Valentina was born on an island formed by fire, surrounded by blue-green sea. As a Galapagueña, Valentina spends her days observing the natural world around her. She greets sea lions splashing on the shore, scampers over lava rocks with Sally-lightfoot crabs, and swims with manta rays. But Valentina also understands the fragility of this wondrous world, and she makes a solemn promise to protect the islands and her animal friends.
This delightful bilingual story was inspired by the childhood of Valentina Cruz, whose family was one of the first permanent inhabitants of the Galápagos. Valentina is now a biologist and naturalist guide who has dedicated her life to the conservation of the islands. Whimsical illustrations by Pura Belpré Honor recipient Angela Dominguez transport readers to these unique islands, which shelter a diverse number of plant and animal species, many found of which can be found nowhere else on the planet. Come discover this beautiful world with Valentina and her animal friends!
Called a “born storyteller” by the media, Marsha Diane Arnold is the picture book author of 21 books, with over one million books sold. Her books have garnered honors from Best First Book by a New Author to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Smithsonian Notable. Recent books include the bilingual Galápagos Girl and Lost. Found., both Junior Library Guild selections. Lost. Found. received three starred reviews and was illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner Matthew Cordell.
Growing up on the Kansas prairies, Marsha lived in Northern California most of her life. Now she lives with her husband in Florida, near the Caloosahatchee River and her family. Besides creating stories, she loves scuba diving, hiking, traveling, gardening, and climbing trees.
Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City, grew up in the great state of Texas, and now resides on the East Coast. She is the author and illustrator of several books for children including the Pura Belpré Illustration Honor books Maria Had a Little Llama and Mango, Abuela, and Me. When Angela is not in her studio, she teaches at the Academy of Art University. She also enjoys presenting at different schools and libraries to all sorts of ages. Angela is a proud member of SCBWI, PEN America, and represented by Wernick & Pratt Literary Agency. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures. She’s delighted to still be doing both.
Where did you originally get the idea for this book?
I had long wanted to write about the unique animals of the Galápagos, but wasn’t sure how to approach the subject. When I visited the islands and met Valentina Cruz, a woman who was born and raised on the islands, I knew she was the pivot on which to place this fictional story.
What is your favorite thing about this book’s main character?
I love Valentina’s adventurous spirit and the joy she felt living among the wondrous animals of the Galápagos.
What part of creating this book did you most enjoy?
Although doing the final research for the book was quite challenging, it was also great fun. When I finally connected with the scientists who could provide the very specific information I needed, it was wonderful to see how generous they were with their time and expertise.