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Children’s Book Review: ‘Lights, Camera, Carmen!’

Created: 20 June, 2018
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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2 min read

“Lights, Camera, Carmen!” by Anika Denise and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gomez from Abrams Books for Young Readers tells the story of learning to adapt to forces beyond our control.

The protagonist, Carmen, is an energetic little girl who loves the spotlight. She enjoys thinking of ways to showcase her talents on stage and decides to take it to the next level – television.

Carmen decides she is going to pursue a film career by entering a contest to star in a cereal commercial.

The extroverted little girl films her talents with the help of her adoring little brother Eduardo who believes he is her “cinnamon-tographer.”

Although little Eduardo has no interest in stealing the spotlight from his talented sister, his adorable dinosaur costume captures the attention of the corporate leaders at Dino-Krispies.

Once Eduardo is chosen to become the face of the cereal company’s new campaign, Carmen can’t help but feel disappointed and upset that her younger brother was chosen.

In the end, Carmen’s father helps her understand that her brother did not mean to steal the spotlight and that he is her biggest fan. Carmen tells her little brother that the “show must go on.”

Carmen, being the driven talented young girl that she is, decides her path is to become the CEO of her own Lights, Camera, Action talent agency, so he can represent her brother.

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The charming characters and the sprinkled Spanish text creates a warm and familiar read for those who grew up in Spanish-speaking homes like the author.

Denise tells the perfect story for children who can relate to Carmen’s extroverted and ambitious personality, as well as, the quieter children who can relate to Eduardo.

The illustrations by Alvarez Gomez create the perfect combination with Carmen’s energetic and colorful personality. Her use of colors capture the vibrant relationship between Carmen and Eduardo.

The 32 paged book teaches children and adults that things won’t always go as planned but there are ways to adapt and succeed.

“LIghts, Camera, Carmen!” will be available for sale Sept. 11 for $16.99 and is recommended to children ages five through seven.

Denise is the author of four picture books including: “Starring Carmen!,” “Monster Trucks,” “Baking Day at Grandma’s,” and “Bella and Stella Come Home.”

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