A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer!

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer! Book Poster Image
Captivating bio of Latinx star of "West Side Story."

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about the life and achievements of Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rican superstar best known for her Oscar-winning performance in the original West Side Story film.

Positive Messages

Follow your dreams and work hard to achieve your goals. Believe in yourself even when you don't fit the mold. Don't give up. Be bold. Be proud. Be strong.

Positive Role Models

Rosita is brave, talented, and persistent. She's proud of her roots, and despite humble beginnings and Hollywood's prejudices, she makes it to the top.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anika Aldamuy Denise's A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer!, beautifully illustrated by Leo Espinosa, tells the captivating life story of Rosita Dolores Alverio -- known as Rita Moreno. The Puerto Rican superstar is best known for her Oscar-winning performance in the original West Side Story film. Pura Belpre Honor winner Denise's lyrical text and Espinosa's bold and vibrant illustrations bring Moreno's life story to life in this gorgeous tribute to the life and career of the first Latinx person to ever earn an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award. This is an inspiring account of a strong girl, who despite humble beginning and prejudices follows her dreams to become a Hollywood star. Her story is sure to inspire little dreamers! This beautiful picture book is sprinkled with a few Spanish words. There's also a Spanish edition available. A two-page timeline at the end of the book is helpful in learning even more about Moreno's life of Rita. An informative Author's Note provides additional insight and talks about how Moreno has inspired others, including the author.

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What's the story?

A GIRL NAMED ROSITA: THE STORY OF RITA MORENO: ACTOR, SINGER, DANCER, TRAILBLAZER! is an inspirational story about a little girl's dreams and her journey to fame. When young Rosita moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States, she didn't know what to expect -- but she knew she loved to sing and dance. In the book we see young Rosita working hard to overcome a language barrier and deal with the bullying she experienced as a child growing up in a strange new country. Rosita grows up and eventually makes her way to Hollywood with a dream to be a star. Once in Hollywood we see her fight to be seen and heard, eventually reaching success and landing her famous role as Anita in West Side Story. By the end of the book we see Rita winning her groundbreaking 1962 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress..

Is it any good?

This beautiful biographical picture book shines light on the inspirational life of talented trailblazer Rita Moreno. A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Tailblazer! is a powerful story to share with young readers, especially those who have big dreams and may need a little inspiration to work hard and achieve their full potential. Author Anika Aldamuy Denise's detailed storytelling transports readers back in time so they can experience the challenges Rosita faces as a Puerto Rican kid growing up in New York City. Leo Espinosa's colorful and stunning illustrations help draw the reader into Rosita's life, her childhood, her dreams, and her determination to become a star. By the end of the book, the reader feels invested in Rosita's plight and is ready to celebrate when her hard work and determination pays off and she becomes Rita Moreno, the Hollywood star she always dreamed of being.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rosita's experience as a child in A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer! Have you ever moved to a new place or school? How did you feel? Were you ever bullied for being different? How did you struggle to fit in?

  • What is your big dream? What do you want to be when you grow up? What things could you do now to help you achieve that dream later in life?

  • Rosita received help and encouragement from several important people in her life, like, for example, her mom. Can you name an important person in your life who has helped you overcome challenges. How did this person encourage you?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love biographies and Latinx stories

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