Multicultural Picture Book

Chato Goes Cruisin'

Chato Goes Cruisin'

Chato Goes Cruisin' was written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Susan Guevara. The book was published in 2005 by G.P. Putnam's Sons.

This read aloud is designed for students in 1st grade. Chato Goes Cruisin' tells a charming story about two cats who win a cruise and end up on a ship full of dogs. The cats are miserable, but soon the dogs are in trouble and the cats must find a way to help the dogs. While trying to find help for the dogs, the cats stumble onto the ship they were supposed to be on that is full of cats. Chato and Novio Boy must make a tough decision to help the dogs rather than join the cats on their ship.

Gary Soto was raised in Fresno, California and is well-known for writing poetry. He has also written several children's books. Soto works to write about life as a Mexican American but tries to make the writing relate to everyone. Susan Guevara lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has won the Pura Belpré Award for both of the two previous Chato books. Guevara loved to study the details of the Sunday comics and included comics in this story to enrich the story and allow the reader to understand the thoughts of Chato and Novio Boy. This story offers insight into the lives of Mexican Americans through the use of cats as the main characters.

Chato Goes Cruisin by Gary Sato

Chato Goes Cruisin' Literature Review

Chato Goes Cruisin' has an appealing format and an endearing quality. The pages are filled with fun illustrations that draw the reader into the text. The picture book is also unique because it has comic strips within the text that provide humor and insight into the thoughts of Chato and Novio Boy. The book received the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award in 2005. Readers will enjoy reading about the adventures of Chato and Novio Boy.

The picture book demonstrates a unique language. Most of the text is written in English, but there are a few words in Spanish. The reader can use context clues to help them determine the meaning of the Spanish words. In addition, the picture book includes a glossary at the end that lists the meanings of the Spanish words in English. The unique language style helps portray the Latino culture to the reader.

The picture book also honors and celebrates diversity in a unique way. The book has animals as the main characters, but there are many different animals. Chato and Novio Boy are both cats, but they find themselves on a cruise ship full of dogs. Chato and Novio Boy do not like the dogs at first but throughout the story they learn to celebrate their diversity and choose to help the dogs rather than joining the cats on their ship. The picture book celebrates diversity in a kid-friendly way and uses the animals to represent the diverse groups of people in our world.

Instructional Sequence

cruise: noun, to travel for fun on a large ship

prejudice: noun, unfair opinion that is not based on reason or experience

1. State CHAMPS expectations. "Our conversation level is 0 when the teacher is talking and a level 2 when sharing with a partner. Raise your hand if you need help. Our activity is whole group instruction. Our movement is sitting on the carpet. Everyone should be fully participating.

1. Read title of the book. Ask, "Does anyone know what a cruise is?" Tell the students, "A cruise is a fun trip that people take on a large ship." I will show the students my word poster for cruise and read them the sentence I wrote about the word 'cruise.' Students will share with a partner a sentence that includes the word 'cruise.'

2. Ask, "Based on the title and the cover of the book, where do you think this story is going to take place?" [on the cruise ship, on the ocean]

3. Read pages 1-7. Say, "Prejudice is a big word. Let's figure out what that word means." Have students repeat the word. Show students 'prejudice' using a word map. Project the word map on the SMART board using the document camera. Explain to the students the definition of prejudice, some of the characteristics, and some examples of prejudice from the story. Ask, "Can you think of any characteristics or examples of prejudice in this story?"

4. "Do you think that it is a good idea for Chato and Novio Boy to get on the ship with the dogs and why?" Tell your shoulder partner.

5. Read pages 9-19. Ask, "What would you do if you were Chato and Novio Boy? Would you join the cats or would you keep your word and find help for the dogs?" Tell your shoulder partner.

6. Read pages 21-23. Ask, "What is going to happen to Chato and Novio Boy and how are they going to find help for the dogs?"

7. Finish reading the book. Ask, "Why was it important that Chato and Novio Boy kept their word to the dogs?"


I chose Chato Goes Cruisin' because it was fun and engaging for my 1st grade students. The book also has some words in Spanish, which was neat because about half of my class is Latino. The words used in the book were appropriate for a 1st grade class. Also, the theme of the book is important for students to learn. The theme is that it is important to keep your word. For my 1st grade class, I felt like it was important for them to learn about keeping their word. The read aloud was very engaging. The students' eyes were tracking me. Also, the book has several unique illustrations, which helped hook the students. I worked hard to read the book with good prosody, so that the students would be more attentive. I used a word poster to teach the students the meaning of 'cruise' and by showing the students a visual they were able to understand the word much better. Overall, the read aloud went very well and my CT was very impressed. There are a few things that I would do differently. I learned that my students need "wait time." When I write my lesson plans, I am going to provide time for my students to think and then have them respond to my questions. Today, I did not provide "think time" and some of the students were able to answer, but many of the students struggled to answer my questions. I also learned that I need to help my students respond to questions by providing them with a sentence stem. There are several ESOL students in my class and they need some of the extra language supports. Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped me to see that it is a wonderful way to engage students and expand their worldviews. It allowed me to see how effective multicultural children's literature is for teaching students about diversity.