A Girl Named Rosita

The Story of Rita Moreno:
Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer!

Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

HarperCollins, 2020

When young Rosita moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland United States, she didn’t know what to expect—but she knew she loved to sing and dance. Working to overcome the language barrier and bullying she experienced in a strange new city, Rita eventually made her way to Hollywood with a dream to be a star. There, she fought to be seen and heard and eventually reached the pinnacle of success, landing her iconic role in West Side Story and, finally, winning her groundbreaking Oscar.

Brought to life by the bold and vibrant illustrations of New York Times bestselling illustrator Leo Espinosa (Islandborn), and lyrical text of Pura Belpré Honor winner Anika Aldamuy Denise (Planting Stories), this gorgeous tribute to the life and career of the first Latinx person to have earned an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award will inspire little dreamers everywhere.

Informative author’s note and timeline also included.

  • Also available in Spanish
  • A 2022 RISE Feminist Book Project Selection
  • A Boston Author’s Club Julia Howe Award Finalist


★ “An inspirational title for young elementary children. This energetic, illustrated biography honors her determined spirit with colorful exuberance.” — starred review, School Library Journal 

“Leo Espinosa’s illustrations are lively and animate….And the book is a positive, compelling look at the only Latinx performer to have earned a Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.” —Boston Globe

“This upbeat picture book biography…[is] for listeners who twirl and swish their voluminous skirts while singing into their hairbrushes.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Denise and Espinosa, both Pura Belpré Award Honorees, have created a motivating and touching story of a talented and determined Latinx woman.” —Shelf Awareness