Hooray, Latin America! This is my favorite region, for obvious reasons. :) I love sharing my background with my kids. I wish I could have done a little more to celebrate the week in other ways, but we started school full-time this week and I’ve been distracted. Best intentions and all that. ;)
(All italic descriptions from Amazon.com, and asterisks mark my own thoughts on the book.)
Miracle of the Poinsettia
by Brian Cavanaugh T.O.R.
Recounts the Mexican legend of how the poinsettia became a Christmas flower when a poor girl, with no other gift for the Christ Child, brought an armful of plants to the Nativity scene.
** This book is one we own for our 25 days of Christmas books that I have been collecting over the past few years. (It’s not actually on Jamie’s list – she lists “The Legend of the Poinsettia” and I thought it was the same book until I sat down to write this post.) However, we do enjoy this book too. It’s written in both Spanish and English, and I love sharing with my girls their Mexican heritage.
¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes
by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, English Adaptations Alice Schertle
Here is a groundbreaking bilingual collection of traditional rhymes that celebrates childhood and Spanish and Latin American heritage. From playing dress up to making tortillas, and from rising at daybreak to falling asleep, these joyful rhymes are sure to delight young readers.
** We really enjoyed this book. I first started reading it in Spanish, but it was annoying me that the Spanish and English versions didn’t match, so I switched to just English. (That, and my voice is currently affected by a cold so I needed to not go overboard with reading outloud!) I really loved the illustrations, though – nursery rhymes that every child could relate to, but the pictures are very Latino and I love it.
The Pot that Juan Built
by Nancy Andrews-Goebel
Quezada creates stunning pots in the traditional style of the Casas Grandes people, including using human hair to make brushes and cow dung to feed the fire. This real-life story is written in the form of “The House That Jack Built,” and relays how Juan’s pioneering work has changed a poor village into a prosperous community of world-class artists.
** This book is one of those double story books. The bigger text on one side of the page is a simpler story for younger kids, and the smaller text on the opposite page tells a longer, more detailed story for older kids. We actually only read the shorter one because of my voice, but I hope to read the longer one to Savannah later. I liked the rhythm of the words, and the building of the story so that kids can get a sense of what goes into pot-making. I’m glad we read this one.
Moon Rope/Un lazo a la luna
by Lois Ehlert
Fox wants to go to the moon. Mole does not–at least not until he hears about the huge worms waiting up there for him to eat. So the two of them set off on their adventure, with a little help from a rope of grass and their friends the birds. The bilingual text and bold art showcase Lois Ehlert at her captivating best.
** This book was actually given to me a very long time ago (thank you, Emily!) because it is a Peruvian story. It has bilingual text, and I’ve read both the Spanish and the English to the girls many times over the years. If you’re a new Spanish speaker wanting to practice, this is a great option because the story and words are on the simpler side. The artwork reminds me of ancient Peruvian civilizations. I can’t say the story itself is my favorite (it’s a little too unrealistic for me – I know, I know, says the girl who loves watching the adventures of a time-traveling man with two hearts whose spaceship is a blue phone box), but I of course always love ties to Peru.
New Shoes for Silvia
by Johanna Hurwitz
Silvia can’t wait to try on her present from Tia Rosita: new shoes as red as the inside of a watermelon. The shoes are too big for Silvia to wear — but that doesn’t stop her from [finding] lots of ways to enjoy them while she waits for her feet to grow!
** This book was Savannah’s pick, and she really loved it. A sweet story of a little girl who got new shoes and has to wait until they fit. Our favorite part is that her mother has a new baby girl throughout the course of the story, and illustrations are just darling. (We love babies here. ;) ) I liked how this book used the natural story and images to show daily life for this little girl in Mexico (“many years ago”). It was very fun and creative!