Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them

>> Books of Faith >> General Reading >> Books for Young Readers

Lone Star Book Reviews
By Michelle Newby, NBCC
Contributing Editor


Michelle Newby is a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews and Foreword Reviews, writer, blogger at, member of the Permian Basin Writers' Workshop advisory committee, and a moderator for the Texas Book Festival. Her reviews appear in Pleiades Magazine, Rain Taxi, Concho River Review, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Atticus Review, The Rumpus, PANK Magazine, and The Collagist.


Lone Star Book Reviews
of Texas books appear weekly

Xelena González has roots in San Antonio, Texas, but has stretched her wings to fly all the way to Guangzhou, China, where she works as a librarian in an international school. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and library science at Texas Woman’s University, but her true training as a storyteller has come from getting to know other living beings—including plants, animals, and people who happen to speak different languages or see the world in unusual ways. All Around Us is her first book.


Adriana M Garcia, an award-winning artist, muralist, and scenic designer was born and raised on the west-side of San Antonio. She received her BFA From Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied fine arts in Valencia, Spain.




Xelena González, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia

All Around Us

Cinco Puntos Press

Hardcover, 978-1-9410-2676-2, (also available as an e-book), 288 pgs., $16.95

October 17, 2017



“Do you see, my grandchild? We have new life with you.”


On the most basic level, you could say All Around Us is a children’s book about shapes. “Grandpa says circles are all around us. We just have to look for them.” A young girl and her grandfather take a walk and identify circles: the sun, a clock, bicycle wheels. On a whole other level, All Around Us is still about circles, but these are the circles of life. “Here is another circle,” [Grandpa] says as they tend their vegetable garden. “What we take from the earth, we return.” These circles are thunderstorms and rainbows, planting and harvesting, birth and death. As above, so below.


All Around Us is the first picture book from Xelena González and Adriana M. Garcia. González is a journalist and librarian; Garcia is an award-winning artist and scenic designer. The women are childhood friends, born and raised on the Westside of San Antonio. All Around Us, benefiting from a grant by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, celebrates relationships with a sense of infectious joy.


González and Garcia are inspired by their memories and regular visits (with tacos) to their childhood homes. González’s prose is inspiring, but sweet and simple for the recommended ages of three to seven (preschool through second grade). Garcia’s illustrations are striking, uniquely beautiful. The neighborhood is recognizably San Antonio; the laughter in the eyes of grandfather and granddaughter is palpable.


All Around Us is all about connections, graced by ethereal images—the perfect children’s book for this season of celebrating endings and new beginnings.


* * * * *



LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE   copyright © 2015–18 Paragraph Ranch LLC  •  All rights reserved  •  CONTACT US