When I started kindergarten in the fall of 1984 in Queens, New York, I walked into the brick building knowing, perhaps, only a handful of English words. Until that moment, my world had been colored strictly with Spanish. It’s what we spoke at home, between ourselves and with our extended family and friends. I don’t have too many memories of this time, but one sticks out like a blazing sun. My teacher had instructed everyone to prepare for recess, only I had misunderstood her. While everyone filed in a line, I slipped toward the back to get my book bag and lunch box. Then I realized everyone had left. I remember weeping in the hallway because I felt lost and forgotten. Thankfully, a kind teacher found me and reunited me with my class.
The emotional impact of that moment has stuck with me throughout the years, and it’s what inspired Isabel and Her Colores Go to School, which is beautifully illustrated by Courtney Dawson and which releases this July 15, 2021 from Sleeping Bear Press as an English and Spanish edition.
About the book: English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn--and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.
Without further ado…I’m so thrilled to share the gorgeous cover for Isabel and Her Colores Go to School here on Las Musas!
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About the Author
Alexandra Alessandri is the Colombian American author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman) and Isabel and Her Colores go to School (Sleeping Bear Press, 2021). She is also Associate Professor of English at Broward College and a poet, with some of her work appearing in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and YARN. Alexandra lives in Florida with her husband and son. For more information, visit her at
About the Illustrator
Courtney Dawson is an illustrator and picture book artist living in the sunny little town of Ventura, California. She has a deep love of reading, her mom’s chilaquiles, and most kinds of ice cream. Her work is inspired by the world around us and all the good that’s in it. When she’s not working, she can be found riding her bike, painting to Sam Cooke’s music, or enjoying a rainy day with her partner, her baby, and her cute cat, Tuesday. For more information, visit her at
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