There’s a Coquí in My Shoe!
Ever come across a spider in your shoe? How about a tiny, talking, imperiled Puerto Rican frog?
In her children’s book There’s a Coquí in My Shoe!, Marisa de Jesus Paolicelli speculates entertainingly on what might happen if someone did. When her young Puerto Rican protagonist Armando looks into his tennis shoe to find a coquí frog, one of his archipelago’s tiny amphibian mascots, he gets to know the animal and helps his new friend Carlito get back home to the rainforest — with lots of interesting things happening on the way.
Puerto Rico’s 17 known species of coquí frogs, each of which has its own unique call, are all thought to be rare or declining due to deforestation, development, hurricanes, pollution, and other threats — with six species in danger of dying out and three species likely already extinct. Not only does de Jesus Paolicelli’s book stress the importance of conserving these frogs; it also depicts them with complete scientific accuracy, thanks to the author’s extensive research and the guidance of her friend Dr. Rafael L. Joglar, Puerto Rico’s foremost coquí expert and the leader of the educational organization Proyecto Coquí.
During her coquí research, de Jesus Paolicelli learned about the Center’s work to save the coquí guajón, or Puerto Rico rock frog — the only coquí listed under the Endangered Species Act — when she came across a past issue of our Endangered Earth newsletter. Now that newsletter is depicted in one of her book’s illustrations, being read by none other than a coquí guajón. De Jesus Paolicelli has been a Center supporter since she wrote her book, and we’re definitely a supporter of hers.
There’s a Coquí in My Shoe!, colorfully and beautifully illustrated by Tanja Bauerle, won “Best Educational Children’s Book – English” and tied for second place for “Best Children’s Book” at this year’s International Latino Book Awards. Besides teaching about conservation, de Jesus and Bauerle’s book shares their love of children and Puerto Rican culture. It’s now available at islaonline.com.
Learn more about the coquí guajón.
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