Maribel’s Year (Hardcover)

Maribel’s Year By Michelle Sterling, Sarah Gonzales (Illustrator) Cover Image

Maribel’s Year (Hardcover)


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Celebrate the special connection between father and daughter in this gorgeously evocative picture book, recounting the year a little girl and her mother spend in America while waiting for her father to join them from the Philippines. From acclaimed author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Sarah Gonzales, a poignant story perfect for fans of Joanna Ho, Linda Sue Park, and Matt De La Peña.

New country, new school, new friends.

A lot can happen in a single year. But one thing’s for certain: Maribel won’t forget her Papa, even when he’s 8,000 miles away in the Philippines.

After all, Papa is all around. He is the memory of feeding koi fish in their pond every morning. He is the constellation map as Maribel dreams of showing him her new world. He is the packages and letters sent back and forth.

He is everywhere except the place he’s wanted the most. But the bond between Maribel and Papa transcends oceans. So as the snow melts and turns to rain, as flowers blossom and welcome sun-kissed days, and as the leaves start to change and snow begins to fall once more, can Maribel wait just a little bit longer?

Michelle Sterling is an author, photographer, and speech-language pathologist. She lives in Southern California, where her summers are filled with reading, homemade ice cream, and long, golden hours at the park. When Lola Visits is her first picture book. Find Michelle online at

Product Details ISBN: 9780063114357
ISBN-10: 0063114356
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 9th, 2023
Pages: 40
Language: English

"A heartfelt, beautiful tale of finding home." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Digitally colored pencil on paper art from Gonzales portrays in painterly textures and lush borders the family’s varied experiences, while Sterling supplies tender exchanges and memories. The result is a richly laid seasonal feast that melds languages and traditions." — Publishers Weekly

"Sterling's descriptive writing uses all five senses to evoke American and Philippine culture . . . Paired with sumptuous illustrations of the changing seasons and family life by Filipino Canadian artist Sarah Gonzalez, these sensations come alive on every page." — NPR Books

Praise for When Lola Visits: “Debut author Sterling blends Filipino traditions with popular U.S. summer activities, creating a tender story celebrating culture shared between generations.”  — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A glorious celebration of Filipino American experience. This book—much like Lola—is something to visit over and over again.”  — Booklist (starred review)

"This is a beautiful, tender expression of family and love that spans generations and great distances. The illustrations add so much life and context to the words. An extraordinary expression of Filipino culture and intergenerational familial bonds."  — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Beautiful, sweet and warm. Like all the best childhood memories of loved ones, When Lola Visits feels familiar, friendly and faded to perfection."  — BookPage (starred review)

"Will make readers long for the scents and tastes the narrator describes, and the warmth and happiness of summertime. With a smooth flow of new vocabulary and a universal nod to the meaning of family, this will be a storytime favorite." — School Library Journal