Saludos toddos, and welcome to our final book review for the semester and for the year! We are continuing our December themes this week with one last review on winter holidays. Our book for this week is La Noche Buena, A Christmas Story, written by Antonio Sacre and illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Sacre is a new name here on our blog, but I have already reviewed several books illustrated by Dominguez, including Mango, Abuela and Me, which won Dominguez the 2016 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book, and Maria Had a Little Llama/ María tenía una llamita.
La Noche Buena is a heartwarming story about a young girl who travels from her New England home down to Miami to spend Christmas and Christmas Eve with her Cuban relatives. It is her first time traveling to Miami for the winter holidays, and at first the warmth and humidity seem strange at this time of year: “How will Santa land his sleigh in the heat?” The unnamed, female protagonist’s parents are divorced and it is her Cuban father’s turn to have her for the holidays. The fact that the protagonist is unnamed helps readers identify with her, and her position as a child of divorced parents is an important perspective for children to witness and experience through literature. Divorce is such a common occurrence, but it is still a difficult experience for children. As young readers watch the protagonist transition between two parents, two cultures, two languages, they will witness how strong and resilient she is, a positive example for children going through similar struggles.
We are thrilled to share the news that this year’s American Library Association (ALA) awards recognized several amazing Latin@ authorsamong outstanding children’s and young adult books. These authors have played an important part in the diversification of children’s and young adult literature and we are excited to see that their contributions have been acknowledged with such prestigious awards. Never before has the ALA awards recognized such breadth and depth of Latin@ and Latin American culture in a given year! Continue reading
¡Saludos, todos! Here is our final book for this month, completing our theme of New Tellings/Versions of Familiar Stories with a Peruvian spin on the classic Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita, written and illustrated by Mexican-American creator Angela Dominguez, takes us through the streets of rural Peru and enchants us with the beautiful friendship between a little girl, Maria, and her faithful llama. This picture book is bilingual and shows first the English text and then the Spanish translation underneath. The illustrations do an excellent job of exposing the reader to Peruvian geography, landscapes, clothing and even traditional musical instruments, and the concluding message, one of unfettered friendship between a schoolgirl and her llama, is truly heartwarming.
As the little llama follows Maria through the streets of Peru, the illustrations show various images of Peruvian life. On one page, they even pass a large map of Peru, including Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, Cuzco and the Andes. Maria’s llama is so attached to her that he follows her all the way to school, where the teacher makes him wait outside until class is over: “But still he lingered near/and waited patiently about…” The illustrations show a series of clocks, demonstrating the passing of time, and the llama patiently waiting in the grass. Continue reading