‘Pepito Has A Doll’ is the Children’s Book Every LatinX Kid Needs To Read

Pepito Has A Doll/ Pepito Tiene Una Muñeca is a bilingual story written by Chicago based author Jesús Canchola Sánchez. The children’s story follows Pepito, a boy whose best friend is a doll named Lola, but he can’t freely play with the doll outside of his home because of fear of ridicule from his classmates. 

The tale of Pepito is a very personal one for Jesús as he drew from his own personal experiences with family members who did not approve of him playing with dolls as a child. Similar to the story, Jesús had a lovely grandmother who supported him and reaffirmed that his love for dolls was perfectly okay.

Jesús shared the importance of making the story bilingual and how that representation can affect Latinx communities moving forward.

“I grew up in a traditional Catholic Mexican family. The children’s stories I was exposed to tended to be Bible stories for kids and books like Curious George. I liked them, but I would have loved exposure to stories that had boys like me in them. In the United States, there’s a rich and growing tradition of children’s stories that have touched on issues of diversity, but we need more that represent Latino families.”

Author Jesús Canchola Sánchez

“It was important for me to share Pepito’s experience in a bilingual story to make it accessible to families both in the United States and in Latin America. The offerings in Latin America of children’s stories that touch on issues of diversity are very limited.”

Illustrations from Pepito Has a Doll, an inclusive book for Latinx children.

When collaborating with illustrator Armando Minjárez Monárrez, Jesús quickly learned that Armando shared a lot of similar experiences being a boy who enjoyed playing with dolls.

“The process of working with Armando was a joy. We had a great flow. He was also a boy who grew up playing with dolls and he connected very personally to Pepito’s story. It became his story as well and the illustrations reflect that.”

Throughout the story you can see and feel how personal this story is to both of them. The images of Pepito and his abuela dancing together really drive home this sense of authenticity and makes you feel a part of their experiences.

Having an opportunity as an adult to jump into Pepito’s world and meet Lola was a very fulfilling and gratifying experience. This story will eliminate a significant amount of unnecessary conversations about gender, and provide a platform in which children and young adults can be their authentic selves without any judgment.

“There are still too many communities in Latin America and in the United States where a boy playing with dolls is seen as wrong. The central theme in Pepito’s story is to allow children to play freely without judgment. It’s a message that all of us need to hear.”

You can pick up a copy of Pepito Has A Doll here.

Written by Gustavo Oliver

Author Jesús Canchola Sánchez

Illustrator Armando Minjares Monarrez


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