Nepantla: Essays from the Land in the Middle

As a Latina educator, poet, mother, lecturer and native of El Paso, Texas, Pat Mora is a denizen of nepantla—a Nahuatl word meaning “the land in the middle.” In her first collection of essays, Mora negotiates the middle land’s many terrains exploring the personal issues and political responsibilities she faces as a woman of color in the United States. She explores both the preservation of her own Mexican American culture and her encounters with other cultures.

Little Old Ladies

Don’t be fooled by the pillbox hats, pearl necklaces, or support hose. Ignore the walkers, hearing aids, and false teeth. Little old ladies are people to be reckoned with and lead far more exciting lives than we could ever imagine. To benefit from these wonderful women, all you have to do is listen. In this quirky, uproarious picture book, Franziska Kalch uncovers the secrets of this often misunderstood population. You won’t find these old ladies feeding the ducks at the pond or walking at the local mall. Instead, look for them at the trendiest dance clubs or basking by the pool. They have so many experiences and ideas to share. We just have to ask.

Tales from within the Clouds: Nakhi Stories of China

South of the clouds, in the land of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, dwell the descendants of a once pastoral people, the Nakhi. In ancient times, family names were passed from mother to child, there were no marriages, and women alone raised children. In the Nakhi language, there is no word for “father.” Today there are still Nakhi who follow these traditions, and Nakhi folktales reflect these beliefs. In the legends presented here we are introduced to a fantastic cast of characters: plants, insects, animals – all of them female! (Nakhi people, Naxi language)

Something for School

On the first day of kindergarten, a teacher asks the boys and girls to line up, and Yoon lines up with the other girls. But when some children mistake Yoon for a boy because of her short hair, Yoon bursts into tears.  At home, Yoon finds a solution. Her sister s special headband is perfect! When she wears it to kindergarten, no one teases or mistakes her for anything but who she is! Yoon has a lovely time with her new friends.But Yoon’s sister has been missing her special headband so when Yoon has to go back to school without it, she s worried all over again. Thankfully, her friends like Yoon exactly the way she is.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 4, Issue 1

Child of Dandelions

The river of jubilant people alarmed Sabine as they bobbed along Allidina Visram Street in Kampala….The dark faces drew closer. Women in bright gomesi and headscarves danced, and bare-chested men punched their fists into the air, chanting, “Muhindi, nenda nyumbani! Indian go home.”Sabine felt she was drowning in their cries.In August 1972, President Idi Amin declares that a message from God has come to him in a dream: all foreign Indians must be “weeded out” of Uganda in the next ninety days. Fifteen-year-old Sabine and her father, a successful businessman, are confident that their family will not be affected, since they are Ugandan citizens, but Sabine’s fearful mother is certain that they will have to leave.As the ninety days tick by, the President’s message – the “countdown monster,” as Sabine calls it – is broadcast every day on the radio, and life becomes more difficult for her family and other Indians in Uganda. Sabine tries to hold on to her optimism, counting on her best friend, Zena, and her grandfather, Bapa, to keep her spirits up, but after her beloved uncle Zulfiqar disappears and Zena turns against her, Sabine begins to share her mother’s fears. When a new law is declared on the radio – all Indians must leave – Sabine and her family have a hard decision to make. Should they stay and defend their rights, or should they go? And how will they begin a new life in a different land?

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

Elena’s Serenade

Who ever heard of a girl glassblower? In Mexico, where the sun is called el sol and the moon is called la luna, a little girl called Elena wants to blow into a long pipe… and make bottles appear, like magic. But girls can’t be glassblowers. Or can they? Join Elena on her fantastic journey to Monterrey — home of the great glassblowers! — in an enchanting story filled with magic realism.

Americas Award For Children’s And Young Adult Literature. Commended.

The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story

The First Tortilla is a moving, bilingual story of courage and discovery. A small Mexican village is near starvation. There is no rain, and the bean and squash plants are dying. Jade, a young village girl, is told by a blue hummingbird to take a gift to the Mountain Spirit. Then it will send the needed rain. Burning lava threatens her, but Jade reaches the top of the volcano. The Mountain Spirit is pleased. It allows the ants in a nearby cave to share their corn with Jade. The corn was sweet and delicious and Jade took some back to save the village. Jade grinds the dry corn, adds water, and makes dough. She pats the masa and places it on hot stones near the fire. She has made the first tortilla. Soon the making of corn tortillas spreads throughout Mexico and beyond.Reading level: grade 3 and up