Cabana is a young spider monkey who leaves in search of a new family when the fighting between her parents gets too much to handle. When tragedy strikes, Cabana’s parents learn they must put her best interest at heart.
This rhyming story is geared toward youngsters ages 4 to 8. Author Debra Máres, a veteran county prosecutor, turns her passion for helping families into a sweet story of triumph. I applaud the author’s desire to help children impacted by violence and abuse. It’s This Monkey’s Business teaches the important lesson of how some parents are better living apart and that single parent families can thrive when the home environment is safe.
The vibrant colors of Taylor Christensen’s illustrations bring the rainforest to life alongside the unfolding of Cabana’s story. I found the rhyming stilted in spots, but overall it worked. The one thing I missed in this book design is a back cover blurb. I was also a bit bothered by how tight the binding is, but in one reading it came lose enough that the binding tape became visible, making it stand out glaringly against the vibrant green of the inside covers. Those things aside, I’m thrilled to see books for children tackling subjects that matter to them.
Rating: :) :) :) :)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Justicia House; 1st edition (October 29, 2014)
I received a copy from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.
For Independent Author Debra Máres, violence against women is not only a topic in today’s news, it’s a topic in her crime novels, cases she handled as a county prosecutor, and now it will be the topic in her first children’s book It’s This Monkey’s Business. Debra is a veteran county prosecutor in Riverside currently specializing in community prosecution, juvenile delinquency and truancy. Her office has one of the highest conviction rates in California and is the fifteenth largest in the country. You name it – she’s prosecuted it – homicides, gang murders, domestic violence, sex cases, political corruption, major fraud and parole hearings for convicted murderers. She is a two-time recipient of the County Prosecutor of the Year Award and 2012 recipient of the Community Hero Award.
Debra is the granddaughter of a Mexican migrant farm worker and factory seamstress, was born and raised in Los Angeles, was the first to graduate college in my family, and grew up dancing Ballet Folklorico and Salsa. Her own family story includes struggles with immigration, domestic violence, mental health, substance abuse and teen pregnancy, which she addresses in her novels. She followed a calling at 11 years old to be an attorney and voice for women, and appreciates international travel and culture. Her life’s mission is to break the cycle of victimization and domestic violence.
Debra is also the co-founding Executive Director of Women Wonder Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization implementing creative intervention and mentoring programs for at-risk youth. In 2012, Debra self-published Volume 1 of her debut legal thriller series, The Mamacita Murders featuring Gaby Ruiz, a sex crimes prosecutor haunted by her mother’s death at the hands of an abusive boyfriend. In 2013, Debra released her second crime novel, The Suburban Seduccion, featuring “The White Picket Fence” killer Lloyd Gil, who unleashes his neonatal domestic violence-related trauma on young women around his neighborhood.
To bring to life “Cabana,” Debra partnered with 16-year-old Creative Director Olivia Garcia and Los Angeles based professional illustrator Taylor Christensen.
16-year-old Creative Director Olivia Garcia attends high school in Panorama City, California, is the Los Angeles youth delegate for the Anti-Defamation League’s National Youth Leadership Mission in Washington D.C., an ASB member and AP student and enjoys reading, crafting and knitting.
Taylor Christensen is a Los Angeles-based illustrator holding a BFA from Otis College of Art & Design, focuses on fantastical creatures and surreal imagery, and produces artwork for illustration, character and concept design.
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