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‘Tío Simón ABC’: Venezuelan Culture for Children

We’re happy to bring news this morning of a new book: Tío Simón ABC, an alphabetical introduction to Venezuelan culture, as presented by the late folk musician Tío Simón. The book will be published by Fantoons and edited by David Calcano.

Simón Díaz, known as Tío Simón, was a musician, composer, and television personality who devoted much of his career to reviving and keeping alive the traditional music of the Venezuelan plains, or llanos. In Tío Simón ABC, he appears in lively watercolor illustrations, presenting Spanish and English words, some familiar (apple) and some less so (arepa). The book is bilingual, so readers who speak either language will learn a bit of the other—and some interesting dances, dishes, and plants as well.

Tío Simón ABC will go on sale in October 2019, and the publisher will donate $1 for every book sold to a charity helping hungry children in Venezuela.

Here’s a preview, and the full press release is below.


For Every Copy Sold, Fantoons Will Donate $1 to Venezuelan Children’s Charities 

LOS ANGELES, CA– Musician Simón Díaz, known throughout Venezuela as “Tío Simón” remains a vital part of the country’s cultural legacy, and forever in the memory of all who knew his musical work. To celebrate his immense cultural impact, Fantoons is poised to release a bilingual children’s book of Spanish and English words with a Venezuelan twist, to encourage children to both learn the words themselves, as well as the culture behind them.

In this beautiful book, Tío Simón—beloved Venezuelan folk musician and children’s TV personality—will teach you words of every letter in both English and Spanish! Children will be able to learn with Tío Simón about his home, Venezuela, as well as traditional food like Arepa! with a beautiful full-color illustration on every page that will spark joy in families of every kind. 

Assembled by Fantoons’ David Calcano, the Venezuelan-born creative director, recognized for his work with Disney Channel, alongside projects in publishing and animation with Rush, Frank Zappa and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Calcano, and his Fantoons team of illustrators and designers, assembled 60 beautifully illustrated pages inspired by images of Venezuela.

David Calcano says “Venezuelan culture is unfortunately fading away for new generations, and we want to change that! This book is a starting point to remind the world about the beautiful country I grew up with, and there’s not one better to show the Venezuelan wonders than our beloved Tío Simón.”

“In the spirit of Tío Simón’s generosity and kindness, we are donating $1 for every book we sell to charities dedicated to help Venezuelan children in starvation, it is our small contribution to help a country that really needs it.”

Simón Díaz, a.k.a. Tío Simón, has been a cultural fixture for Venezuelan and Latin culture worldwide since the 1960s. His children’s TV show, Contesta por Tío Simón, aired for a decade, and its messages and popularity earned him the unofficial title of “the Mr. Rogers of Venezuela.” His music has been covered more than 200 times in a dozen languages, and Diaz is a known influence on artists such as Julio Iglesias, Plácido Domingo, the famous Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and The Gipsy Kings. He was awarded a lifetime achievement Grammy from the Latin Grammys in 2008.

Features a foreword about his life and legacy by Tío Simón’s (Simón Díaz) daughter Bettsimar Díaz. 

Tío Símon ABC will be released in finer bookstores everywhere on October 15, and is available for preorder now through Amazonand Barnes & Noble, and will carry a cover price of $12.99.

Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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