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Growing Up in Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz writes a monthly column of book recommendations for young readers in Growing Up in Santa Cruz--a publication for families in Santa Cruz County.

Spare Parts by Joshua Davis

This is the amazing true story of four undocumented teens in West Phoenix who, in 2004, beat all the odds and won the NASA-sponsored Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition. Using spare car parts, they created a functional underwater robot, and beat out MIT students to win first prize. This is an uplifting story about four very impressive teens that will inspire any high school kid struggling to believe they can do whatever they want.  —Flannery

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Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374534981
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: FSG Originals - December 2nd, 2014

Los Inventores (Spare Parts): Cuatro adolescentes inmigrantes, un robot y la batalla por el sueño americano Cover Image
By Joshua Davis, Enrique Mercado (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374284503
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: FSG Originals - April 21st, 2015

Baseball in April by Gary Soto

This book is a classic. A collection of short stories by the poet Gary Soto, it shows how small daily events in our lives can have a much larger meaning. Based on his own experiences as a child in the Central Valley, this is a quiet, insightful book that tells the stories of eleven Latino children growing up in Fresno. It’s a lovely book that any child can relate to.  —Flannery

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Baseball in April and Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780152025670
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 2000

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera

If you want to teach your children about Hispanic heroes beyond Cesar Chavez, this is the book for your family. Highlighting women and men who have helped shape our nation—from Sonia Sotomayor to Roberto Clemente—and filled with quotes and facts, this great book shows a wide range of people in a wide variety of fields who have helped make change happen.  —Flannery

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Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes Cover Image
By Juan Felipe Herrera, Raul Colón (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780803738096
Availability: Backordered
Published: Dial Books - August 7th, 2014

Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

We all know about Jim Crow segregation in the South, but in California segregation existed as well, separating Mexicans and other Latinos from whites. Sylvia Mendez was a young girl who didn’t understand why she couldn’t attend the white school. Her family couldn’t get a satisfactory answer as to why they were being separated, so they sued, and won, ending segregation in California seven years before Brown v. Board of Education would desegregate the South. Duncan Tonatiuh’s book, written after he interviewed Sylvia, tells their story and includes Tonatiuh’s unique illustrations.  —Flannery

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Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419710544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales is the wonderful artist who painted the vibrant illustrations in Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, by Kathleen Krull—a great book that also garnered Morales a Pura Belpré Award. I wanted to highlight Viva Frida because Kahlo was such an amazing painter, and this book honors her so well. The illustrations are unique—incorporating various types of mixed media from dolls to paintings to felted animals—and the bilingual story is simple and perfect for early readers.  —Flannery

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Viva Frida Cover Image
By Yuyi Morales, Tim O'Meara (Photographs by)
ISBN: 9781596436039
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 2nd, 2014

Gathering the Sun by Alma Flor Ada

This bilingual alphabet book is filled with rich, warm illustrations. It takes you from the fields and orchards into the lives of the people who work them. Each letter from the Spanish alphabet has a short poem written around the word, and between the lovely poems and illustrations, it celebrates the people who work the land. I love it.—Flannery
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Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English: Bilingual Spanish-English Cover Image
By Alma Flor Ada, Simon Silva (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780688170677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins Espanol - October 9th, 2001

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English: Bilingual Spanish-English Cover Image
By Alma Flor Ada, Simon Silva (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780688139032
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: HarperCollins Espanol - April 28th, 1997

De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children by José-Luis Orozco

My second and third grade teacher used to sing us song from this book, so it retains a very special place in my heart. Filled with folks songs perfect for singing with children, this book has both the Spanish and English translations of the songs, and even has the sheet music! I love this book, and it’s perfect for anyone who loves to sing (even if they’re as bad at it as I am).  —Flannery

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De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children Cover Image
By Jose-Luis Orozco, Elisa Kleven (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780140565485
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Puffin Books - August 1st, 1999

Geek Dad by Ken Denmead

Given our proximity to Silicon Valley, most Santa Cruz dads are constantly searching for ways to bring innovation to parenting. Ken Denmead, who couldn’t bear to play Candyland one more time with his five children, had similar aspirations when he launched a Wired blog soliciting ideas to bridge the divide between kids games and all things geeky. Presto! Millions of tips later, Denmead compiled Geek Dad and The Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun, both filled with the best geeky activities to do with your children. Super- cool projects include electronic origami, making your own cartoons, pirate cartography and wind-up toy finger painting. Two books that both fathers and kids will enjoy.  -Casey

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Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share Cover Image
ISBN: 9781592405527
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Avery - May 4th, 2010

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

For analytical dads who want to parent based on facts and the latest research, Nurture Shock will both inform and entertain. Focusing on the latest neurobiological facts about child development, Bronson and Merryman dispel the usefulness of many modern parenting strategies while they untangle issues related to sibling relationships, lying, teen rebellion and childhood intelligence. calls it “a highly readable Malcolm Gladwell-esque look at the social science of child rearing” while the Huffington Post says “it will knock your socks off.”  -Casey

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NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children Cover Image
ISBN: 9780446504133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - January 5th, 2011

Home Game by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, famed sports and business author (The Blind Side, Liars Poker, The Big Short), tackles his toughest subject yet: Fatherhood. Chronicling the first few months after the birth of each of his three children, Lewis’ infectious wit and candidness provide one of the most accurate (and funny) portrayals of fatherhood I’ve ever read. Favorite moment: Lewis recalling his exhausting and excruciating father-daughter camp-out at Berkeley’s Fairy Land only to later decide that it was one of the best nights of his life.  -Casey

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Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393338096
Availability: Backordered
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 7th, 2010


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