My Dad is a Clown / Mi Papá es un Payaso

Andrés, José Carlos (Writer), Natalia Hernández (Illustrator), and Amaranta Heredia Jaen (English translation). My Dad is a Clown / Mi Papá es un Payaso. NubeOcho, 2016.

A bright red book cover with title in white: "My Dad is a Clown / Mi Papa es un Payaso." A drawing of a child with large rectangular head gestures toward the title.

In this delightful bilingual picture book, a child learns about his father’s job as a clown. He’s always admired his father’s work—he makes people laugh! One day, he convinces his other father, who is a doctor, to pretend to be spies and follow him around. They observe him at a rehearsal, which looks very difficult. At the end of the day, the boy makes a decision: when he grows up, he wants to be a doctor with a bright red clown nose.

There is so much to love about this book. The narrative is simple and beautiful, with a sweet message imparted through interesting and descriptive text. English text is in black with a white box around it, and Spanish text is in white with a red box around it. The translation is excellent and will be helpful for youth learning either language. The art is whimsical and odd; the people have large rectangular heads and the color scheme is a bold mix of red, white, and black. And finally, rather than being an Issues Book, the child’s gay parents just get to exist. They are completely unremarkable (except for their cool jobs).


About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, and Legend Tripper
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