Hello there readers! This month we have highlighted themes of civil rights, love of community, love of oneself, and now this week-love of family and heritage. We present to you, I Love Saturdays y Domingos written by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Elivia Savadier.
Here is a description from Goodreads:
Saturdays and Sundays are very special days for the child in this story. On Saturdays, she visits Grandma and Grandpa, who come from a European-American background, and on Sundays — los domingos — she visits Abuelito y Abuelita, who are Mexican-American. While the two sets of grandparents are different in many ways, they also have a great deal in common — in particular, their love for their granddaughter. While we follow our narrator to the circus and the pier, share stories from her grandparents’ pasts, and celebrate her birthday, the depth and joy of both cultures are conveyed in Spanish and English. This affirmation of both heritages will speak to all children who want to know more about their own families and ethnic backgrounds.
The story is written in first person from the perspective of a young girl who shares with the reader how she spends her weekends: Saturdays with her father’s parents and domingos with her mother’s (-her abuelos!) Both sets of grandparents love her very deeply and enrich her weekend with food and fun.
With her grandparents she eats scrambled eggs and pancakes; plays with a cat, Taffy; admires an owl collection; watches a movie about a circus; and looks at her grandfather’s aquarium. With her abuelos she eats huevos rancheros and drinks papaya juice; plays with the dog Canelo in the garden; feeds and counts baby chicks; visits the circus; sits on the pier and walks along the seashore.
What they have in common is that they tell her stories. Grandpa tells of delivering papers early in the morning as he grew up in New York City and how his parents came to America in a big ship from Europe. Abuelito tells of growing up on a rancho in Mexico, working the fields and being left in charge of his family at a young age.
She learns that her grandma’s parents came to California in a covered wagon on a long and difficult trip and abuelita’s family is Native American. She feels proud of her grandma’s grandmother who was born on the trail and became a teacher, but also feels a deep sense of orgullo for her abuelita’s Native American heritage because “Indians really know how to love the land.”
The book culminates in a wonderful birthday surprise for our protagonist in which her grandparents and her abuelos collaborate together to make her something very special. You will have to pick up the book to find out exactly what happens!
Though it focuses on a protagonist with a dual Anglo-Latino heritage, this story is great for children with other diverse combinations of heritage as well. It includes vocabulary words related to food and family, and important verbs as well as phrases of endearment that young readers can either relate to or learn from.
On her website, Ada states: “While in Hawaii, a Sunday afternoon in Lahaina, I watched as many families strolled by. It was apparent that they had very mixed heritage–Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican, Anglo– and that they felt very comfortable with each other. That experience moved me to write this story.” We recommend this title along with Ada’s other work as wonderful multicultural books for children that have use in the classroom.
Here are some great resources we have compiled to accompany the book:
- Ideas for a lesson on comparing and contrasting
- A comprehensive educator’s guide compiled by Captioned Media Program
- Links to guides of extension activities for educators, parents and community coordinators by Reading is Fundamental.
- Experience the book visually and through audio via Monarch Library.
Images: Modified from I love Saturdays y domingos. Illustrator: Elivia Savadier