As the author explains: "Max wants to visit a beautiful boutique that sells handmade dolls, but he worries that other children will tease him. When he finally finds the courage to enter the store, Max meets Señor Pepe who has been making dolls since he was a boy in Honduras. Señor Pepe shares his story with Max and reminds him that, 'There is no shame in making something beautiful with your hands. Sewing is a skill—just like hitting a baseball or fixing a car.'" In addition to addressing gender roles -- Max Loves Muñecas also surfaces issues of the global economy, immigration, inter-generational solidarity, and homelessness. Elliott manages to introduce these topics in ways that are honest while also appropriate for elementary school. The story will move you to tears, yet leave you hopeful at the end.
— Teaching for Change
This is the story of Max, a boy living in New York who struggles with his admiration for the intricate beauty of the dolls (muñecas) he sees in the boutique down the street. He worries that as a boy he isn’t “supposed” to like dolls. It’s also the story of Señor Pepe, the owner of the boutique and maker of the dolls and their beautiful dresses, who tells shy Max about his childhood in Honduras and how he came to learn the art of creating dolls. Zetta Elliot masterfully weaves issues of homelessness, narrow gender roles, immigration struggles, and the global economy into this heartwarming tale of intergenerational solidarity. Does this sound preachy? It’s not. Elliot’s narrative is honest, accessible, and appropriate for upper elementary school readers.
— Rethinking Schools
About the Author
Zetta Elliott earned her PhD in American Studies from NYU in 2003. Her poetry has been published in the Cave Canem anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers. Her novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto's Black Storytellers, and her essays have appeared in School Library Journal, Horn Book Magazine, The Black Arts Quarterly, thirdspace, WarpLand, and Hunger Mountain. She won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books' New Voices Contest, and her picture book, Bird, was published in October 2008. Her first play, Nothing but a Woman, was a finalist in the Chicago Dramatists' Many Voices Project (2006). Her fourth full-length play, Connor's Boy, was staged in January 2008 as part of two new play festivals: in Cleveland, OH as part of Karamu House's R. Joyce Whitley Festival of New Plays ARENAFEST, and in New York City as part of Maieutic Theatre Works' Newborn Festival. Her one-act play, girl/power, was staged as part of New Perspectives Theater's NYC festival of women's work, GIRLPOWER, in August 2008. Her young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, was published by AmazonEncore in February 2010; her second YA novel, Ship of Souls, was published in February 2012. She currently lives in Brooklyn.