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Bella's Recipe for Success

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If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Bella wants to find out what she's good at. But she quits everything she (barely) tries because she's a disaster at it. Her somersaults are like clumsy jirafas rolling downhill, her piano playing like elephant feet. When she decides to learn how to bake with her wise old abuela, her first attempt at dulce de leche frosting looks like scaly cocodrilo skin. She must learn it's okay to try again or she won't be good at anything. Peppered with Spanish vocabulary and set in an intergenerational Latinx home, Bella's Recipe for Success will show all kids the value of practicing to learn a new skill, and that it's okay to make mistakes along the way. A recipe for Polvorones con Dulce de Leche is included at the back of the book so kids can have fun making their own.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published July 13, 2021

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About the author

Ana Siqueira

8 books77 followers
Ana Siqueira is from Brazil where she is an award-winning published author. Ana teaches Spanish to elementary children. Besides BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS, - Beaming Books 2021, and IF YOUR BABYSITTER IS A BRUJA, 2022, Ana also published a book for the educational market El Pato Quiere Uvas.- Teacher’s Discovery. Soon, Ana will have more news about other books. Ana loves being an Abuela and a Vovó. She lives in Florida with her Cuban husband.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 72 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,487 reviews72 followers
December 25, 2021
What a terrific Ana Siqueira picture book with a plethora of uses--themes of determination and each person's unique abilities ring out loud and clear, Spanish words with rich context allow for lessons in using those clues for unfamiliar words, Hispanic culture featured, and a character who changes over time is present. All these useful ELA lessons amid beautiful illustrations by Geraldine Rodriguez and a recipe included at the end. Highly recommended for libraries serving PK-3rd grade or as a mentor text for older students. Thanks for the preview copy, Beaming Books!
Profile Image for Amanda Davis.
Author 2 books80 followers
February 1, 2021
Bella's Recipe for Success is:
1 cup of finding your strengths
2 cups of exploring your passions
plus a pinch or two of making mistakes along the way.
The result is a sweet read that is sure to leave you wanting more! With a fun recipe for POLVORONES
CON DULCE DE LECHE in the back matter, the story is perfect for at home reads or in the classroom extensions. I also loved the bonus theme of the endearing relationship between Bella and her abuela. The bright and vibrant art by Geraldine Rodriguez encourages a positive can-do attitude throughout the story, keeping readers hopeful that Bella will find success in her newfound skills.
Profile Image for Livia Blackburne.
Author 11 books1,281 followers
April 2, 2021
This cute bilingual picture book is a good one for my daughter, because she gets frustrated really easily if she doesn't get something right on the first try. Bella thinks she's not good at anything. Not a good gymnast like her sister, and not an amazing pianist like her brother. Little does she realize though, they became good by practicing, and she can too!
Profile Image for Pine Reads Review.
479 reviews9 followers
July 8, 2021
“Abuela says, ‘Sometimes that happens, Bella. We can always try again.’”

Bella’s brother can play the piano with his eyes closed, and her sister can do fourteen cartwheels in a row. But what can Bella do? When gymnastics and music don’t work in Bella’s favor, she turns to baking— Abuela’s area of expertise. As Bella tries to make one of Abuela’s recipes, she quickly learns that sometimes you just don’t get it right… And that’s okay!

Bella’s Recipe for Success is a sweet-tasting, heart-warming story that embraces making mistakes and celebrates the art of trying again. Bella not only deals with trial and error in baking, but also with the reality that everyone needs a little practice now and then— something I think is incredibly important to remind readers of all ages. Another thing that I enjoy about this picture book is the organic and seamless Latinx representation. Featuring a multigenerational Latinx family, and a delicious Mexican dessert, adds a lot of heart to the story, and Ana Siqueira even includes a fun bonus at the end of the story: a recipe for polvorones con dulce de leche (the cookies that Bella makes in the story). I personally love when authors add interactive elements, especially ones you can eat! Geraldine Rodríguez’s lively illustrations beautifully add to Siqueira’s wonderful story, resulting in a book that’s sure to make special connections with readers young and old, Spanish speakers and not.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank Beaming Books for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change up final publication.)

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @pinereadsreview and check out our website at www.pinereadsreview.com for reviews, author interviews, blogs, podcast episodes, and more!
Profile Image for Mindy Alyse Weiss.
135 reviews17 followers
July 29, 2021
I love this encouraging story of a girl who doesn’t think she’s good at anything…until she bakes with her supportive abuela who shows by example that if you don’t succeed at first, you can always try again. And again. This should inspire children to figure out what they’re good at.

It’s sprinkled with Spanish words, humor, and a recipe that looks delicious.
Profile Image for Delia Ruiz.
Author 5 books10 followers
June 24, 2021
Raise your hand if you get frustrated easily when things don't work out on your first try? ME- guilty!

📚In Bella's Recipe for Success, we meet Bella who thinks she's not good at anything. She tries somersaults, playing the piano, and even baking but stops because she's not as good as her family members. Little does she realize she can learn those skills by practicing and not giving up!

👵🏽Thanks to her abuelita's patience, Bella gives baking another chance. Even though Bella's first attempt at dulce de leche frosting looks like cocodrilo skin, she decides to try again. While Bella makes mistakes along the way and forgets ingredients too, she does not give up and tries again until TA-DA her recipe turns out a success!

💖Bella's Recipe for Success shows us it's okay to make mistakes and to keep practicing on the things we want to get better at. I love the sprinkle of Spanish words throughout the text as well as the polvorones recipe in the back-YUM!
Profile Image for Theresa Trinder.
Author 15 books10 followers
February 10, 2021
Everyone in my household can identify with Bella, who just wants to be good at something! And even though it feels like the world demands perfection on the very first try, what really helps us learn and grow is practice. We tell our kids this all the time, but it’s much more likely to click by reading a fun and funny story like this one, with somersaults like “jirafes rolling down hills,” and dulce de leche that “looks like cocodrilo skin.” But thanks to a pinch of patience—and some loving guidance from her abuela, who “sees everything,” Bella turns a "disaster" into a success, and inspires us to be kind to ourselves. Because we’re all still learning something.
Profile Image for Moni Hadley.
Author 4 books31 followers
January 23, 2021
Are you looking for the recipe for success? It’s right here! In this story, Bella, the main character, compares herself to a sister and brother who seem to be good at gymnastics and piano. Bella wants to be good at something. With the help of her Abuela, she learns that mistakes are okay! Told in English but peppered with words in Spanish, this is el perfecto libro for kids who might need a little boost in confidence.
Profile Image for Anne Wynter.
Author 8 books56 followers
August 14, 2021
This is a book I wish I'd had as a kid. It's the story of how Bella tries - and fails - at things that seem to come easily for everyone else. She realizes - to her dismay - she's not good at anything! But when she makes polvorones con dulce de leche with her abuela - and when she messes up several times - she learns how important it is to keep trying. This book has such a great message, and it's shared in a fun, relatable way that kids will love.
Profile Image for Taylor.
Author 3 books15 followers
January 23, 2021
This is a great book for any child (or adult!) who is a perfectionist! Beautiful illustrations and a sweet abuela take the reader on a journey through frustration and despair to realizing that everyone needs to practice in order to be good at something.
Profile Image for Hannah Roy.
45 reviews1 follower
October 13, 2021
So many great layers to this book! I love how it works Spanish vocabulary in seamlessly, while showcasing a young Latina girl who learns not to give up on her goal of making a very special treat. Can’t wait to try the real recipe in the back!
Profile Image for Alison Marcotte.
Author 1 book14 followers
January 23, 2021
I can definitely relate to Bella in "Bella's Recipe for Success"! Her siblings have already discovered their talents — her brother is a talented pianist and her sister is an accomplished gymnast. Bella struggles with finding her talent; maybe she can be a baker like her abuela? But Bella keeps making mistakes, forgetting ingredients and dropping plates. She wants to give up hope, but her abuela encourages her to keep going. Bella's persistence, determination, and resilience is inspirational, and it's a message that all kids and adults should hear! Everyone began as a beginner, and we need to make mistakes to grow and become better at anything — whether it's a hobby, a career, etc. I'm so excited to see this book get published in 2021!
Profile Image for Afoma (Reading Middle Grade).
616 reviews336 followers
September 10, 2021
Bella’s Recipe for Success is a poignant growth-mindset picture book for kids facing new challenges. With a relatable protagonist and lots of Spanish words throughout the text, this book is perfect for kids interested in learning Spanish. It also features lots of Spanish desserts and warm family dynamics. I would highly recommend this to all picture book lovers.

Read my full review on my blog.

Many thanks to the author for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Alexandra Alessandri.
Author 6 books87 followers
June 17, 2021
I love this sweet, sweet story about learning to find your own strengths and never giving up. This is the story of Bella, who's trying to find what she's good at and tries comparing herself to the members of her family. But, with the help of her Abuela and with a sprinkle of patience and a heap of practice, Bella finds something she's good at. I love Bella so much, and she reminds me at times of my own son, who wished to get things right from the start. It's a beautiful story with so much heart and humor that will resonate with readers everywhere and that teaches the need for patience and perseverance. The illustrations are vivid and lovely, too. A wonderful addition to homes, schools, and libraries everywhere!
Profile Image for Tracy Gold.
Author 5 books35 followers
September 9, 2021
Oh my goodness, this book is so adorable and totally speaks to my heart as someone who bakes "with" my toddler on a regular basis. The message of this book is so needed for kids--KEEP TRYING! No one is perfect! Bella thinks she's a total failure and the rest of her family is perfect, until she learns that everyone in her family makes mistakes, and all she has to do to succeed is keep trying. A wonderful picture book about perseverance. Bonus: a great chance to learn and practice some light Spanish vocabulary!
Profile Image for Susannah Aziz.
Author 1 book11 followers
July 7, 2021
Bella's Recipe for Success is the perfect read for building up a child's confidence. I love that the story highlighted that practice makes perfect! I admired the relationship between Bella and her very patient Abuela. I loved that the characters were doing cartwheels in the living room, because I think every kid has tried this at least once, usually ending in disaster! This book teaches so many valuable things within the pages, and most importantly reminds us that growing up is all about trial and error...and with perseverance comes success!
Profile Image for Amitha.
Author 4 books17 followers
March 17, 2021
This is a delightful book about perseverance and baking! This book reminded me so much of one my daughters who is very hard on herself when she doesn't get things right the first time. I'll bet a lot of kids (and their parents) will relate.

(review based on digital early review copy)
Profile Image for Anita Yasuda.
Author 201 books7 followers
October 22, 2021
A lovely story about never giving up. The author has seamlessly woven the English and Spanish text together making for a fun and enriching read aloud book. Would make a great addition to any primary classroom.
Profile Image for Rainbow Reads.
113 reviews7 followers
August 17, 2021
Bella’s Recipe for Success follows a young Latinx girl named Bella who is trying to figure out what she’s good at. Her sister is a talented gymnast and her brother is a talented musician, but Bella is struggling to find her hidden talent. She tries baking polvorones with her abuela, but her first attempt goes all wrong. Though she struggles, Bella learns that being good at something takes hard work, perseverance, and patience.

The illustrations by Geraldine Rodríguez are so fun! The way she captures the facial expressions of each character brings so much emotion and personality to every single page.

With Spanish vocabulary peppered throughout, Bella’s Recipe for Success would be a fantastic addition to classroom libraries. Plus, there’s a recipe for polvorones con dulche de leche that I can’t wait to try. My baking skills are not great, but I will take a lesson from Bella and practice.

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of Bella’s Recipe For Success.

Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Storygraph

64 reviews3 followers
August 24, 2021

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher and an award-winning children's book author based in Tampa, Florida. Before Bella's Recipe for Success, she published children's books in Portuguese in Brazil and in Spanish for the foreign language educational markets. Ana is also a global educator, a PBS Media innovator, and an SCBWI member.

Geraldine Rodríguez is a Mexican illustrator and digital artist who enjoys telling stories through colors and lines. In addition to Bella's Recipe for Success, Geraldine is the illustrator of Cinco de Mayo and the Adventures of Samuel Oliver series.

The most important thing is the title. The title of this book is perfect and I really like the book cover, it really shows that what the book holds and make the book eye-catchy at a very first look.

Characters are beautifully portrayed and the author's writing skill is brilliant.

This book will teaches the children to accept the failure and try to do the same thing again and again until you achieve it. One can be perfect in anything, but it needs time and practice only.

The book is about Bella who found that everyone around her is talented. Her brother is good at playing the piano and her sister is good at gymnastics. But Bella always tries and fails in every activity. Will she able to find her talent or How did she achieve it?

The most important thing I love is the spanish vocabulary.

I will not reveal anything and give spoilers but I will give suggest evryone out there to go and grab the copy of this book. If you are finding something good for your children then this book is definitely for you.

Overall, it was an incredible read and I liked the book so much. The plot is completely intriguing and gripping as well.
Profile Image for Marta.
Author 15 books13 followers
May 16, 2022
BELLA'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS by Ana Siqueira is a glimpse into a multi-generational Latine family and the good advice about finding what you're good at and not giving up until you do. As a former teacher of ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), I am selective about bilingual books that don't read fluently for those who don't speak the other language, in this case, Spanish. This is a bilingual story, but Engish-only speakers can understand almost all of it from context. Bella can't do cartwheels, and her piano playing sounds like elephant feet, but her abuela gets her into baking. Although her first attempt at dulce de leche is a bust, she eventually gets it right and bakes some polvorones the whole family can enjoy. The family relationships can be understood via illustrations and translations (abuela, hermano, hermana). Words such as fabuloso are cognates with similar meaning and therefore easy to understand. The cookies Bella bakes, polvorones with dulce de leche have no adequate English version, and cannot (nor should they) be translated. In addition, their meaning is understood from the illustrations. The one possible exception was the word jirafa. Without an illustration, it could have meant anything, and it is spelled differently enough from giraffe to confuse non-English speakers. In general the non-Spanish speaker can easily understand this charming book and its important theme: keep trying.
Profile Image for Barbara.
13.2k reviews277 followers
August 5, 2021
Faced with the accomplishments and successes of her older siblings, Bella feels less than worthy. She tries her hand at various activities but never really succeeds, partly because she quits so easily and isn't very persistent. But with the support of her grandmother, she decides to try her hand at baking and frosting cookies. As every baker or cook has experienced, her first attempts are disastrous, and she makes mistake after mistake. But after several trials and much encouragement, Bella manages to produce some yummy treats, realizing along the way that everyone makes mistakes, even those talented siblings of hers, and that becoming good at something requires patience and practice. The digital illustrations are lively and filled with warmth as is the text, which contains some Spanish terms. There is even a recipe in the back matter for those readers who might like to try their hand at some baking. The message here is clear that everyone has something he/she/they can do well and that even the most talented individuals have had to work hard to develop their skills.
Profile Image for CK Malone.
63 reviews7 followers
August 4, 2021
I adore this wonderfully written book by Ana Siqueria with expert illustrations by Geraldine Rodriguez so very much! I think what really works here is kids will read about a spunky character who tries to find exactly what she's good at doing. Some kiddos want to excel in sports like gymnastics--I so much wanted to!--but can't for one reason or another no matter the attempts. Ditto to music.

I also enjoyed the familial aspect of this book. Abuela is a lovely character who uses her baking to teach Bella an invaluable lesson: Try and try again until you find something you're not only good at but also find something you, ultimately, love to do. I also feel like the Spanish words really added to the flavor of this book. (So did the recipe!!! YUM!!!!)

This is hands down one of my new favorites. In fact, I liked it so much we bought 5 copies for the libraries in the district. I can't wait for students to discover Bella and their own recipes for success!
Profile Image for Alex.
48 reviews4 followers
January 16, 2022
Abuela says "sometimes that happens, Bella. We can always try again."

Bella can truly relate to me, because each time I fail at something on the first try I continuously feel blameworthy and somehow compare myself to my sister and my closeish friend and that's not good I know 😞

This story is encouraging so that we don't give up easily and get frustrated about what we do if we fail on the first try. Even someone who succeeds they must felt failure and make mistakes, failure is the beginning of success, right?

The story is also heartwarming, because my grandma would moreover cheer me up when I failed and felt I had no talent.

"Everyone make mistakes sometimes"

Moving on to the illustrations, I really like the art style and the color combination is really pleasing to the eye. Thank you for Ana Siqueira for the good written and Geraldine Rodraiguez for making the lovely illustrations.
Profile Image for Christine Zandt.
Author 5 books27 followers
August 18, 2021
I like how the sentiment of this book (we all need to practice) is conveyed in a fun way. As someone who loves to cook and bake, the recipe element really resonated with me. It's so true, we've all had flops in the kitchen and in other areas of our lives. Still, Bella learns from her grandma how to stick with it, even when it seems her siblings catch onto things quickly. As they say, keep your eyes on your own paper!

The recipes in the back add another dimension. It made me laugh that the recipe for dulce de leche has three choices, the first being buy from the store! This is truly baking for all levels of skills. The heart and humor of the author shine through and are accentuated by bright illustrations that capture the range of emotions as Bella tries until she succeeds.

Spanish words are peppered throughout and, though undefined, are easily understood in context.
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,447 reviews13 followers
September 7, 2021
Picture book. Bella feels like her sister is great at cartwheels and her brother is awesome at piano, but she might not be good at anything. She tries to be a great baker like her abuela, but her cookies turn out salty or hard as rocks. But with abuela's help and careful observation of her siblings, she realizes that everybody has to practice and maybe if she does, she can be a good baker after all. Includes a recipe for polvorones cookies with dulce de leche.

This is a simple story about finding our own interests and the merit of practicing a new skill. The characters are Hispanic and Spanish is sprinkled throughout the text, with no Italics or bold print to separate out the Spanish words as any different. The family includes three siblings and their grandmother, with no indication of whether the parents are present or not. A simple story to boost the value of persistence.
Profile Image for Jocelyn Rish.
Author 5 books12 followers
September 10, 2021
A sweet story about practice, persistence, and being okay with making mistakes. Bella feels discouraged because her brother is great at piano and her sister is great at gymnastics, while she's bad at both and doesn't know what she's good at. She decides to try baking because it's what her abuela does. Bella's initial effort is a disaster, but her wise abuela encourages her to keep trying. As Bella's additional attempts to make the polvorones also fail, she discovers that her siblings make mistakes, too, and they got better by practicing, which inspires her to keep striving for success. Ana Siqueira's engaging first person narration has us cheering for Bella (and giggling as she compares her failures to various animals). And Geraldine Rodriguez's vibrant illustrations beautifully display the roller coaster of emotions Bella experiences.
Profile Image for Karen Greenwald.
28 reviews23 followers
July 20, 2021
Bella admiringly observes her brother's and sister's talents and desperately wants to have her own to feel proud of, but what are they? She wonders if she has any talents after trying to mimic those of her siblings. That is, until Grandma offers her an important secret ingredient for succeeding in life. Soon, Bella braves cooking up her own type of success, one mistake repaired at a time! This is a great sibling story. It is also one that speaks to children who don't have a sense of their place in the world. Beautifully integrating Spanish words throughout, the story reminds us that there is a little Bella in all of us. If only we each had a sweet grandma to add a touch of azucar to our life lessons! Be prepared to make recipes located in the back matter!
Profile Image for PACL.
81 reviews1 follower
January 23, 2022
This is a great book for any child, but especially little bakers. The author even included a recipe in the back. The story is about a little girl who doesn't think she is good at anything. But with practice, she finds something she is good at and enjoys doing. She learns a lot of valuable lessons. There are also Spanish words sprinkled throughout, creating another opportunity to learn. Illustrator Geraldine Rodriguez also did an amazing job capturing this beautiful Hispanic family and their environment.

Thank you, Ana, for helping build Parenting Across Color Lines "Little Diverse Library"! As a parent and teacher of multicultural students, it's SO great to see a book featuring and written by a BIPOC author. Fingers crossed we will see more of these!!
Profile Image for Carmen.
66 reviews
August 10, 2021
It's not always easy living in the shadows of our talented siblings. In this story Bella wonders what she's good at? Is she good at piano like her brother? In the quest to find out what Bella is good at she realizes it takes a bit of practice to get it right and with the love and encouragement from Bella's grandmother and siblings, Bella keeps trying and learns it's okay to make a few mistakes along the way. She's not the only one that makes a few mistakes when you're practicing to do better at something.The illustrations are bright and engaging and I love that children will be able to make their own Polvorones and Dulce de Leche with the recipe supplied in the back of the book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 72 reviews

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