Three Pockets Full: A story of love, family, and tradition


Available at:

Cardinal Rule Press | Indiebound/Bookshop Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Beto won’t wear a guayabera to the wedding. Nope! Nunca! Not going to happen! Beto tries his best to rid himself of the traditional Mexican wedding shirt his Mami gave him. He even gets help from his dog Lupe, but the shirt ends up back on his bed each time with notes from Mami, who becomes increasingly frustrated with Beto. Mami insists that Beto attend the wedding, and wear the shirt, because—after all—it’s her wedding! Beto has to accept the fact that Mami is getting remarried and that she wants him to wear the shirt, which is part of his heritage. The best book for exploring family, change, and new experiences.

This book comes with a Reader’s Guide for children, a free download from the publisher website. Lesson plans, activities, and discussion questions allow parents, teachers, and caregivers to explore the topics further and deepen comprehension.


  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Cardinal Rule Press (September 1, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1735345156
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1735345154
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years


THREE POCKETS FULL won five 1st Place Purple Dragonfly Book Awards in these categories: Family Matters, Growing Pains, Cultural Diversity, Picture Books 5 & Younger, Picture Books 6 & Older!



THREE POCKETS FULL was a 2022 CT Book Awards finalist in the picture book category!


THREE POCKETS FULL won a 2022 Northern Lights Book Award in the Family category!


THREE POCKETS FULL was the Grand Prize Winner in the 2022 Story Monsters Approved Book Contest!

It also earned the Story Monsters Approved stamp in these categories: Ages 3-8 Fiction, Cultural Diversity, and Family Matters.


THREE POCKETS FULL was a 2022 Chanticleer International Book Awards Finalist!


Praise for Three Pockets Full:

“Beto’s mother is excited for him to wear a blue guayabera to an upcoming wedding, but Beto is having none of that. Besides, he may be coming down with something, so he might not be able to go to the wedding at all. Beto and his mother send the shirt back and forth with notes in the pockets, until finally Beto decides to hide it. When he does, he discovers photographs of his mother and father at their wedding, and his grandfather is wearing a guayabera. A deeper reason Beto might not want to go to the wedding surfaces, as he and his mother talk about how much Beto’s father is missed. Beto attends his mother’s wedding wearing the guayabera and takes advantage of the usefulness of the pockets. Starting with playful banter between mother and son, this picture book reveals stronger emotions under the charming text. Bright and colorful digital illustrations show Beto’s loving home, kind mother, and playful dog. Brief sentences share happenings with readers, while larger, bold text emphasizes Beto’s determination to avoid the guayabera. An author’s note provides details about the origin of this garment.”

VERDICT A sweet tale about cultural traditions and the loved ones we carry with us, this title is an excellent addition to picture book collections.

–School Library Journal

“Latinx author Rodriguez’s debut picture book is a wonderful story about the challenges associated with change, family, and feelings. Beto’s mother is remarrying, and he is not happy about having to wear a guayabera for the occasion. Made from light, soft linen or cotton with two or four pockets in front and two tight pleats, the guayabera is a traditional shirt—also known as the Mexican wedding shirt—worn in many Latin American countries. Nevertheless, Beto wants to wear a formal tuxedo, and he and his mother wage a playful battle over his attire by passing each other notes for and against the guayabera. Beto’s opinion finally changes when he discovers an old box of photos from his mother and father’s wedding that includes happy snapshots of his abuelo and bisabuelo wearing guayaberas. Though never explicitly stated, it is implied that Beto’s father has passed away and the boy’s decision to wear the guayabera is, in part, a gesture of remembrance. The bold, digital illustrations incorporate both humor and tenderness into this interesting look at a cultural tradition.”


“Beto refuses to wear a guayabera to the wedding he has coming up, saying that he has better shirts he would rather wear. He and his Mami go back and forth, Beto refusing to have anything to do with the shirt and Mami trying to convince him to wear it. When Beto goes to the basement, trying to find the perfect hiding spot for the shirt so he never has to see it again, he finds some family pictures he has never seen before. His mom finds Beto looking at them, and they talk about how much they miss Beto’s dad but say that he could never be replaced. Three Pockets Full: A Story of Love, Family, and Tradition by Cindy L. Rodriguez is a must-read story.

Three Pockets Full touched my heart in a way I wasn’t expecting when I started reading it. It’s a book about family, but it’s also about grief. Readers don’t see this until later, but it is an emotion that Beto encounters. While his mother misses Beto’s father too, she has found a new man to marry, who she loves dearly as well. This doesn’t mean that Beto’s father is going to be replaced though, and this understanding plays a big part in finally convincing him to wear the shirt. Cindy L. Rodriguez has written a children’s book full of beautiful art that encourages interaction between children and the people with whom they read it, whether that be parents, grandparents, or other trusted people. I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to others!”

–Reviewed By Rylanne Burdette for Readers’ Favorite

“This is a story with a small mystery and a big heart, about the small steps we might take to confront big emotional hurdles, and above all, about the strength that love gives us when we act out of our love for others. Beto’s journey ties together many disparate themes: embracing change, being proud of our cultural traditions, and having the courage to confront the morass of feeling that familial connections might evoke within even the youngest readers.”

–Padma Venkatraman, award-winning author

Three Pockets Full shows the power of traditions. Readers will love learning about the guayabera shirt and how it allows Beto to embrace his past while stepping into a new future with his mother and David. Three Pockets Full will leave young and old hearts alike full of wonder and appreciation.”

Click here for the full review: The Winged Pen

–The Winged Pen