Written by Monica Brown
Harper Collins 2013

This vibrant picture book biography of musician Tito Puente brings the remarkable story of a talented legend to life.  From musical prodigy on the streets of Harlem to five-time Grammy Award winner; Tito’s life was full of rhythm. This Pura Belpré Illustration Honor book celebrates his dynamic career spanning half a century and crossing both musical and national borders. Tito Puente loved banging pots and pans as a child, but what he really dreamed of was having his own band one day. This is the true life story of a boy whose passion for music turned him into the “King of Mambo.”


“A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa. López’s pictures, layered acrylics on prepared wooden boards, convey salsa’s rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette… Multihued swirls and plumes emanate from Tito’s timbales and drumsticks; Celia Cruz soars in a costume whose fuchsia feathers seem to morph from the sea green waves below”.

– Kirkus Reviews


Pura Belpré Illustration Honor 2013
School Library Journal’s Top 10 Latino-themed Books 2013
American Library Association Booklist 2013
School Library Journal’s Top 10 Latino-themed Books 2013