At the moment my husband and I knew we were pregnant, we agreed reading would be an important part of our kids’ lives. Seeing their overflowing bookcases makes me really happy.
So you can imagine just how happy I am to have been asked to be part of the first ever Latinas 4 Latino Literature’s Día Blog Hop.
Here’s what it’s all about:
To celebrate the coming of Día de los Niños, which is April 30th in many countries, every day from April 10th thru April 30th, a Latina Blogger will feature a different Latino children’s author or Illustrator. But that’s not all, in addition to getting to know the work of each featured artist, readers like you will have the opportunity to participate for the chance to win more than 35 books for their favorite school or local library. Please make sure to check out the information about the giveaway at the end of this post.
So, having said that and with no further delay, Mama Latina Tips is pleased to introduce Mara Price, a Latina author and illustrator of children’s books, who has kindly written the following lovely post:
I grew up in Mexico. My abuelita taught me how to read and write before I started school. She used to recite poems that were stories about animals or children that usually ended with a moral. I memorized a few poems from Juan de Dios Peza and Amado Nervo. My abuelita was exceptional. She could recite poems for hours. She was the perfect person to introduce me to rhymes. Rhyming was a game for us, so my first written stories were little poems.
My daughter was the reason I started writing. What could be better than reading children’s stories in Spanish together? I remember looking in the library for books about Latinos for her school projects. I wanted her to be proud of the history of Latinos in the United States. We read Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, by Kathleen Krull (Author), Yuyi Morales (Illustrator). We even saw a musical about Cesar Chavez, Cesar & Ruben: A Musical, by Ed Begley, Jr.
A good book is like a hug and a soft touch that helps children understand the world around them. My cousin gave my daughter a book like that, Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina Popular Songs and Rhymes From Latin America, by Lulu Delacre.
Not finding a great selection in the library, I was inspired to write. I contributed stories and illustrations to Iguana magazine for children, and later illustrated for McGraw-Hill publications. When I started writing Grandma’s Chocolate/El chocolate de Abuelita, I was thinking of writing about intergenerational relationships that have been central in the Latino family since Pre-columbian times. I reached back for my own childhood memories and remembered drinking hot chocolate with my abuelita, and the passion for history I shared with her.
I wanted to write about a princess. There are many books about princesses in children’s literature, but most are blonde Europeans. I preferred to write about a Mayan princess, a princess that Latinas could relate to.
There is a quote I like to think about for inspiration:
“Children’s books keep alive a sense of nationality; but they also keep alive a sense of humanity. They describe their native land lovingly, but they also describe faraway lands where unknown brothers live.”
Books, Children, and Men, by Paul Házard
I dedicated my book to all the grandmothers in the world, especially mine, because I know that they are important in our lives. They are the ones that keep the tradition by singing songs that we learn, by telling us their stories and poems, by keeping the oral tradition alive and making delicious food and drinks we could make and share together, like hot chocolate.
Here are some intergenerational children’s picture books by Latino authors.
El chocolate de Abuelita/ Grandma’s Chocolate by Mara Price (Author), Lisa Fields (Illustrator)
My book, Grandma’s Chocolate/El chocolate de Abuelita, is the story of a girl named Sabrina who learns about the ancient origins of chocolate while she plays with her grandmother who has come to visit from Mexico. The gifts that grandma brings make Sabrina feel like a Mayan princess. The beautiful illustrations are by Lisa Fields.
Playing Loteria /El juego de la lotería, by René Colato Lainez (Author), Jill Arena (Illustrator)
A little boy visits his grandmother in Mexico, and with the help of la lotería, learns a new language and how special the bond between a boy and his grandmother can be.
- Grandmother’s Weave, by Omar S. Castañeda (Author), Enrique O. Sánchez (Illustrator)
Esperanza’s abuela is unmatched in her skill in weaving traditional Mayan tapestries. She has shared her gift with her granddaughter, and now they plan to sell their goods at the market. However, the birthmark on Abuela’s face may scare customers away. So Esperanza must cope with the city streets and find buyers alone.
Abuelo vivía solo / Grandpa Used to Live Alone, by Amy Costales (Author), Esperanza Gama (Illustrator)
A loving homage to the abiding presence of a grandparent in a young girl’s life. Grandpa used to live alone in a quiet pink house. But when his granddaughter was born, everything changed: “Mamá and I moved in. Grandpa’s house was still pink, but it was not so quiet anymore.” As the years pass, she grew and grew. Grandpa took down her crib and bought her a bed. He taught her how to make rice pudding and play catch. And while she was growing, Grandpa was growing older too. Until all too soon, she was the one making the rice pudding and helping her grandfather up the stairs to bed. Amy Costales’ heart-warming text, accompanied by Esperanza Gama’s soothing illustrations, lovingly depicts the relationship between a child and a central figure in her life—her grandfather.
How to introduce children to books and turn them into lifelong readers
Books are a wonderful way to stimulate a child’s imagination. You can accomplish this by having a favorite book, a new book, and a familiar book available and reading every day out loud. You can have quality time by reading at a set time of the day…or any time. This is the best way for children to get the habit of reading at an early age.
Thank you truly, Mara, for sharing your love of literature and your book recommendations with Mama Latina Tips’ readers. I can’t wait to start reading the books you’ve recommended to my kids.
Mara Price is a Latina author and illustrator of children’s books. Mara’s illustrations have been published in McGraw Hill; Iguana®, a Spanish-language children’s magazine; and Los Bloguitos, the blog for children who speak and read Spanish. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and has taught art workshops at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She is also a Día Author and Illustrator Ambassador. She lives in Southern California with her husband and children. Visit her website at www.maraprice.com.
Latinas For Latino Literature (L4LL) has put together a wonderful collection of Latino children’s literature to be given to a school or public library. Many of the books were donated by the authors and illustrators participating in this blog hop. You can read a complete list of titles (as well as the blog hop schedule) here on the L4LL website.
To enter your school library or local library in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, April 29th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on the L4LL website on April 30th, Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros, and will be contacted via email – so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If we have no way to contact you, we’ll have to choose someone else!)
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.
Disclosure: L4LL is solely responsible for this giveaway and will be choosing the winner of the giveaway according to the official sweepstakes rules.
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I love this blog for its support of familias raising multilingual book lovers! My daughter’s trilingual Immersion school would love these books. It is so fulfilling to see her love of reading grow. Thank you!
¡Muchísimas gracias por el post, Mara! I’m going to seek out these books. I love to patronize independent booksellers. Here’s a shout-out to La Casa Azul in New York: https://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com/
THIS IS AMAZING AS THE LIBRARIAN AT HARMONY SCHOOL OF INNOVATION I AM PLEASED TO BE PART OF THIS WONDERFUL SITE.
OUR LIBRARY STARTED OUT HAVING VERY LITTLE BOOKS IN THE SPANISH/ENGLISH VERSION. NOW BECAUSE OF WONDERFUL PARENTS WHO LIKE TO DONATE AND OTHER TEACHER RESOURCES WE HAVE ABOUIT 20 BOOKS NOW THAT CAN BE READ IN ENGLISH AND IN SPANISH, I LOVE THAT THE AUTHORS ARE ADDING IN BOTH LANGUAGES IN THE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN. I HOPE TO WIN !!! WE NEED MORE OF THESE BOOKS IN OUR LIBRARY. THANK YOU!
I would love to be able to add all of these wonderful books to my school’s library – CC Ronnow Elementary in Las Vegas, NV!
I love seeing the common threads that exist in different lived experiences. Like Mara, I, too was introduced to poetry and song in my early years that helped me build my language and shared memories with my mother. I also remember sitting around the kitchen table with my abuelita and listening to stories from her childhood. She was the best storyteller, entrancing us with her words and the images they painted. It is those threads that students will find when they see themselves in books.