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How to Eat a Mango

Abuelita teaches Carmencita that you can’t rush mango-eating: it takes five steps to appreciate the gift and feel the love.

How to Eat a Mango by Paola Santos, Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

Inspired by her own childhood in Venezuela, Paola Santos’s mango-sweet story is a grounding, life-affirming take on gratitude for nature’s gifts and connection with family and culture. Juliana Perdomo’s cheery artwork brings Carmencita, Abuelita, and their mango tree to life with all the warmth of golden fruit under the sun.

Carmencita doesn’t want to help Abuelita pick mangoes; she doesn’t even like them! They’re messy, they get stuck in her teeth, and it’s a chore to throw out the rotten ones.

But Abuelita adores mangoes, and patiently, she teaches Carmencita the right way to eat them. Together, they listen to the tree’s leaves, feel its branches and roots above and below, and smell and feel the sweet, smooth fruits. Each step is a meditation on everything Mamá Earth has given, and in the Earth’s love, Carmencita feels the love of her Mami, her Papi, her little brother Carlitos, and of course, Abuelita.

When they finally bite in, the juice running down their arms, Carmencita understands. The mangoes are more than just mangoes… and she’s ready for another!

Available now!

Written by Paola Santos

Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo

Publisher: Neal Porter Books - Holiday House

ISBN: 9780823453887

Age Range: 4 - 8 years

Available wherever books are sold, including:

Praise for How to Eat a Mango 

    "Readers will appreciate the warmth and wisdom woven throughout this touching story of discovery and familial love.

A heartwarming—and delectable—narrative that readers will treasure."

Kirkus Reviews. STARRED review. Read the full review here.

    "A grandchild resists helping to harvest mangoes at the start of a layered picture book that melds concepts of counting, senses, and values. When Carmencita expresses a dislike of the fruit, Abuelita answers, “There’s more to a mango, mi amor,” and, counting in Spanish, explains five sensory steps to appreciating the tree’s bounty. (...) Sunny, shape-based digital images by Perdomo radiate joyous warmth and nurturing."

Publishers Weekly. STARRED review. Read the full review here.

    "A vibrant picture book that sets up a wonderful way for individual readers or an entire classroom to reflect on the natural wonders all around them."

SLJ. STARRED review. Read the full review here.

"(...)The heart of the story is the intergenerational love between Carmencita and Abuelita, which radiates warmth and comfort. Double-page spreads make up a large portion of Perdomo’s rich, colorful digital art, bright and full of musicality and movement. An illustration of Abuelita eating a mango with ancestors dancing on her tongue especially showcases the art’s meaning. An author’s note explains how Santos was inspired by her own childhood in Venezuela."

The Horn Book. Read the full review here.

"[A] colorful, sensational tribute."


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