Mamá the Alien | Mamá la extraterrestre by René Colata Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara
When Sofia’s bouncing ball knocks over her mother’s purse, what spills out is more than just the usual keys and wallet – she finds proof that her mother is a registered ALIEN, “¡una extraterrestre!” She’s even more surprised when her mother confirms that the card is “real,” that her “dream was to get this card” when she first arrived in the United States.
When Sofia asks her father if he has such a card, he explains, “’No, I don’t have a card like Mamá’s because I was born here.’” Sofia can’t help but worry if she’s an alien, too. Beyond the comical misunderstandings, Sofia learns just how aliens – from anywhere – can become proud Americans.
Author René Colata Laínez includes his own El Salvador-to-the-U.S. family immigration experience, added as an “Author’s Note” at book’s end. Cuban-born illustrator Laura Lacamara mentions her own mother’s American citizenship in her back flap bio, as well as the “fun [of] creating her own versions of aliens!” For multiplying multi-culti readers throughout our nation of immigrants, the book’s bilingual presentation adds yet another layer of accessibility. For all that and more, this delightfully clever Alien couldn’t be a more timely, welcome, necessary story.