Día De Los Muertos (Celebrate The World)

At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.

Migrant

Migrant farmers and their families represent an ever-growing body of laborers around the world. They are used as cheap labor but most of them are not allowed to settle down, integrate into their host countries and become citizens with full rights. This is of course devastating to their children.

Among these groups are the Mennonites from Mexico, who originally went to Mexico from Canada in the 1920s. They speak “Low German” and though many are poor, they are an important part of the Mexican farm community. Because of free trade, however, and the fact that Mexican farmers cannot compete with highly subsidized US farmers, they have been forced to come back to Canada — as migrant workers — in order to survive. And while this group currently retains their citizenship and the right to work in Canada, that right may be challenged.Anna is the child of Mennonites from Mexico, who have come north to harvest fruit and vegetables. Sometimes she feels like a bird, flying north in the spring and south in the fall, sometimes like a jackrabbit in an abandoned burrow, since her family occupies an empty farmhouse near the fields, sometimes like a kitten, as she shares a bed with her sisters . . . But above all Anna wonders what it would be like to be a tree rooted deeply in the earth, watching the seasons come and go, instead of being like a “feather in the wind.”

From North To South/Del Norte Al Sur

José loves helping Mamá in the garden outside their home in California. But when Mamá is sent back to Mexico for not having citizenship papers, José and his Papá face an uncertain future. What will it be like to visit Mamá in Tijuana? When will she be able to come home? Award-winning children’s book author René Colato Laínez tackles the difficult and timely subject of family separation with exquisite tenderness. He is donating a portion of his royalties to the Centro Madre Assunta, a refuge for women and children who are waiting to be reunited with their families in the United States. Joe Cepeda’s bright and engaging illustrations bring this story of hope to vivid life.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 2

Chavela and the Magic Bubble

Chavela loves chomping chicle—chewing gum. And she loves blowing bubbles even more. One day, while out with her abuelita, she finds a mysterious kind of gum she’s never seen before. She pops it in her mouth and blows a giant bubble that lifts her up into the air! It carries her on a journey more magical than any she could ever imagine. Luscious, candy-colored paintings illustrate this fantastical story with an ecological twist. An afterword provides information on natural chewing gum, the rainforest, and sustainable farming, as well as music to a traditional Latin American folksong.

The Day of the Dead, El día de los Muertos

Follow two children as they celebrate their ancestors on this vibrant holiday. They offer marigolds, sugar skulls, and special bread, and make delicious foods. By spreading marigold petals, they guide the dead home to join the festivities. Finally, after singing and dancing, it’s time for bed. Bob Barner’s luscious collages incorporate the traditional symbols of Day of the Dead. His poetic text is both English and Spanish. An author’s note provides additional information on the holiday.

The Runaway Piggy / El cochinito fugitivo

The sun shines through the windows of Marthazs Panadería onto the shelves of freshly baked treats. The bakery holds tray after tray of hot Mexican sweet breadzconchas, orejas, cuernitos, empanadas, and cochinitoszall ready for hungry customers. In the classic tradition of The Gingerbread Man, James Lunazs piggy cookie leaps off the baking tray and takes the reader on a mad dash through the barrio, past Lorenzozs Auto Shop, Nitazs Beauty Salon, Letizs Flower Shop, and Juanazs Thrift Shop. The telephone repairman, the bus driver z each person the piggy encounters is greeted by his laugh and the repeated refrain: zChase me! Chase me down the street! But this is one piggy you wonzt get to eat! I ran away from the others and Izll run away from you!z The cochinito fugitivo avoids being eaten by the long line of people chasing him through the neighborhood streets z until he meets a crafty little girl named Rosa!Childrenzand adults toozwill delight in the clever piggyzs escape from Marthazs Panadería in this entertaining re-telling of a familiar story set in a colorful Latino neighborhood. A recipe to make Mexican gingerbread pig cookies is included in both English and Spanish.

The Battle Of The Show Cones / La Guerra de las Raspas

It was so hot in Caliente, Texas, that the townspeople gulped gallons of lemonade and poured buckets of water over their heads, but they couldnzt stay cool.Swinging on the front porch with her mother, Elena suddenly has an idea. Raspaszicy cold snow coneszare what the neighbors need to stay cool. And she can make and sell the refreshing treats from a stand in her own front yard! So with the help of her parents, Elena soon has a stand and the items needed to make and sell the snow cones. Before long everyone is lining up to buy the frosty delights in delicious flavors.Elenazs best friend Alma watches her friendzs success from across the street and decides to start her own snow cone stand. And so begins the battle of the snow cones, with each girl devising ever more elaborate plans to attract clients: decorating their stands with colorful Mexican crepe paper flowers and papel picado, adding exotic flavors such as coconut and mango to their menus, staging puppet shows and even a folkloric dance. The girlsz ice shaving machines furiously crank out raspas, until one day both machines go bonkers! Readers will enjoy the girlsz clever antics to attract customers in this lively, colorful picture book for children ages 4 z 8. And just as important, children will learnzalong with Elena and Almazthat competitors can still be friends.