‘Today you can’t play’ by Pilar Serrano and Canizales

I’ve finally got my hands on a copy of “Today you can’t play” by Pilar Serrano and Canizales, translated from the Spanish by Ben Dawlatly and me! Very excited to see this in print!

The story tells of Emma, the new girl in the class who starts bullying the other children, including Ana. Emma starts dictating who can play when. She demands the other children give her food from their packed lunches, threatening to leave them out if they don’t. Ana understandably doesn’t want to go to school anymore. It’s just not fun anymore.

But one day, Zoe sticks up for Ana, first by telling Emma to leave Ana alone, then ripping up a note about Ana that was going around the class. In response, Zoe isn’t allowed to play either. But Zoe’s decided she doesn’t care anymore and when Emma demands some of Zoe’s lunch, Zoe doesn’t give in. The other children are impressed with Zoe’s response and little by little, the tide starts to turn against Emma.

As we talk about diversity and cultural representation in books, I love Canizales illustrations. They depict a real ethnic mix on the playground and our heroine Zoe is black.

It’s a great book to show kids what bullying looks like and to demonstrate that they can stand up to bullies and turn things around.

For more reviews, interviews and articles throughout September, take a look at the World Kid Lit Blog.

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