Reviews for "Before You Were Here, Mi Amor"
2010 Washington State Book Awards (September 10, 2010)
The Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award
The 2010 Washington State Book Awards have been announced, awarded to seven outstanding books published
by Washington authors in the year 2009. It's always a pleasure to highlight regional authors'
accomplishments — without further ado, here's a list of the winners: The Scandiuzzi Children's
For a picture book: "Before You Were Here, Mi Amor"
by Samantha Vamos,
illustrated by Santiago Cohen (Viking Children's Books)." Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times Book Editor
(September 10, 2010) Click here
Red Tricycle (September 7, 2010)
New Kids' Books by Seattle Authors
Anyone who has had a second child will love Vamos's bilingual picture book, which shows
what a family does to welcome a new babe into the flock. Spanish phrases are woven through the
text and it's especially heart-warming to read about all the members of the large Latina familia,
from parents and siblings to aunties, uncles and grandparents. (Note: Look for Vamos'
second children's book The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred coming out this fall.)
Baton Rouge Parents Magazine (June 2010)
Interview by Elle Strauss, Author, "Clockwise" (June 30, 2010)
BOOKLIGHTS, PBS Parents (May 6, 2010)
"....the book brings a fresh take to the mommy-love category of picture books... Oh, and before we drift too far
from illustrations - or fresh takes for that matter - the artwork with its bright colors and bold lines is a
nice change from the usual pastels that tend to dominate these books about a mother's love. Definitely a keeper,
and if you don't believe me, you can check out the universal five-star ratings at Amazon's reviews."
Miami Family Magazine, (May 2010)
Magnificent, Mysterious Moms by Meribeth C. Shank
"...All cooperate to greet the infant, each with an offering that confers a blessing, choosing gifts
from their hearts to extend their love. The warmth of the bright colors and the content of Cohen's
joyful paintings supply clues for the Spanish words Samantha Vamos effortlessly weaves through her
story, ... the fluid narrative blends English with Spanish, furnishing a superb picture book for
bilingual families, and particularly for children who are interested in what happened before they were born."
School Libary Journal Sibling Arrivalry - (February 1, 2010)
Sibling Arrivalry, By Henrietta Thornton-Verma
"Becoming a big brother or sister is usually not the first change in a child's life. Depending on
the age, these hapless youngsters may have already weathered potty training and entry into daycare
or kindergarten. Some may have even endured the agonies that adolescence can bring. Often, though,
these supposed veterans experience real upheaval when a new sibling is introduced, bringing seismic
changes-both happy and stressful-to bear where the child once felt most stable. The books below,
fiction and nonfiction on birth and adoption for all age groups, embody the humor, insight, love,
and openness needed for youngsters facing this life event......
VAMOS, Samantha R. Before You Were Here, Mi Amor.
illus. by Santiago Cohen. Viking. 2009.... PreS-Gr 2 –
When Mom is expecting, siblings have questions about the time before their own arrival, and this book,
liberally sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, helps with answers. Children will be reassured by the
love evident in the jewel-toned illustrations and the message that they were anticipated with the
same joy as the baby to come."
Cynsations - (November 30, 2009)
New Voices: "Samantha R. Vamos on Before You Were Here, Mi Amor"
Grand Magazine - (November 9, 2009)
The Online Magazine for Grandparents & The Grandkids Who Love Them
"Notably, grandparents play a central role in Before You Were Here, Mi Amor
as both the grandmother (abuela
) and grandfather (abuelo
are featured in more than one scene, preparing for their future grandchild's birth. Before You Were Here, Mi Amor
would be wonderful to
share with a child about to have a new sibling."
Mothering Magazine - (September/October 2009)
"Cool Stuff Links" Click here
The Star-Ledger - (October 6, 2009)
"Great new books for children, from toddlers to tweens" Click here
Kids' Book Round-Up for 2009 by Elizabeth Willse - (October 2009)
"Beautiful- a category for illustrations AND language: Tie between two that bowled me over with lovely
illustrations and poem-like language I almost wished I could set to music:
"Before You Were Here, Mi Amor"
, by Samantha Vamos. The illustrations by Santiago Cohen are all joyful
in warm oranges and reds and magenta.
Children's Books Examiner - (September 10, 2009)
Interview by Lori Calabrese. Click here
The Mama Bird Diaries (September 5, 2009)
Drooling Over This - "The 10 Things I Dig Right Now"
Families Online Magazine - (September 2009)
"Broccoli, Babies, and Birthdays!"
The Seattle Times - (Sunday, June 21, 2009)
"Summer reads for kids" By Stephanie Dunnewind
"The charming picture book mixes in Spanish words as it explains how the extended family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, helps get ready for the new baby."
Parents magazine - (May 2009)
"Best for Babies"
Brimful Curiosities (May 21, 2009)
"The newest 'new baby' book out right now is an exceptional bilingual picture book.... use of numerous "beginner" Spanish terms also
makes the book an ideal resource for families interested in teaching Spanish as a second language to their children..."
The Chicago Tribune - (May 9, 2009)
"A mother soon to give birth is the narrator, using English and Spanish words to tell the baby how many
family members have made preparations... to show their love.... The focus is on making, not buying, for the new baby... most of
the Spanish words can be figured out by looking at the picture. The bright polychrome palette shows a world where not only
is the mother's 'barriguita,' or tummy, expanding, but so also is the extended family's space of love."
Cody's Cuentos - (May 9, 2009)
"Here is a lovely story for all the new moms and expectant mothers-to-be out there."
Hear the podcast:
A Leer con Todobebé - (May 8, 2009)
Entrevista con la autora Samantha Vamos por Dra. Helena Duch, Psy.D
"Beyond Goodnight Moon" - Miami Herald by Sue Corbett (May 8, 2009)
Read the review from the Miami Herald Click here
The Well-Read Child (May 6, 2009)
"This book is fabulous on so many levels. First, the tender story is something that many families can relate to, and it could
inspire parents to tell their children their own personal stories. Next, it's a perfect book for English- and Spanish-speaking bilingual families... But
even if you don't know Spanish, don't let it deter you.... Finally, the story's message is beautiful: an entire family is excited about the
arrival of a new child and welcomes the child into the world with anticipation, love, and open arms."
Read the entire review
OregonLive.com Review (April 3, 2009)
"Before You Were Here, Mi Amor
" is a new release by Seattle author Samantha Vamos. It's a beautifully illustrated book
that tells of a family's preparations in the months leading up to a new baby's birth, from the father building a rocking
chair to siblings filling a bookcase with books. The text is sprinkled with Spanish words throughout with illustrations that
show the meaning even without accessing the glossary in the back. The book offers a modest introduction to a different language
as well as an opportunity for those who are learning Spanish in preschool or kindergarten to practice."
Latin Baby Book Club selects Before You Were Here, Mi Amor as The Book of the Month/ El Libro del Mes (April 2009)
"Before You Were Here
is my favorite type of bilingual and bicultural book. Written in English, it contains Spanish words embedded in
the text on every page. No less than 70 Spanish words are introduced to the reader in a wonderful format that incorporates them
seamlessly into the narrative. An excellent book for English dominant families that are trying to introduce Spanish to their children
and probably an easier way to learn the language than through the memorization technique necessary with most First Spanish Dictionaries."
Just One More Book!! Review (March 25, 2009)
Tending and Tenderness: Before You Were Here, Mi Amor
"Generously speckled with spanish phrases and illustrated in homey hot oranges, pinks and golds, this intimate account of a
family's industrious wait for a new baby radiates pure joy."
Visit Just One More Book!!
School Library Journal (March 1, 2009)
"A tender love story about an extended family's preparation for a new baby. As the mother explains to her unborn child, everyone has
participated; .... Descriptions of the loving family and their various tasks are given mostly in English, with some Spanish words seamlessly woven
in and included in a glossary...."
Read the entire review
Booklist (February 15, 2009)
"Outlined with a bold black line, the illustrations bathe the family preparations in bright warm colors and provide plenty of clues to the Spanish vocabulary.... Similar to Eve Bunting's "You Were Loved Before You Were Born" (2008) and Anne Bowen's "I Loved You Before You Were Born" (2001), this adds a distinctly Latino flavor to the familiar theme."
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The Goddess of YA Literature – "picture books for a rainy Monday" (February 9, 2009)
"Everyone has a part to play in the preparations in this lyrical text liberally sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases. Artwork by Santiago Cohen is vibrant and stylized and perfect for this lovely story of great expectations."
Teri Lesesne, Professor Nana
ParentMap (February 2009 - Vol. 7 - No. 2)
"Local author Vamos weaves Spanish words into this lovely message about a familia preparing for a new baby's arrival."
Kirkus Reviews (January 15, 2009)
"A gentle and lovingly blended text provides a fluid telling with important and basic Spanish vocabulary woven into the English, from animal and body part names to numbers and colors.... This Spanish-flavored introduction, with its universal message of love for new babies and siblings, will become a favorite among growing bilingual families."
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