My Papi Has a Motorcycle

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
My Papi Has a Motorcycle Book Poster Image
A thrilling ride celebrates love and Latinx culture.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids get a glimpse into Latinx culture, community, and family life. Teaches some Spanish words. Some history about the city of Corona, California -- once known as the "Lemon Capital of the World."

Positive Messages

Strong messages about family, the bond between daughter and father, the importance of hard work, connections to community, and holding onto memories in the midst of change.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This book offers positive views of Latinx culture and its contributions to growing communities. Daisy's papi is wam and loving, and the two of them appear to have a great relationship. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña, celebrates the love between a father and daughter, and shares the love they feel for their vibrant immigrant neighborhood. When the main character, Daisy Ramona, zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees all the people and places she's always known and loved. She also sees her community rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there. Filled with vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, we can say that this book is a young girl's love letter to her hardworking dad and to fond memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change. Concurrently published in Spanish as Mi Papi Tiene Una Moto.

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What's the story?

MY PAPI HAS A MOTORCYCLE is a radiant ode to a young girl's hardworking father and the California neighborhood she grew up in. Author Isabel Quintero taps into her childhood memories to bring us the story of Daisy and her evening rides on Papi's electric-blue motorcycle. Each evening, Daisy and her papi snap on their helmets and begin their ride through their city of Corona, California. Basking in her father's wordless expression of love, Daisy enjoys the ride as they "roar past" familiar taquerias and murals, sometimes greeting family and neighbors as they pass by. As she rides, Daisy absorbs the sights, sounds, and smells of her beloved hometown. Zeke Peña's joyous digital and hand-painted watercolor illustrations beautifully capture all the sights, sounds, and "redbluegreenorangepink" colors of this lively hometown. Familiar landscapes blend into one another as they ride by and Daisy notices the changes that loom all around them, from the abandoned snow cone shop to the new housing construction displacing the old citrus groves. Much is changing, yet love fills in the spaces between nostalgia and daily life shared with family and neighbors. 

Is it any good?

This beautiful picture book pays loving tribute to the author's California childhood. My Papi Has a Motorcycle is not only a love letter to her hardworking dad who showed her different ways of experiencing home but also to the beloved city and community she grew up in and the memories of home that we all hold near and dear. The market with gumball machines at its entrance and piñata hanging outside, the neighborhood "tortillería," the familiar sound of the "raspados" handcart rolling down the street -- all things that connect us to living in a community and makes this a story that Latinx kids can easily relate to and enjoy. A celebration of working-class people, the brown-skinned characters depicted in vibrant illustrations are every Latinx kid's dad, grandparents, and neighbors. The vibrant comic-like illustrations quickly draw readers into the story through motion and sounds and stir up cultural nostalgia. A realistic linguistic mix is also part of the illustrations and includes Spanish words sprinkled into easy-to-follow dialogue that's presented in speech bubbles, alongside English-only text.

An author's note at the back of the book reveals Quintero's inspiration and gives details about her fondest childhood memories. She shares a little backstory about the city of Corona, California.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Daisy Ramona's community looks like My Papi Has a Motorcycle. How is it different from or similar to your hometown? 

  • Can you relate to this story? Do you have a special activity that you regularly enjoy doing with your mom, dad, or other member of your family?

  • When you look around your city or town, do you see things changing? What are some changes you can point out?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love bilingual booka nd Latinx stories

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