allowing Ava to be her shy self was very sweet. Lush with bouyant illutrations, rich descriptions, and interesting traditions, this book is ...more
Brandon Khan
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5
Zara
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With themes of overcoming shyness woven throughout the story, Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela is an adorable book that shares with readers the special Colombian New Years traditions and foods while we follow Ava Gabriela through her journey from newly arrived at her abuelita's finca and overwhelmed by all her family there, to finding her voice and her place among all her cousins aunts and uncles. The sweet illustrations compliment the writing perfectly. Spanish is sprinkled throughout the story in ...more
Ana Siqueira
This is a book for all shy kids and the ones not so shy, so we can all understand each other. FELIZ NEW YEAR, AVA GABRIELA! Allows Colombian children to see themselves represented. Still, it is also a book for all Latinx kids and not Latinx kids, so we can all learn about this beautiful culture, and most importantly, we can all learn that in any culture and country, children go through similar feelings and struggles.

Readers will cheer for this sweet girl to find her voice and have fun.

Bonnie Grover
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
A great story about the Colombian New Year. Traditions change and evolve, but one thing stays the same- la familia.
Alexandra Alessandri
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I might be a little biased because I'm the author. :) This is my ode to Colombia and to shy kids everywhere. I hope you enjoy it! ...more
Sandy Brehl
This colorful and lovely family story is a delightful approach to sharing traditions from Columbian New Year celebrations through the encompassing story of a very shy girl trying to find her voice. The loving relationships and welcoming experiences should make her feel at home with her extended family, young cousins, and a language that she understands but is reluctant to speak.
The figurative expression Abuelita (Grandma) asks in the early pages- Has a mouse nibbled your tongue?-launches the tr
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Ava Gabriela is so shy that she rarely speaks; she really wants to be different. She and her parents are visiting her extended family in Columbia where they are preparing for a big New Year's celebration.

I enjoyed all the little Spanish phrases and the simple way their meaning was made clear in the text for non-Spanish speakers.

Best of all, I loved reading about the traditions the family in Columbia celebrated on New Year's. I've eaten the twelve grapes for luck, but I've never heard of wearing
...more
Pam
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an electronic ARC from Albert Whitman & Company through Edelweiss+.
Ava and her parents are visiting the extended family for their New Year celebration. Meeting so many people at once causes Ava to feel shy and not choose to speak. Alessandri shows readers what this is like from Ava's side. Slowly, she feels more comfortable joining in and finds her voice.
Young readers will relate to times when they have felt overwhelmed and needed time to process before joining in. Told with English a
...more
Kirstie Myvett
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! by Alexandra Alessandri is filled with traditions and delicious food native to Columbia. Aside from the traditions, most importantly, is Ava Gabriela who is shy and quiet around her extended family. She wants to engage and play, but will she ever find her voice? The illustrations are lovely and fun, capturing the excitement a New Year brings. The Author’s Note and Glossary are filled with more information and definitions of the Spanish words and terms used throughou ...more
Doe Boyle
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kindness and compassion are at the heart of this gentle exploration of the time it often takes for young children to find their voices in new situations, even in the midst of family celebrations that are filled with joy. Along with this story thread, which successfully progresses, is the story of Colombian holiday traditions as the year changes from the old to the new. A glossary and helpful descriptions throughout the text offer language learners new vocabulary and greater understanding of Colo ...more
Susan Berner
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Glenda Armand
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story will resonate, not only with children of immigrants, but with all children who find themselves in new situations. Ava Gabriela, who visits her relatives in Columbia, is shy around strangers and unsure of her Spanish. As the story unfolds, and Ava Gabriela learns a wonderful lesson about family, the reader learns a few Spanish words in context and is introduced to Columbian foods and traditions. The whimsical illustrations nicely complement this sweet story.
Mary Louise Sanchez
Ava Gabriela is overwhelmed when she goes to visit all her Columbian family and reacts by being shy around them. However, the Colombian customs of celebrating the New Year draw her out of her shell.

The author did a good job of weaving Spanish words seamlessly in the story. I enjoyed being introduced to the unique customs in Colombia and to their foods and I was reminded that holidays are universal, yet culturally unique.
Mandy
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Picture book. Ava is visiting her grandparents in Colombia as her family prepares to welcome in the new year. But Ava is overwhelmed by all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins so her shyness comes out in full force. How can she join in the celebration when it feels like mice have nibbled on her tongue? As the celebration gets underway, Ava helps make buñuelos and helps make a balloon doll of el Año Viejo (the old year). The strong connection of this extended family is easy to feel and the celebrat ...more
Tameka
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-voices
This is a WONDERFUL story about a young girl whose shy streak sets in while visiting relatives in Colombia for the New Year holiday. It's affirming, joyful, colorful--fantastically written and beautifully illustrated. The authentic cultural details add a delightful richness to this universal theme. HIGHLY RECOMMEND ...more
Emma M.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a great little read! As someone who has been shy for the majority of my life I found I could really relate with little Ava, especially when she described how it felt like her words were stuck in her throat. I loved watching her work through her shyness.

I also really enjoyed learning more about New Year traditions in Colombia and the little bits of Spanish sprinkled throughout the text.
Jared White
This book was a little text heavy but it was also very cute. It's a neat book which features a character who is shy/has social anxiety and how they slowly warm up and become a bit more bold. Within the story we get to learn about some Latinx New Year's traditions and there are quite a few Spanish words sprinkled throughout (with a glossary at the end). ...more
Aimée Bissonette
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book about a family celebrating a holiday in their special, traditional way. Sprinkled with Spanish words (there's a glossary in the back) and descriptions of mouth watering favorite foods, this wonderful story about a shy little one meeting her extended family is a treasure. ...more
Jenn Adams
Ava goes to see her extended Colombian family for their New Year's celebration. She is shy and takes some time to warm up to them (relatable for lots of kids). We are also treated to lessons in holiday traditions and Spanish words and phrases. Own-voices.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
...more
Kirsti Call
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely multicultural book about being brave enough to talk when you're shy. ...more
Y.Poston
Beautiful New Year's exploration
of hispanic celebrations.
Beautiful artwork
...more
Sarah
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I learned a little bit about Colombian traditions for New Year's from this book. I enjoyed the Spanish that was sprinkled in and the colorful illustrations. ...more
Andréa
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
Melissa the Librarian
This would make a great K-5th program! I've never heard of the El Ano Viejo tradition, and it's so interesting! Would love to explore this topic more. ...more
NoNieqa Ramos
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book’s universality comes in its particulars. My children and I adored this beautiful book about Colombian New Year traditions. My son was fascinated with the meaning behind the Año Viejo doll and the practice of eating twelve grapes for good luck. How wonderful for educators to be able use this book to discuss commonalities and differences in customs with students from a myriad of cultures and experiences.

The portrayal of shyness in Alessandra’s debut is perfect. Ava is not pushed out of
...more
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Alexandra Peñaloza Alessandri is a Colombian American poet, children’s author, and Associate Professor of English at Broward College. She received her BA and MA degrees in English from Florida International University, as well as a Certificate of Fiction from UCLA Extension. Her poetry has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, YARN, and Atlanta Review, where her poem “Inheritance” was ...more

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