RENÉ HAS TWO LAST NAMES/ RENÉ TIENE DOS APELLIDOS by René Colato Laínez


Pub. Houston, Tex. : Piñata Books/Arte Público Press, c2009.

Young Rene is from El Salvador, and he doesn’t understand why his name has to be different in the United States.  When he writes Colato, he sees his paternal grandparents, Rene and Amelia.  When he writes Lainez, he sees his maternal grandparents, Angela and Julio.  Without his second last name, Rene feels incomplete, “like a hamburger without the meat or a pizza without cheese or a hot dog without a wiener.”

His new classmates giggle when Rene tells them his name.  “That’s a large dinosaur name, one says.  “Your name is longer than an anaconda,” another laughs.  But Rene doesn’t want to lose the part of him that comes from his mother’s family.  So when the students are given a project to create a family tree, Rene is determined to explain the importance of using both of his last names.  On the day of his presentation, Rene explains that he is as hard-working as Abuele Rene, who is a farmer, and as creative as his Abuela Amelia, who is a potter.  He can tell stories like his Abuelo Julio and music like his Abuela Angela.


This is a delightful book about family.  When the book opens up Rene’s teacher gives him a name tag that leaves off part of his last name.  Rene thinks that maybe her pen ran out of ink and adds the rest of his last name to the tag .  As the kids in the classroom laugh at his long last name, the book opens into a whole discussion on why Rene’s name is important.

The book is told in alternating paragraphs of first in English, then again in Spanish.  What a great book to share with kids about the importance of names, history, and of family!  I think this book would open wonderful discussions with the children in your life.  Beautifully illustrated with rich colorful pages , I read this three times through in one sitting…practicing the little Spanish I know as well!


My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.

I am René Colato Laínez, the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, the Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. My picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. I was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. I am  a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for  Children & Young  Adults.

Prizes Each Day During The Tour

Leave a comment or a question here for the author and be eligible to win an autographed copy of Rene Has Two Last Names!

René Colato Laínez Book Tour

Jan 11     Leslie        Regular Rumination

Jan 12     Yolanda     Cuponeando

Jan 13     Marytza    Tartamuda

Jan 14     Lisann       LaLicenciada

Jan 15     Jen           Devourer of Books

Jan 18     Lynn         Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile

Jan 19     Mayra       Latino Book Examiner

Jan 20     Sheila       One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books

Jan 21     Ana Rod    The Sol Within

Jan 22     Carrie       Bilingual in the Boonies

My Amazon Review

I received my review copy from JoAnn@LatinoBookTours.com

21 thoughts on “RENÉ HAS TWO LAST NAMES/ RENÉ TIENE DOS APELLIDOS by René Colato Laínez

  1. Benita G.

    I think this is a fabulous children’s book. It fosters young people’s sense of culture and it exposes others to a culture that may not be their own. I love the fact that it is bilingual. Language skills are sharpened and reinforced through this process. It’s a great theme and I’m certain many young girls and boys will deem this their favorite book for years to come. Adelante en sus sucesos!

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Raquel Vega-Grieder

    This Book Sounds Amazing. I Love Books That Can Teach Kids Lessens And More While They Are Reading It. It Is The Same Way When My Kids Watch Dora The Explorer. I Love The Fact That The Show Like This Book Teaches English And Spanish.

    1. J Kaye this is one of those opportunities i wish I would have had when I was younger. I would have loved to have learned Spanish and now I struggle with it and it doesnt seem to stick. 🙂

  3. What an adorable book! I thought it was going to be something completely different, maybe hyphenated names or two daddies or something.

    Love that it’s in both languages! I’m like you…I’ve tried and tried to learn another language, but nothing sticks. Lovely review! 🙂

  4. This sounds like a cute kids book. I used to review children’s books all the time…since my boys are older, I’ve slacked off. But I always enjoyed them!

  5. kadybug

    My question for Rene-
    Was this book written because of a personal experience you had or just because you wanted to teach other children more about your culture?

    aksimmo at brainerd dot net

    1. The anwner is both. This was a personal experience when I came to the United States. Now through my story to want to expose to children the Latino culture of having two last names.

      Thanks,

      René

  6. The anwner is both. This was a personal experience when I came to the United States. Now through my story to want to expose to children the Latino culture of having two last names.

    saludos,

    René

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  8. librarypat

    This will be one to add to our bilingual collection. It is a good story to explain why many hispanics have two last names. There are many good books out there in the bilingual children’s section.

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