Book Review (and a Giveaway!): I Am La Chiva! by Karol Hernández

Posted July 9, 2024 by meezcarrie in 5 stars, Book Review, children, clean, giveaway, Karol Hernández, picture book / 15 Comments

I Am La Chiva book review

I Am La Chiva by Karol HernándezI AM LA CHIVA! by Karol Hernández
Lorena Alvarez Gómez
GENRE: Children’s Multicultural Picture Book
RELEASE DATE: July 9, 2024

For fans of The Little Blue Truck, Red Truck and The Little Engine That Could, a rhyming ode to a colorful South American bus and the collective spirit of its people.

Every morning, a colorful Colombian bus wakes up bright and early with an important job to do – to bring people into town to sell their goods at the local mercado. But when they run into trouble, it’s going to take a collective effort to get back on their way.

This joyful and rhyming picture book written by a debut author and illustrated by the beloved creator of Nightlights and Hicotea, follows the iconic bus, or chiva, as it navigates the rugged Andes mountains, celebrating the rich culture and landscape of Colombia that was so beautifully showcased in Disney’s Encanto.

On breathtaking mountains, where coffee beans grow,
I carry my friends to the green hills below.
I drive through the Andes, so windy and steep.
Me llamo La Chiva. That’s me! Beep, beep, beep!

I have been eager to read I Am La Chiva! since I first heard about it. The topic of a South American bus really appealed to me because, thanks to the stories I’ve heard from our South American friends & others who have traveled to that area, I knew it would be delightfully different culturally from what we know here in the States. And I’m always on the lookout for children’s books – or adult ones, for that matter – that teach us about the richly-textured cultures of the world through the power of story. Which means reading I Am La Chiva! was a no-brainer for me… and I’m happy to report that it was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Karol Hernández gives us an affectionate and fun look at a traditional Colombian bus traveling through the Andes and picking up passengers (complete with a hen and a pig) along the way. But even more importantly she highlights the beauty of community, not only through the collective spirit of kinship and camaraderie exhibited by La Chiva’s passengers on bus ride but also through how they band together to help each other – and even La Chiva – when needed. The rhyming text keeps the pace steady, entertaining its readers (children AND adults) while telling a winsome story and educating us at the same time with interspersed Spanish vocabulary and cultural insights. Lorena Alvarez Gómez’s vibrant illustrations burst with color and personality, making the beautiful Colombian landscape come alive with its vivid flora and fauna and, of course, the Andes themselves. Like the text, the illustrations also pepper the scene with Spanish and teachable talking points.

Bottom Line: I Am La Chiva! is a fabulous debut picture book by Karol Hernández, with gorgeously rendered illustrations from Lorena Alvarez Gómez. It engages children’s imaginations and humor (they’re going to love the pig who rides on top of La Chiva) while also teaching them about rural Colombian farming/mercado culture, the Spanish language, and the value of community. Your kids will beg for this one over and over, and you’ll enjoy it too. Also… don’t be surprised to catch yourself randomly reciting, “Me llamo La Chiva. That’s me! Beep, beep, beep!” Or maybe that’s just me…

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / loved it!

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Other Featured Books Set in Colombia

An American Immigrant by Johanna Rojas Vann

Karol Hernandez

Karol Hernández was born and raised in Colombia. She is an award-winning marketing leader, a faculty fellow at Lipscomb University, a public speaker, a backyard astronomer, an amateur photographer, and as of 2024 she is also a published author. She currently lives in Florida with her husband, three kids, two dogs, and a fish. Connect with Karol at her website.

Lorena Alvarez Gómez

Lorena Alvarez Gómez is a comic artist and illustrator who loves to work with color and experiment with diverse techniques. She is the author and illustrator of Nightlights and Hicotea and she has also made illustrations for independent publications, advertising and fashion magazines. Lorena works from her home studio in Bogotá, Colombia, surrounded by music and loved ones. She loves to paint, take care of her dog and read comic books. Connect with Lorena on Instagram.

I Am La Chiva giveaway

Penguin Kids is offering a print copy of I Am La Chiva! by Karol Hernandez to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read I Am La Chiva! by Karol Hernandez (illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez) with a little one in your life?

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15 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): I Am La Chiva! by Karol Hernández

  1. Sarah Evankovich

    I think this would be a wonderful gift for my sister who’s having twins. I think the boys would really enjoy it.

  2. Nancy

    We would like to read this colorful book about Columbia because we like to to learn about other countries and their cultures.

  3. Regina

    This book sounds like a wonderfully fun read for children ( or adults who are still a kid at heart like me). 😉 And I absolutely love the beautiful, colorful cover!

  4. Kasi Walas

    I want to read I Am La Chiva! by Karol Hernandez (illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez) with my niece because it promises an engaging and culturally rich story. The book’s vibrant illustrations and empowering narrative about self-acceptance and embracing one’s heritage make it a meaningful read. Sharing this book with my niece would be a wonderful way to introduce her to diverse cultures and important life lessons in an enjoyable and visually captivating manner.

  5. Bertie Anderson

    thank you for the chance and reminder. This book sounds like a wonderful, engaging and fun read for my grandkids

  6. Sonnetta Jones

    As a South American, I want to support this author as she shows my beautiful birth continent. There is so much to learn and explore there.

  7. wen budro

    I would love to read this book- with my little ones- because it looks super cute and positive.

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