Title: Halito Gianna (Gianna the Great Book 2)
Author: Becky Villareal
Genre: Children’s Literature, Multiculturalism, Genealogy
Halito means hello in Choctaw but Gianna was not to find that out for a long time. This feisty young girl discovers more about her family than she ever envisioned and can’t wait to share what she has found out! Come along for the journey!
Gianna is an energetic 4th grader who is trying to find out more about her family’s roots. She knows she first came to America from Mexico but is cautious to ask her mum for more details. But when her teacher announces there’s going to be a Halloween costume contest, Gianna screws up the courage to ask her mum about her father. Her mum shares what she knows and even offers a few clues for Gianna to follow-up on.
The next day, before Gianna can investigate her father in her school’s genealogy database, she meets a new student named Aponi. Gianna is friendly and helps Aponi on her first day of school. They get to talking and find out Aponi is Native American and speaks Choctaw. They become fast friends and by sheer coincidence, could be long-lost family.
A delightful chapter book filled with colorful cartoon illustrations which teaches children many valuable lessons: family, hardship, history, kindness, friendship, getting along with others and discovering your ancestral roots. I found myself rooting for Gianna as she tries to discover the truth about her father and what happened to him.
I highly recommend this book to both parents and children. It’s a fun way to start a conversation about where families come from and how important it is to cherish our heritage. It’s also a fantastic book about kindness and being nice to others.
I look forward to reading more from this author. She’s a talented writer and certainly knows her audience.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in the hopes I’d review it.
Favorite Character: Gianna. She’s such a lovable little girl who speaks like a 4th grader speaks. With her bubbly personality, I had a smile on my face as I read. She’s a real character with an insatiable thirst for knowing more about her family and her father.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Becky Enriquez Villareal was born in Dallas, Texas in 1954 to missionary parents. She grew up in several different Texas towns including McKinney. For twenty years, she has been teaching early childhood in Dallas Independent School District. For the past ten years, she has been completing family research. The grandmother of three she enjoys writing and spending time with her family.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N