WWW: Food, Fashion and “Fridamania”

Homage to Frida by GemdiazFor our last post for the holidays, I’d like to turn to a familiar character in Mexican popular culture and history: Frida.  But, instead of looking at her art or pondering her tempestuous marriage with Diego Rivera, her wild affairs (including Leon Trotsky and Josephine Baker), and her tragic bus accident, I’d like to look at Frida in a different light – food, fashion and fame.

Until the 1990s, Frida’s artwork was relatively unknown outside of the Mexico City art world; however, her style of entertaining and cooking was renowned to anyone who was a guest at the Casa Azul.  Just like her trademark Oaxacan style of dress, her way with food, especially celebratory and holiday dishes, were essential parts of her artistic character, as central to her paintings as the brushes themselves.  The vibrant colors of southern Mexico’s textiles, the fragrant stew of Oaxacan mole, and the Spanish copla music were all a part of her world, and the world she inspired for others.  Below you’ll find a couple of Frida’s recipes from The Latin Kitchen perfect for the winter holidays.

In the last two decades, Frida’s life has become the object of wild popularity, with her biography at times eclipsing the popularity of her actual artwork.  In short, Frida has inspired a sort of cult, sometimes called “Fridamania”.  But, understanding why Frida (the artist) became so famous, and why this happened starting in the ‘90s, is to understand something about ourselves.  In “The Trouble with Frida”, Stephanie Mencimer explains that, beyond her artwork, Frida transcended many societal limitations that were placed on women: her fearlessness of abnormality as illustrated by her embracing her luxurious facial hair, and her vibrant, if unorthodox, love life connected strongly to the popular ambience of art and media in the ‘90s.

Not only did Frida’s personality find a home among art and fashion critics tired of the same female model-figures (anticipating Dove’s 2004 “Campaign for Real Beauty”), Frida also quenched “the art establishment’s demand for tragic bio as a prerequisite for greatness”.  The explosive popularity of Frida 50 years after her death anticipated a large-scale movement in popular culture that is quite evident today – just look at some of the most famous biographical movies of artistic subjects in recent years and their focus on tragedy, flaws, and abnormality rather than glory and fame (see Academy Award winners: Ray (2004); Walk the Line (2005); A Beautiful Mind (2001)).  Not to mention, 2002’s Frida, for which superstar Selma Hayek received her only Oscar nomination.

A Frida Favorite: Pumpkin Tamales (Tamales de Calabaza)

  • 4 dried corn husks
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lard
  • 8 ounces pumpkin or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 4 ounces Oaxaca string cheese or mozzarella, finely chopped
  • 1 handful epazote leaves (no stems), finely chopped
  • 1 red jalapeño chile, finely chopped

Get full recipe, and more


Image: “Homage to Frida,” original work by Wikimedia artist and user GEMDIAZ.

En la Clase: Around the World with the Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread PartyI realize that most teachers have about a week and a half of school left before winter break.  As I’ve shared before, this time of year was always one of my favorites to be in the classroom, but it was also a struggle.  As a teacher I couldn’t wait for winter break.  It was a time of much needed rest and relaxation so that I could come back refreshed and ready to go in January.  My students weren’t always as excited.  While many looked forward to the break as much as I did, for some of them it was a source of anxiety.  School was where they were sure to get two full meals.  School provided a dependable structure where they knew what to expect and when to expect it.  I learned that as much as I might want to throw our regular schedule out the window and do more open ended projects to get us through those last two weeks before break, that wasn’t what my students needed.  They wanted to have fun, but they wanted to maintain our structure.  Their minds were already focused on break (whether with anxiety or excitement) so this also wasn’t the time for anything too demanding.  This meant that I was always on the look-out for lesson plans and activities that would meet all our needs for this time of year.

In last week’s post I shared with you KidWorldCitizen, a great website that I came across while doing some research for past posts.  While spending some time on the website I came across Becky Morales’ article “Gingerbread Stories from Around the World.”  The resources provided in the post can easily be turned in to a unit perfect for the last week before break or even that first week back in January.  I had no idea there were so many versions of The Gingerbread Man from across the globe.  Morales links to many of the versions in her post.  Below I’ve highlighted the two that pertain to Latin America since that’s our focus here on Vamos a Leer.

The Runaway PiggyThe Runaway Piggy/El Cochinito Fugitivo by James Luna

The sun shines through the windows of Martha’s Panaderia onto the shelves of freshly baked treats. The bakery holds tray after tray of hot Mexican sweet bread–conchas, orejas, cuernitos, empanadas, and cochinitos–all ready for hungry customers. In the classic tradition of The Gingerbread Man, James Luna’s piggy cookie leaps off the baking tray and takes the reader on a mad dash through the barrio, past Lorenzo’s Auto Shop, Nita’s Beauty Salon, Leti’s Flower Shop, and Juana’s Thrift Shop.

The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel

In Texas, Tía Lupe and Tío Jose make the best tortillas – so light that the cowboys say they just might The Runaway Tortillajump right out of the griddle. One day, a tortilla does exactly that. Mocking her pursuers, the tortilla runs through the desert, encountering two horned toads, three donkeys, four jackrabbits, five rattlesnakes, and six buckaroos. She dodges them all, but is finally outwitted by Señor Coyote in this flavorful twist on the classic tale “The Gingerbread Man.”

Below I’ve shared how I’d create an easy unit around Gingerbread stories from around the world.  As Morales points out at the beginning of her post, comparing and contrasting two or more versions of the same story by different authors is a common core standard, so if you’re required to meet those, this lesson plan will work for you.

  1. Choose a few versions of Gingerbread Stories from different parts of the world.  If you’ve already covered literature from specific countries or continents in past units, I might choose to focus on those again here so that you can review any geography and compare these tales to the others read.
  2. Read one of the more common U.S. versions of the The Gingerbread Man.  Using chart paper or a Gingerbread Man Graphic Organizergraphic organizer, as a class, have students identify the main characters and plot.  If you choose to use the table that Morales shared in her post (see right), have students focus on the following questions as they review the story: Who makes the food that runs away? What is the food? Who tries to catch it? Who finally does catch it? Or does it get away? What cultural details are unique in the story?  I’ve created an editable word document of the table here.
  3. Read the other versions of The Gingerbread Man.  Have students record the same information as they did above for each of the other versions of the story.
  4. Once students have read all the versions of The Gingerbread Man that you plan on sharing there are a couple of options for what to do next.  Students can:
    1. Pick their two favorite versions, fill out a Venn Diagram identifying similarities and differences; then, using the diagram, write a compare and contrast paragraph.
    2. Write their own Gingerbread story choosing who makes the food, what the food is, why the food tries to runaway, who tries to catch it, and if it gets caught.  Once they have written their story, they can illustrate it.
    3. In small groups read a version of the Gingerbread story not yet shared in class.  As a group, create a poster board explaining the characters and plot of the book, and how this version compares to others read.
    4. There are lots of gingerbread cookie templates out there that can be used as a fun coloring sheet (perfect for adding a little glitter to), or as the cover for student stories.  You could even cut out notebook paper in the same shape and have students write their stories on that.
    5. Wrap up the unit up by eating gingerbread cookies, and maybe even watching a video version of The Gingerbread Man.

This will be my last En la Clase of the year! I hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing winter break! We’ll be back posting at the beginning of January!


Image: “Gingerbread Party.” Reprinted from Flickr user Tobias von der Haar under CC ©

¡Mira, Look!: Tamalitos: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem

tamalitos-coverHello there readers! Last week I reviewed a children’s book that teaches shapes through showcasing Latino foods, and two weeks ago I presented a bilingual poetry book written by award-winning, Salvadorian author, Jorge Argueta. This week I tie them all together by presenting one of Argueta’s poetic recipe books: Tamalitos: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem (ages 4-7), illustrated by Domi.

Here is a description from Goodreads:
In his fourth cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks. In simple, poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn . . . And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.” Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.

Tamalitos CornCentral American and other Latino cultures often traditionally eat tamalitos around the time of Christmas and other holiday celebrations. This book recognizes the importance of the dish, and celebrates its simplicity through the fun-filled experience of cooking. It beautifully details the ancestral origin of the main ingredient of tamalitos-corn-then goes on to list the other ingredients and tools that are needed. Argueta poetically details the steps of preparation while intertwining fun aspects such as using the pots as drums, dancing various indigenous corn dances, as well as laughing and singing as the preparation takes place.

Tamalitos DancingThe book highlights the way in which cooking can be a healthy and positive activity for children. “The smell of corn makes me happy./These tamalitos will be happy corn tamalitos!”, “The kitchen is happy!/The whole house is happy!” The illustrations reflect this tone by showing subjects that are almost always smiling, and including bright, bold colors that light up the pages.

The book is a great bilingual educational tool as it showcases poetic verses in each language next to one another on each page. Interestingly, and unlike most bilingual books I have reviewed, this book presents the Spanish language as the first, primary passage. This unique approach is beneficial to all readers. Native Spanish readers are prioritized and set at ease by being able to forgo the unnecessary English; while non-Spanish speakers are encouraged in their new language acquisition, as they must first try their hand at understanding before they receive the translation.

Tamalitos IngrediantsNote that this is truly a cooking poem. The poetry provides actual instructions for how to make tamales. Argueta keeps an eye out for younger readers by putting an asterisk along the passages that detail parts of preparation requiring parental supervision.

Tamalitos is only the latest publication in Argueta’s famous cooking poem series. If you enjoy this one, check out the other three books in the series:

You may appreciate, too, this activity sheet by Groundwood Books to go along with Argueta’s cooking poems.

For those of you, like me, who would now like to make some tamales for the holidays, (and in case you can’t get a hold of Argueta’s book) here is a similar recipe from restaurant Progresso Tamale-only with the addition of my personal favorite ingredient..New Mexican native..Green Chile!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season full of fun, food, and family. ¡Mira, Look! reviews will go on hold as I take winter break, but I and the rest of the Vamos team will be back in January to pick things up again and bring you plenty more reviews, educator’s guides, book club meetings,  announcements and more! Stay tuned!

Gathering-Books Latinos-in-Kid-Lit

Good for: Gathering Books COYRL Challenge 2014 and Latin@s in Kids Lit Reading Challenge 2014

 

 


Images: Modified from Tamalitos. Illustrator: Domi

WWW: Latin American Art in the White-Walled Galleries of Google Museums

Alexis Leyva MachadoIn the past, we have seen that corporate wealth and a love for the arts and antiquities have come together to establish some of our most preeminent cultural institutions.  We can look at the Rockefellers and the Museum of Modern Art, J.P. Morgan and the Museum of Metropolitan Art, the Guggenheims, Carnegie Hall, and the list goes on.  But we could also look all the way back to the Babylonian Princess Ennigaldi-Nanna, who in the 6th century B.C. established a museum of artifacts in order to promote the cultural heritage of her wealthy and powerful empire.  The rise of wealth and power is often coupled with the desire to collect and promote the cultural artifacts of its past.  Therefore, it is no surprise that the internet giant Google has created the Google Cultural Institute, a digital collection of pristine visuals from the interiors of the world’s most celebrated museum galleries and exhibitions.  It truly is a world tour through art from the seat of your chair, and part of its Art Project takes us to the incredible Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Los Angeles.

Within this clean, super easy-to-use digital archive that slides horizontally along a white backdrop (strongly reminiscent of the bleach white-walled rooms in many galleries), you will see the Venezuelan optical art by Cruz-Diez, the humorous installations of Cuba’s duo, Los Carpinteros, and work by Mexico’s prized fine artist of the 20th century, Rufino Tamayo.  But you will also find the art of Kcho, also known as Alexis Leyva Machado, and his sublime use of minimalism in his Untitled (As if it were a swing) (Sin título – como si fuera comlumpio).

When you click on the photograph of a given work, a tab that reads “Details” will be positioned in the top left corner of the screen.  You can explore the particulars of each piece by navigating through that tab and return to the gallery for more works.

You can even have the students add the works they like to create their very own custom gallery by clicking the “+” sign near the top of the page.  In this way, the students can act as curators of their own digital gallery.  Perhaps an in-class activty might be for each to pick a Latin American country or region and curate their own gallery around that.  On the homepage of the MOLAA, you can see on the left a menu of tabs that include “created by” and “medium”.  Within these tabs students can explore works organized by artists, the type of material, date and place of creation, and much more.

Our featured artists today, Kcho, was born on the Isla de los Pinos, Cuba, in 1970, and is also known by his full name, Alexis Leyva Machado. He is a sculptor and mixed-media artist, heavily influenced by the work of American Bruce Nauman, and often bases his forms around boats.  He frequently uses found materials, creating a windswept, scavenged ascetic that reminds me of a beach littered with a mix of organic and plastic debris.  Above all, this activity is an opportunity for students to explore Latin America through the ways in which it is represented in cultural institutions across the globe, and to discuss the ways in which Latin American art gets appropriated to the “white walls” of cosmopolitan galleries.


Image:  “Kcho at Kunsthalle Attersee, July 2005”Reprinted from Wikimedia Commons user Anteros01


Book Review: Mexican Whiteboy

Mexican whiteboyMexican WhiteBoy
Written by Matt de la Peña
Published by Ember
ISBN: 9780440239383
Age Level: 14 and up

BOOK SUMMARY

Danny’s tall and skinny. Even though he’s not built, his arms are long enough to give his pitch a power so fierce any college scout would sign him on the spot. Ninety-five mile an hour fastball, but the boy’s not even on a team. Every time he gets up on the mound he loses it. But at his private school, they don’t expect much else from him. Danny’s brown. Half-Mexican brown. And growing up in San Diego that close to the border means everyone else knows exactly who he is before he even opens his mouth. Before they find out he can’t speak Spanish, and before they realize his mom has blond hair and blue eyes, they’ve got him pegged. But it works the other way too. And Danny’s convinced it’s his whiteness that sent his father back to Mexico.  That’s why he’s spending the summer with his dad’s family. Only, to find himself, he may just have to face the demons he refuses to see–the demons that are right in front of his face. And open up to a friendship he never saw coming.  Set in the alleys and on the ball fields of San Diego County, Mexican Whiteboy is a story of friendship, acceptance, and the struggle to find your identity in a world of definitions.

My thoughts:

This was one of those books that I didn’t like the first time I read it, but I loved the second time through. In all honesty, my first impression may be due more to secondary factors influencing my experience than the book itself. Since I always read everything at least twice before writing a guide, I thought I’d listen to the audio version of the book the first time through while driving back from Tucson. The audio version does not do de la Peña’s writing justice. I only made it through about 40 pages before I had to turn it off, and unfortunately I think this really tainted my opinion of the book. I waited a few weeks before starting the guide, and as I read the book a second time through, it was like an entirely different experience. I could go into more detail about why I think this is, but for the sake of time I won’t. I mention it here only because I hope that if you read it once and aren’t entirely sold, that you’ll give it a second chance. It’s a book that engages with issues that we rarely see in our classroom literature (I’ll talk more about this below). It’s also a book that is resoundingly well-received by students. Over and over we hear from teachers across the country who all say it’s one of their students’ favorite books.

At its core, this is the story of one boy’s experience of coming to terms with his identity as he comes of age.   I think the majority of us struggle with our identity and who we are at some point in our lives. But for some of our students the struggle can be quite painful and complex, and de la Peña’s story reflects that. It is the way in which de la Peña weaves discussions of racial identity into his story that makes it such a significant text for our classrooms. Both of the main characters, Danny and Uno, struggle with their racial identity. Danny is half-white and half-Mexican, while Uno is half-Mexican and half-Black. Both young men struggle with how to accept who they are, and their struggle is made even more complex by the communities in which they live. When Danny is in San Diego, he’s the Mexican who’s not white enough to fit in, and in National City he’s too white to be Mexican. Uno is also half-Mexican, but he, his friends, and his step-father only ever identify him as Black, which becomes even more significant as he is the only young Black man in the community. De la Peña paints a realistic portrayal of the struggles Danny and Uno face as they grapple with their own internal conflict over who they are, and the external conflict of navigating who society expects them to be.   Interestingly, Mexican WhiteBoy was one of the books banned by the Tucson School District because it contained critical race theory. Yet, it is the critical race theory that I believe makes it such an essential read for all of our students.

As Danny attempts to deal with everything going on inside and around him, he resorts to hurting himself. Throughout the book Danny copes with difficult situations by digging his nails into his arm until he breaks the skin. Self-harm has become an increasingly relevant issue for those who work with teenagers and young adults, but often it’s gendered. If we find it in literature, it’s typically about females who cut themselves. While studies show that the majority of young adults who use self-harm to cope are female, there are males who struggle with this as well. de la Peña ‘flips the script’ by writing about a young man with exceptional athletic ability who hurts himself.

Rage, anger and violence are other themes that run throughout the book. As incredibly destructive forces in the lives of the characters, the book provides the opportunity to discuss alternative ways to deal with such powerful emotions, rather than resorting to violence.

It is certainly a book for a more mature audience, such as high school readers. There are references to drugs, sex, underage drinking, strong language, and violence. Other reviews have said this book really isn’t appropriate for classroom use, but I disagree. While it may not be the right choice for every classroom community, I believe that more often than not students will find it both powerful and engaging. Our students are bombarded on a daily basis with messages about race, identity, drugs, alcohol and violence. Using this book provides not only a story that they may see themselves reflected in, but also the space to make these topics part of the ‘official’ curriculum. It is in spaces like this that we, as educators, can hear what our students are struggling with and help them to navigate these difficult teenage years.

Mexican Whiteboy has earned a variety of awards and recognitions: ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults (Top 10 Pick), 2008 Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Ribbon List, 2009 Notable Books for a Global Society, Texas TAYSHAS Reading list, and a Junior Library Guild Selection.

If you’d like to read what others have thought about the book, check out this review from Kirkus or Misfortune of Knowing’s post “What it Means To Be Biracial (A Discussion of Mexican White Boy)“.  If you’re interested in hearing what the author has to say about his work, check out the following interviews, articles, and video:

  • New York Times article that reports on de la Peña visiting a Tucson High School while MexicanWhiteBoy was being banned in congruence with an Arizona state law targeting Mexican-American studies courses.
  • NPR interview with de la Peña on his newest young adult fiction book, The Living.
  • Rumpus interview with de la Peña.
  • Schooltube video of de la Peña by in which he talks about the subtle ways in which he incorporates issues of race and class into his stories.

Our Educator’s Guide to the book is now available!
COYRL 2014_2Latinos-in-Kid-Lit

Good for:  Gathering Books COYRL Challenge 2014 and Latin@s in Kids Lit Reading Challenge 2014

En la Clase: Tamales, Poinsettias, and Navidad

As I was researching books and materials for our last two En la Clase posts on Las Posadas, I came across some other really beautiful books and fun activities that are perfect for December.  These just may help you get through these last couple of weeks of school before winter break!

Too many tamalesOne of my favorite children’s books for this time of year is Gary Soto’s Too Many Tamales. In the story, the main character Maria is helping her mother prepare the tamales for Christmas dinner.  She decides to try on her mother’s diamond ring.  She only meant to wear it for a minute, but suddenly the ring was gone, and Maria and her siblings are left with 24 tamales that just might contain the missing ring.  It’s a fun story that my students always enjoyed.  It’s the perfect book to lead into a discussion about all the different foods that are part of students’ winter holiday celebrations.  Lots of times they are surprised to find out how different their classmates’ celebrations are from their own.  There are lots of different lesson plans out there for Too Many Tamales.  Here are a few that I found:

El Milagro de la Primera florI also discovered The Miracle of the First Poinsettia/El milagro de la primera flor de nochebuena.  This is an absolutely beautiful book.  It’s perfect for any class as there is both an English and a Spanish version (note: these are two separate books, it is not a bilingual edition).  The story is a retelling of a Mexican legend that describes the origin of the Poinsettia plant. In this version, a young girl has nothing to give the Christ child, but when the weeds she carries in her hands miraculously transform into red flowers, she now has the perfect gift. If you’re a member of Lesson Planet, they’ve got a lesson plan for the book.  If you’re not a member, they do have a free trial, so you can still access the materials.

The Miracle of the First Poinsettia 1

It would be an excellent book to use with Tomie dePaola’s well-known The Legend of the Poinsettia.  After reading both books, students could compare the two versions of the story of the Poinsettia.  To expand the comparison beyond just a classroom discussion, ask students to complete a Venn Diagram identifying the similarities and differences between the two stories, and then writing a compare and contrast essay (or paragraph) based on their graphic organizer. Twiggle Magazine has a lesson plan on The Legend of the Poinsettia that connects to both math and science.

I shared a number of poinsettia art activities in last week’s post, but I found a few more:

I came across one last resource that I’m really excited to share with you.  If you’re not yet familiar with the website KidWorldCitizen, I hope you’ll check it out.  I just found it myself and can’t wait to spend some more time with it.  They recently shared an excellent post “Children’s Books about Christmas in Mexico.” We’ve mentioned a number of these books in our own posts, but there were a few that were new to me that I want to share with you all.  While these new titles are about Christmas, they’re told from a different point of view that more traditional Christmas children’s literature.

When Christmas Feels Like HomeWhen Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith tells a story that I believe many of our students can identify with: “After moving from a small village in Mexico to a town in the United States, Eduardo is sure it will never feel quite like home. The other children don’t speak his language and they do not play fútbol. His family promises him that he will feel right at home by the time Christmas comes along, when “your words float like clouds from your mouth” and “trees will ride on cars.” With whimsical imagery and a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary, Gretchen Griffith takes readers on a multicultural journey with Eduardo who discovers the United States is not so different from Latin America and home is wherever family is.”

Going Home by Eve Bunting tells the story of Carlos, a young boy returning to Mexico for Christmas: going home“Christmas is coming and Carlos and his family are going home-driving south across the border to Mexico. But Mexico doesn’t seem like home to Carlos, even though he and his sisters were born there. Can home be a place you don’t really remember? At first, La Perla doesn’t seem very different from the other villages they pass through. But then Carlos is swept into the festivities by Grandfather, Aunt Ana, and the whole village. Finally, Carlos begins to understand Mama and Papa’s love for the place they left behind, and realizes that home can be anywhere, because it stays in the hearts of thepeople who love you.”

UPDATE: After publishing this post, I came across a very useful review of Going Home from De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children.  In the review, Beverly Slapin offers a critique of the book, raising some important points that should be considered before using it in the classroom.  Using it could provide an opportunity to have critical dialogue with students about some of the more problematic elements of the story.

Pablos ChristmasPablo’s Christmas by Hugo C. Martin is another Christmas story that also represents the reality of many of our students as they celebrate the holiday separated from different members of their families. In this story students will read about a young boy named Pablo.  For Pablo: “Christmas means family: everyone gathered together in joyful celebration. But what if one beloved member is missing? That’s the situation so movingly explored in this. . .holiday tale, set in the Mexican countryside. Because Mama is going to have a new baby, Pablo’s father has gone off to America to earn extra money. That makes Pablo the man of the house—chasing coyotes away from the hens, comforting his worried mother and sisters, and trying to make presents for everyone. Now Christmas is near—when Papa has promised to return. Will he be home for the holidays? Children will hang on to every word eagerly and sympathetically…right until the satisfying, and happy, ending.”

If you know of any other can’t miss titles for this time of year, we’d love it if you’d share them in the comments section!

 

Our Next Good Read. . .Caminar

Join us January 12th at CaminarBookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are reading Caminar (Ages 10 and up) by Skila Brown.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book (from Goodreads):

Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet — he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist. Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her. . . . Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’ abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is.

Be sure to get entered in our drawing for a free copy of the book!! All you have to do is comment on any blog post by January 2nd!

We’ll also be raffling off a copy off next month’s featured book, The Color of My Words (ages 8 and up)Join us that evening to be entered!

We hope to see you on January 12th!