The Treasure on Gold Street / El Tesoro en la calle Oro

A Neighborhood Story in English and Spanish

By: Lee Merrill Byrd
Illustrator: Antonio Castro L.
Translator: Sharon Franco
Hannah loves her friend Isabel because Isabel is big like a grown-up but she plays with Hannah like a friend.


Hannah loves her friend Isabel because Isabel is big like a grown-up but she plays with Hannah like a friend. Hannah loves Isabel because Isabel doesn't criticize. She's never in a hurry. She's always ready to play any game Hannah wants to play. And, unlike other grownups and some bigger kids, she doesn't tell Hannah what to do.

And Hannah's not the only one who thinks that Isabel is wonderful. On Isabel's birthday, everyone on Gold Street recognizes that Isabel is the neighborhood's real treasure.

Awards and Accomodations

Texas Institute of Letters, finalist for ChildrenÍs Book Award
Teddy Award, Texas Writers League
Southwest Book Award
Skipping Stones Honor Book
Paterson Poetry Center Children's Book Award, 2004
Accelerated Reader

6 reviews for The Treasure on Gold Street / El Tesoro en la calle Oro

  1. School Library Journal

    One of Hannah’s best friends is Isabel, a mentally challenged adult who plays with her. Like Hannah, Isabel enjoys taking walks with her mom, finding old toys in the grass, coloring, and using the wading pool. She’s just bigger, and since both her family and neighbors accept her as she is, even as a kind of gift, Hannah thinks that Isabel is great. It’s only when an older girl points out that she is “too old” to play that Hannah has any inkling at all that her friend is different in a problematic way. However, when Isabel’s birthday rolls around, everyone comes to celebrate; and Hannah’s mother shows just how special her friend is.

    This is at once a sensitive treatment of the mentally challenged and a celebration of the real-life Isabel. Best suited for independent readers, the text flows smoothly in both English and in the informed Spanish translation. The unsentimental tone of the text makes this a good introduction to the subject and could serve as a discussion starter.

  2. Kirkus Reviews

    Employing simple declarative sentences and a distinctly child’s-eye view, Byrd creates a full and subtle treatment of the interaction of a mentally disabled woman and the neighbors and family members who surround her. Narrator Hannah is still at an age at which she enjoys playing and visiting with Isabel, an adult who’s as light-hearted and free as a child, though Hannah’s readers can see, in the reactions of her slightly older friend Erica, how Hannah herself will probably begin to withdraw from Isabel as a playmate before long. Thus Byrd’s tale evokes not simply Isabel’s circumscribed but happy life, but also the life stages of “ordinary” children as they grow through differing attitudes toward the disabled.

    The illustrations are a fascinating combination of the vivid portraiture of Castro L. laid upon the cheery, Sunday-comics-style backgrounds of his son Castro H. Longer than most picture books, this is designed to be read to young children, and afterward discussed with them by informed adults. (The Spanish text sits neatly beside the English on the same page.) Cast as narrative, it is actually a work of sociology based on the lives of Byrd’s family and neighbors. An excellent introduction to the value of some of our society’s least appreciated citizens.

  3. Children’s Literature

    Based on a true story about a mentally retarded women, this story speaks to readers about power of friendship and its abilities to overcome physical challenges and age-related differences. Hannah is a young girl living on Gold Street. Isabel is an older woman who lives with her mother two doors down from Hannah. Although Isabel is technically an adult, her childlike ways endear her to Hannah who enjoys reading, playing, and taking walks with her friend. Although some children in the neighborhood don’t like to play with Isabel because of her age, Hannah understands her mother’s frequent saying: “Make new friends but keep the old, One is silver and the other’s gold.”

    Creative illustrations and background depict a multi-cultural set of characters ranging in age from a baby to an old woman. This corresponds well with the theme that friendship knows no boundaries, as evidenced by the neighborhood birthday party thrown for Isabel at the end of the story. This book, with text in both Spanish and English and its careful treatment of mental retardation, will help to round out any classroom or library collection.

  4. Críticas

    Hannah and Isabel are friends. Like Hannah, Isabel speaks both English and Spanish. Hannah thinks playing with Isabel is wonderful. But when an older girl points out that Isabel is “too old” to play with, Hannah realizes that her friend is different. Isabel is, after all, an adult. Simultaneously a sensitive treatment of the mentally challenged and a celebration of the real-life Isabel, this 2004 Skipping Stones Award winning title is best suited for independent readers. The text flows smoothly in both English and Spanish. The unsentimental tone of the text makes this a good introduction to the subject of the mentally challenged.

  5. Midwest Book Review

    Very highly recommended!

    Ably translated by Sharon Franco, THE TREASURE ON GOLD STREET is a bilingual English/Spanish picture book about a young city girl who befriends a mentally retarded women, who unlike many other grownups is always ready to play games, doesn’t criticize, and whose joy and love are a true treasure recognized by all. Written by an active member of the National Association of the Mentally Ill, and brought to life with heartwarming color illustrations by Antonio Castrol L., THE TREASURE ON GOLD STREET is very highly recommended.

  6. New Mexico Magazine

    The Treasure on Gold Street/El Tesoro En La Calle Oro is an unusual and inspiring children’s book. It is written by Lee Merrill Byrd, one of the founders of Cinco Puntos Press, and it is about a real person, her neighbor Isabel. Isabel is a woman with mental retardation, and the book brings to life her personality and friendships with the children of the street. The book is illustrated by a father-and-son team, and they portray the actual people, from Isabel to the author Lee. This book is rich in many kinds of community. Isabel inspires love—and her story is sure to as well. From the bilingual format to the unusual heroine to the lively illustrations, which combine cartoon and realism—this is a unique book for children, and for those who inspire them to read.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.