Galapagos Girl / Galapagueña

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
Galapagos Girl / Galapagueña Book Poster Image
Colorful bilingual book about the Galápagos Islands.

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

Educational Value

Kids learn about Galápagos Islands, the animals, conservation, responsibility. Back matter is packed with information: author's notes where readers can learn more about Valentina Cruz and Galápagos Islands, a Fun Facts section that serves as glossary about animals of the Galápagos in English and Spanish, plus bibliography to support and extend learning.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about human impact on the environment, kindness, caring, and responsibility. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Story is based on life of biologist Valentina Cruz, a model of caring for your native land, protecting environment and its animals, studying hard, following your dream.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Galápagos Girl / Galápagueña, by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Angela Dominguez, is a story inspired by the childhood of Valentina Cruz, a biologist and naturalist guide who dedicated her life to the conservation of the Galápagos Islands. This beautifully illustrated picture book introduces kids to conservation by telling the story of a young girl's love for her homeland, growing up and interacting with the fascinating creatures that inhabit the Galápagos. The text appears in both English and Spanish on each page.

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What's the story?

GALÁPAGOS GIRL is the story of Valentina, a Galápagueña who spends her childhood days observing the natural world around her. She swims with manta rays, dolphins, and even penguins. She performs twirling pirouettes with sea lions, dances with lava lizards, and stamps her feet with blue-footed boobies. The Galápagos animals are her best friends. She feeds fallen plums to her family's tortoises and learns all about the islands as she grows. Eventually, Valentina goes away to school but understands the fragility of this wondrous world. She makes a solemn promise to protect the islands and her animal friends. She returns home as a biologist to become a nature guide and share her love of the Galápagos with others.

Is it any good?

Author Marsha Diane Arnold shares an inspirational story that taps into the universal love of animals and is a great read for English and Spanish speakers alike. Vibrant artwork by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Angela Dominguez beautifully illustrates the antics of the animals, allowing readers to see the love Valentina feels for her island. The lush colors bring alive the unique details of the Galápagos Islands' ecosystems and draw readers in, so that by the end of Galápagos Girl / Galápagueña they have fallen in love with this island too!

This delightful bilingual book also includes helpful information at the end of the book: author's notes where readers can learn more about Valentina Cruz and the Galápagos Islands. Also included is a Fun Facts section that serves as a glossary for readers to learn all about the endemic animals of the Galápagos in both English and Spanish. The bibliography can also support and extend learning about the Galápagos.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the animals shown in Galápagos Girl / Galápagueña. What are your favorite animals? What fun facts do you know about them?

  • How can we help keep the animals of the Galápagos Islands safe? How can we make our planet a better place for animals? How can we help the environment?

  • Valentina promises to protect her island and animal friends. What ways can you protect the natural world where you live?

Book details

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For kids who love bilingual books and environmental stories

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