by Almira Astudillo Gilles
Illustrated by Carl Angel
Published by Lee & Low (New York) 32 pages, $16.
Available at: www. amazon.com and
Barnes & Noble, and Borders
Launch Date: April 15, 2001
A tender but vital tribute to a father's love and a son's faith from a talented newcomer. Willie, a young Filipino boy, must bring a bank to class for saving the play money his teacher will be handing out for extra work. His father gives him an alkansiyacoconut shell bank from the Philippinesbut Willie worries that Stan, the class bad boy, will give him grief about it. Stan has already been teasing Willie for striking out at baseball. But ". . .there's something special inside," his father says. So Willie puts up with Stan's jeers ("That's a loser's bank. It's ugly, and I'll bet it's empty, too") while he harbors a fear that his father's surprise will be something silly or that "only Dad thought was special, like the wooden water buffalo he kept on his desk." Willie works like the dickens over the month and when it comes time to crack open the bank, not only has he earned the most money, but the promised treasure inside the bank turns out to be very special indeed. An understated pearl of a story, humbly illustrated in deep-colored acrylics, with two affecting characterizations and an exemplary bond of love.
-extracted from The Kirkus Review of Books
ALMIRA GILLES (author) completed her Ph.D. in Social Science (organizational behavior), taught in the MBA program of several Chicago universities, and served as a corporate consultant. Two years ago, she switched to a writing career in children's literature. Her work has appeared in Skipping Stones, a multicultural children's magazine. Willie Wins is her first published book.
CARL ANGEL (illustrator)Angel's art work has appeared in the following children's books: Mga Kuwentong Bayan (ed. A. Lucas, Many Cultures Publ. 1995), Honoring Our Ancestors (ed. H. Rohmer, Children's Book Press, 1999). Angel's major exhibit in 1999 at San Francisco's Asian Resources Gallery, was titled "Manifest Deception: The Philippine-American War Revisited" and sponsored by the City of Oakland Cultural Division. He has also participated in exhibits in collaboration with artists from a different medium.