Butterflies on Carmen Street

Presented by: Kelly Murakami, EDEL 411, Section A

Brown, M. (2007). Butterflies on carmen street. Houston: Pinata Books.

Information About the Book

Title: Butterflies on Carmen Street
Author: Monica Brown
Illustrator: April Ward
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Topic: Forces of Nature
Awards: Texas Star Book Award Finalist

About the Author

Monica Brown lives in Flagstaff Arizona with her husband and her two children. She is the author of many Latino and Multicultural children's books and has won many awards for her books including the Americas Award, Orbis Pictus Honor, the Christopher Award and many more. All of Monica's books are inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage and her desire to share Latino stories with children. Monica is now an English Professor at Northern Arizona University and specializes in U.S. Latino Literature and Multicultural Literature. For more details about Monica Brown, visit the link below.

About the Illustrator

April Ward was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where she discovered her love for drawing and painting. This sparked a move to New York City right after she graduated from high school. She has been working as a children's book illustrator ever since she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute. She currently lives in New York and works as a designer when she is not illustrating books. For a list of books that April has illustrated, see the link below.

Illustration from the Book

This illustration is done with Acrylic Paints and shows how much Abuelito admires his granddaughter, Julianita and her interest in Monarch Butterflies.

3 Criteria for a Culturally Relevant Book

1. Have an appealing format and be of endearing quality. This book's format makes it easy to read and also draws the reader into each beautiful illustration. The left page of each spread holds the stories text. The page is divided in half by an illustration and the top half is the book written in English. The bottom half of the book is the text in Spanish. This book is of endearing quality because it shows the love the Abuelito has for his Mexican heritage and his love for his granddaughter and her interests.

2. Names of characters should be culturally authentic and their personalities should reflect believable attributes. The names of the characters in the book are culturally authentic to the Hispanic culture. The granddaughter's name is Julianita and the grandfather is called Abuelito which is Spanish for Grandfather. Julianita calls her parents by Mami and Papi which is common for families of Mexican heritage. Julianita's teacher, who was born in Mexico, is named Ms. Rodriguez. Her friend who, from the illustrations, appears to be of Hispanic descent, is named Isabela Garcia. All of the characters have very believable personalities and attributes.

3. Language should reflect distinctive vocabulary, style and patterns of speech of the cultural group. This book includes the story written completely in English and completely in Spanish. The Spanish version is written in the style that Spanish speaking natives would speak. The English version of the story includes words such as "Abuelito" which is reflective of the language of the cultural group.

Lesson Plan Idea

Grade Level: 2nd

CCSS RL.2.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Objective: The students will describe how Julianita responds to receiving her caterpillar, and having to set her butterfly free.


  • The teacher will start by reading Butterflies on Carmen Street aloud to the class.
  • The teacher will then ask the class how Julianita felt when she received her caterpillar in class. The students will think of their answer and then share with their elbow partner. The class will come back together and have a whole class discussion. The teacher will then ask the students to discuss how Julianita responded to freeing her butterfly after it hatched from its cocoon. This will take place in a class discussion. When responding to students answers, the teacher will be sure to ask why they think that is how Julianita felt and what from the story or illustrations made them think that.
  • The teacher will tell students that they are going to pick one of the scenarios discussed above: either when Julianita received her caterpillar or when she let her butterfly go. The teacher will tell students that they are going to illustrate how they think Julianita responded to the situation. They will also write a few sentences describing what they drew and why.
  • The teacher will put an example of a finished piece up on the overhead as a model for what the students are supposed to do.
  • Once the students are done creating their drawings and descriptions, their artwork will be displayed in the classroom.