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The Picture Book Buzz

Bisa's Carnival - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Having just finished spending a wonderful day with family, I really enjoyed this book and its focus on another celebration that focuses on family and gratitude - Carnaval in Brazil. I get the oppotunity to share with you a sneak peek at a gorgeous intergenerational book full of heart and celebration releasing December 7th.

Bisa's Carnaval

Author: Joana Pastro

Illustrator: Carolina Coroa

Publisher: Orchard Books/ Scholastic (2021)

Ages: 4-8



Family, Brazil, community, celebration, and creativity.


Discover the sights and sounds of Brazil through the eyes of a young girl and her great-grandmother as they share in the excitement of Carnaval!

It's time for Carnaval and Clara cannot wait to celebrate her favorite holiday with family, but especially with her great-grandmother. Even if Bisa can't attend, Clara knows the Carnaval parade will still be special. Costumed lovingly by their bisa, everyone takes to the street for the annual parade. But even among all the colors, costumes, music, and dancing, something is missing . . . or is it someone? With lush, lyrical text and bright, colorful illustrations, this book takes readers to one of the most exciting holidays of the year and reminds us that no matter who or where you are, love is always worth celebrating.

Opening Lines:

Under a rainbow-bannered sky,

trumpets, trombones, tubas,

and saxophones sing

Louder, Faster,
Faster, Louder!
It's Carnaval!

What I LIKED about this book:

Excitement builds for Clara and the residents of Olinda, a city in the northeast of Brazil, as the time for Carnaval nears. It's a very special holiday for Clara, Bisa (her great-grandma), and her family. Reminiscing about previous Carnvals leads to the search for the perfect fabric, and "sparkly, colorful, and fun" accessories. Carolina Coroa's bright digital illustrations beautifully capture Clara and her cousin's enthusiasm, as well as the diversity and colorful textures of their seaside city.

Text © Joana Pastro, 2021. Image © Carolina Coroa, 2021.

While Bisa isn't spry enough to join the family for Carnaval this year, much to Clara's disappointment, she helps create eight fantasias (costumes) for the kids. Then, blowing kisses, Bisa watches as the excitement and music pulls them into the huge parade -"We have Carnaval fever! No one wants a cure."

Text © Joana Pastro, 2021. Image © Carolina Coroa, 2021.

But even with popcorn, ice cream, confetti, people from all over the world, and lively music, Clara feels that something, or rather "someone is missing..." You'll love how Clara finds a way to include Bisa. This is a wonderful book which wraps the reader into a Brazilian holiday celebration as it shows everyone - visitor and townsfolk - coming together to celebrate community and "being creative, spontaneous, and surrounded by loved ones." While it seamlessly incorporates many Portuguese words, there is a partial glossary included. It's a wonderful book both for those familiar with Carnaval and for those to whom this is a new celebration. A book I hope finds its way into many libraries.


- make your own maracas, carnaval masks, rain stick, and/or ribbon wand. Then dress up and have your own parade and dance to the music in the movie Rio.

- look back at the great costumes in Clara's carnaval. Draw or write a description of a costume you'd make for carnaval.

- think of a tradition your family shares. How does your family celebrate? Write a short story about one of your family celebrations or draw a picture.

If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with Joana Pastro (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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