Review of Mitali Perkins’s Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (ages 3 – 6)
& Our Book Guide with Supplemental Activities and Resources
In Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019) , María, a young, clever and quick-witted girl from Southern California, narrates her family’s story about celebrating Las Posadas at the annual La Posada Sin Fronteras celebration that occurs at the aptly named Friendship Park, which is along the border between Tijuana, MX and San Diego, CA. Prior to this celebration, María introduces us to her younger brother, Juan, and her Mamá, Sylvia. María explains that sadly she hasn’t seen her Abuela in five years; however, both María and Juan are elated that they will see their Abuela (albeit through the fences along the border) and thus are busy making final touches to their homemade presents for their Abuela.
After a long bus journey and waiting in line for their turn, María, Juan, and Mamá finally get their chance to see and talk with their beloved Abuela who stands on the other side of the border, in Mexico. Their time spent together goes by quickly as they sing Las Posadas, pass hugs and kisses through the fences, and catch up on other family members that live on either side of the border. At the end of their time together, María tries to pass the scarf that she and Mamá have made for Abuela through the fence when she is stopped by Border Patrol Agents that explain that it is forbidden to pass things through the fence. However, this inspires crafty María to find a different way to ensure that Abuela can receive her Christmas gifts without disobeying the Border Patrol’s rules.
Check out our full book review and educator guide on Between Us and Abuelahere.
Have you read this heartwarming story? Share your thoughts below! How do you plan to celebrate Las Posadas this year?
We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season thus far. At Vamos a Leer we want to wish everyone joyful celebrations before we take a break until January. Here in Albuquerque the farolitos are already shining the path for Las Posadas celebrations. We hope your holidays are festive and full of life!
¡Buenos días! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! This month I’ve compiled a list of children’s books about winter festivities celebrated in Latin America and Latino communities in the United States. Here at Vamos a Leer we have tons of resources for teaching Latin American and Latino holiday traditions in the classroom. Many of them have been compiled under the heading “Las Posadas,” given that we’ve found many search engines that bring people here just for that topic. Below I’ve compiled a list of ten exemplary books that can help you explore the topic further with your students. I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I did!
Today’s En la Clase continues our December theme on winter celebrations by sharing how to implement another great children’s book into your teaching. We’ve already shared posts on The Miracle of the First Poinsettia and A Piñata in a Pine Tree. Be sure to check those out for some other fun resources if you missed them.
I recently remembered a recommendation a blog reader gave me last year about the beautiful book ‘Twas Nochebuena written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by Sarah Palacios. Somehow I’d missed this book when it came out in 2014, but I’m really happy to be writing about it this year in time for one of our December posts. Greenfield Thong and Placios have created a new version of the familiar ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas tale. Here, students will read about one family’s Nochebuena celebration. This story, like some of the others we’ve highlighted this month, is filled with references to Latino Christmas traditions such as tamales, adornos, canciones, las posadas, and champurrado. Written in a mixture of English and Spanish, the book can be used with English speakers or Spanish speakers, as the surrounding words and illustrations provide plenty of context clues. The glossary at the back is also a great resource. Continue reading →
In the spirit of the season, we’re spending our last few weeks of the year by talking about resources for teaching Latin@ and Latin American winter celebrations in the classroom. I could go into more detail about what each of our wonderful bloggers will cover, but suffice it to say that they’re each going to share some superb resources with you to help teach about cultural diversity during the month of December.
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!
One 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:
Last week’s En la Clase shared a number of children’s books and ideas for how to teach about Las Posadas. There were so many resources that I just couldn’t fit them all into one post, so today I’m sharing some other online resources and art activities that you can use to complement any of last week’s literature. Continue reading →
I realize it’s still November, but based on our search statistics, many of you are already looking for books, lesson plans and resources for teaching about Las Posadas. I’m impressed! You all are far more organized than I was when I was in the classroom. In previous posts on Día de los Muertos we’ve discussed our philosophy for how to approach teaching about cultural celebrations and traditions in a way that’s authentic and meaningful. Many of those same ideas are relevant here as well. Continue reading →
This will be our last week of posting until January here at Vamos a Leer. I can’t believe how fast a year can go by! For us, it’s been an amazing year as we’ve continued to develop and expand Vamos a Leer and our k-12 Outreach program. The best part by far has been getting to know all of you–the wonderful educators, librarians, administrators and readers who impact the students in our classrooms on a daily basis. Your jobs are not easy ones, and we truly appreciate everything that you do. Our hope here at Vamos a Leer is that through providing ideas and resources for authentic multicultural education we can make your jobs a little easier. And as always, we would love to hear your suggestions or ideas for things you’d like to see more of on the blog. This year we really enjoyed the development of our two big thematic curriculum projects on Día de los Muertos and the Chilean Arpilleras. Our monthly book group and Educator’s Guides are always one of my favorite parts of my job. If you haven’t had time to check out any of this year’s projects or guides be sure to browse through past posts or do a search to find something specific. We’ve got some exciting projects in the works for this coming spring and fall that I can’t wait to share with you. Continue reading →