Emergency Quarters (Hardcover)

Emergency Quarters By Carlos Matias, Gracey Zhang (Illustrator) Cover Image

Emergency Quarters (Hardcover)

By Carlos Matias, Gracey Zhang (Illustrator)

$19.99


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Author Carlos Matias and Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning illustrator Gracey Zhang deliver a stunning picture book based on a finalist in the New York Times Metropolitan Diary “Best of the Year,” about a young boy in the city who tries his best to avoid spending his precious quarters on tempting local treats in case of an “emergency.” A poignant, playful tale for fans of Matt de La Peña, Antwan Eady, and Jacqueline Woodson.  

Ernesto has waited his whoooole life to become a niño grande. A big boy. Now he’s finally old enough to walk the six blocks to school without his parents.

Every morning, his mom hands him a shiny new quarter and reminds him they’re for emergencies. If Ernesto needs her, she’s only a pay phone call away. But each day reveals a tempting new treat to enjoy with his friends: crisp packs of baseball cards, arcade games, hot tamales, and fresh juices! Ernesto has the coins jingling in his pocket, so how will he choose to spend them?   

Carlos Matias is second-generation Dominican born and raised in Queens. He currently resides in the Bronx, and he received a master’s in branding + integrated communications with a copywriting concentration from City College of New York. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Taste, Bon Appétit, and Edible Bronx. Emergency Quarters is his first picture book.



Gracey Zhang is an illustrator, born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She received her BA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She is the writer and illustrator of Lala’s Words. She spends most of her time among scattered papers and ink pots, and when she’s not at her desk, you can find her looking out train windows, watching and listening.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063271456
ISBN-10: 0063271451
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 28th, 2024
Pages: 40
Language: English

"Unexpected and delightful. Matias serves up a playful slice-of-life tale that bubbles with heart and gentle humor. A vibrant, bighearted account of a child’s first forays into independence." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] sparkling children’s debut from Matias. The creators convey bustling, life-giving bursts of sight, sound, taste, and smell." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A cozy step back into the past with a visual style reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, this book is sure to be a conversation-starter and a hit for story time." — School Library Journal (starred review)

"Set in the not-too-distant past, when kids could call loved ones from pay phones, this vibrant tale that began as a Times Metropolitan Diary entry celebrates Matias's 'first taste of sweet independence.'" — New York Times Book Review

"An amiable view of a kid’s routine in a bustling, friendly city neighborhood. An author’s note reveals this charming tale as [the author's] own childhood experience, when a quarter in a pocket and a pay phone on the corner meant independence for a kid." — ALA Booklist

"Full of independence and responsibility, but not completely immune to temptation, Ernesto may be a child of the ’90s, but the essence of his story is timeless." — BookPage

"Many details are snapshots of decades past, but the themes in the tender narrative are timeless." — The Horn Book