Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Free Download: A Bilingual Christmas Booklet

December has arrived and Navidad is only a few weeks away! This month's freebie from our sponsor, Spanish for You! is a bilingual booklet that you can use to boost your child's Spanish vocabulary associated with Christmas.

Today's printable is a 4-page activity that comes with an audio file for learning proper pronunciation. Your little Spanish learners will learn key words for the season while assembling and reading their booklet, and there is also a bilingual Christmas dialogue you can print up and use to practice speaking aloud.

Spanish & Bilingual Books About Christmas 

(affiliate links)

Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Monday, December 5, 2016

App Review: Mundo Lanugo en Navidad

Last year, I did an app review of Mundo Lanugo's first app celebrating Hispanic heritage. And now I get to do that again. Their newest app is a celebration of Christmas...Latino style!

NameMundo Lanugo en Navidad
Subject(s): Spanish culture & language
Brief Description: An interactive, Spanish app that teaches children about Hispanic culture and language through holiday-themed animated videos and interactive games.
Price: $1.99
Language: Spanish
Ages: 2 - 5 years
DeviceiOS & Android

Your child will LOVE listening and dancing to the villancicos on this app! Or they may prefer to create their own music by dragging Lanugo characters holding different musical instruments onto the stage. 

The app also allows your creative child to dress up like their favorite Christmastime characters, such as one of the Reyes Magos, an elf, or even Mary, the mother of Jesus. Or they can build a guitar with Muki!

If you have children who love to spend time in the kitchen, they'll enjoy whipping up some holiday dishes with Chuy, or decorating their own virtual gingerbread house. :)

And finally, your child can enjoy two matching games. In one, they must match the items in their menu bar with the correct picture, and in the other, they must sort/match shapes.

Here's an idea of what the app is actually like. Wouldn't it make a fun, educational gift for the holidays? Give it to them early so they can get into the spirit, or play it on trips you might be taking this holiday season. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Santero's Miracle Website

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I shared a list of bilingual books for the holidays? One of the books I listed was The Santero's Miracle by Rudolfo Anaya. It is simply a stunning book for the holidays because of both the storyline and the rich illustrations by Amy Córdova.

Well, if this is a book that you have purchased already or are planning to buy and use with your students/children, you should know that NMSU has a website dedicated to The Santero's Miracle with activities for children that are related to the themes in the book. And as you can see, it is available in both English and Spanish.

It also includes interviews with Rudolfo Anaya and Amy Córdova.

For teachers, this is an excellent tool to extend your students' learning. For parents, this is a fun resource with a few simple activities and information to share with your children.

If you are looking to purchase the book, you can find it here (afflink).

About the book... 

In The Santero's Miracle, don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen.

Don Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers.

The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés' parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and don Jacobo's neighbor, don Leopoldo, is desperately ill and cannot get to the hospital.

Then comes don Jacobo's dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don't plow 'til April," don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?"

And a reminder...

The Santero's Miracle covers themes of home, family, tradition, imagination, culture, and community. It reminds us of much that is special about New Mexico: our rural villages, beautiful mountains, centuries-old traditions, strong families, diverse population, and welcoming communities united in history and culture.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Subscription Gifts for Kids that Last All Year

You know what I love? Gifts that last the WHOLE YEAR LONG. That's why I've loved giving my kids subscriptions to magazines. But in recent years, a whole new breed of subscription services has developed: Monthly activity boxes.

These are insanely awesome because most contain activities that can be done throughout the month. So I thought that today's theme of gifts for children should be subscription boxes. There are many others available, but the ones below are my favorite picks for MommyMaestra readers (and my own kids).

This post contains affiliate links. 

$25 - $37/mo

Booklandia is a monthly service of bilingual and Spanish children's books delivered directly to your mailbox. The book boxes are designed for families with children ages 2 to 12 years old.

Each month, your child will receive 2 carefully selected titles. You can see examples of the book titles here.

First, you need to choose which type of box you're interested in. There are five options: 
  • Board books ($25/mo)
  • Spanish Picture books ($27/mo)
  • Spanish chapter books ($27/mo)
  • Bilingual picture books ($27/mo)

Then, you have to select the frequency from the following options: 
  • monthly
  • 3-month ($3 off)
  • 6-month ($14-18 off)
  • 12-month (1 month free)

Then, you just pick up the book, sit back, and read! This seems like the perfect gift for a bilingual family. And there's even a gifting option so you can purchase a subscription for your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or godchildren.

Little Passports
$11.95 - 17.95/mo

Are you raising a global citizen like I am? If so, then be sure to check out Little Passports! This awesome company offers four different monthly subscriptions to help your child go on a global adventure and learn about the world around them. My kids had so much fun with this program. We did the World Edition. But now that they are older, I'm looking into the new Science Expeditions program to strengthen their STEM skills. To see what each program comes with each month, click on the "Little Passports" title above for a complete list.

Early Explorers (3-5 yo)

Preschoolers explore a new world theme each month like Music, World Landmarks, and Dinosaurs. Each monthly package includes a 20-page activity booklet, fun souvenirs, trading cards, letters, photos, stickers and more.

World Edition (6-10 yo)

Discover a new country each month with pen pals Sam & Sofia! Packages include letters, fun souvenirs, activity sheets, stickers, photos and more, plus access to the Boarding Zone for more online games!

USA Edition (7-12 yo)

Discover the USA with monthly activities, games, science experiments & more! Two new states are featured each month in our 32-page activity-packed State Journal, along with stickers, postcards, pop-out models and access to more facts and activities online.

Science Expeditions (9+ yo)

Every month, your child will receive a package full of science experiments and STEM-related activities with themes like rockets, forensics, caves and crystals, northern lights and magnetism, hydrology, and so much more!

Green Kid Crafts
$17.95 - 19.95/mo

Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award-winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEAM Kits (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

What I like is that you can choose from four options:
  • monthly ($19.95)
  • 3-month ($19.95)
  • 6-month ($18.95)
  • 12-month ($17.95)

Each month, your Discovery Box will have a new theme and earth-friendly materials to complete 5 to 8 different projects.

Magic School Bus Science Club
$119/year (PSST!! This is 50% OFF for 2 more days!!)

Grab this incredibly fun 12-month subscription of Ms. Frizzle-approved, wacky experiments delivered to your doorstep for award-winning science FUN! It's 50% off and you get FREE shipping in the US. Ships to Canada for $2/month and all other countries for $4/month. Receive a Magic School Bus science experiment shipped to you during the middle of each month for 12 months and include them into your science curriculum.

It's created for kids ages 5 -12.

Each kit includes:

  • Detailed, large 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information 
  • Each manual is based on the popular Magic School Bus books and TV series 
  • Includes an adult section so that adults with no science background will find the kits easy to use 
  • Materials and information necessary for a range of interactive experiments
  • Online Clubhouse for further exploration on each kit topic 
  • Certificate of Completion

Monday, November 28, 2016

Educational & Bilingual Toys for Children 4 & Under

Last week, I avoided the Black Friday sales and all of the commercialism that goes with it. I really wanted to just focus on family and actually be grateful on Thanksgiving.

But I do realize that the holidays are quickly approaching, and I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the great, educational products that are now available for children. You may have already purchased gifts, or you may still be looking for ideas of things to help boost your child's vocabulary and basic skills. So here are a few of my favorites this year.

Today's theme is "Bilingual Tots!" I know many of you who follow MommyMaestra are working hard to raise bilingual children. So I want to be sure and share these excellent toys that promote multilingualism. Most have English and Spanish options, one also includes French, and a couple don't have any language associated with them so you can use whichever language you prefer.

Either way, I hope you enjoy this collection of educational gifts that help develop important skills in a fun way.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure in the sidebar.

Counting Chameleon
Amazon.com, $21

This puzzle teaches numbers 1 to 15 on one side and spells out the number names in both English and Spanish on the reverse. Made from sustainably harvested rubber wood with non-toxic, child safe stains, the puzzle includes a 7"x10" wood tray for storage and display. Available in English & Spanish.

Magnutto Make a Mood
Marbles: The Brain Store, $25

Children learn to understand, express, identify, and appropriately respond to emotions and to feelings as they create facial expressions. This set includes a list of emotions, examples of facial expressions, and sample role-play questions contained on tri-lingual (English, Spanish, French) activity cards.

Amazon, $25

Made from eco-friendly rubber wood with non-toxic, child safe stains, this 26-piece puzzle features one animal for every letter. Uppercase on one side and lowercase on the other teaches alphabet letters while developing fine motor and problem- solving skills.

Colored Cups & Balls
Educents, $24

This puzzle teaches numbers 1 to 15 on one side and spells out the number names in both English and Spanish on the reverse. Made from sustaina

Baby Einstein Octoplush
Amazon, $16

The Baby Einstein Octoplush is a soft, multi textured, developmental plush toy. Young babies can hug Octoplush to hear a Baby Einstein melody and explore the textures for tactile development. As baby grows, colorful stitched satin patches on velour legs invite baby to learn color names through repetition. Squeeze each leg to hear color names in English, Spanish and French. Patterns of the color names are also printed on the underside of each leg in multiple languages.

VTech Count and Learn Turtle
Amazon, $13

Encourage early math skills with the Count and Learn Turtle by VTech. Press the light-up number buttons to hear the friendly turtle count and say each number. Choose the addition activity, and the turtle will help your child add two numbers and light up the correct number of buttons. The turtle also features two rollers that introduce shapes, colors and instruments and will add fun sounds into the melodies and sing-along songs in the music activity. For even more learning fun, switch to Spanish mode and the turtle will teach numbers, counting, colors, shapes and instruments in Spanish.

Arriba Abajo
Amazon, $9

ARRIBA ABAJO is a fantastic compilation of songs in Spanish and English that teach children basic concepts such as syllables, vowels, and more. It is an explosion of creativity, rhythm, and learning. This CD has 20 songs; 10 in Spanish and 10 in English. What absolutely amazes me is how Andrés is able to create these songs in both English and Spanish and stay true to the lyrics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

#RespectEachOther: A FREE Download for Parents & Teachers

Immediately after the election, I began receiving messages from parents who were worried about the future and the safety of their children. I did the best I could to reassure them, and tried to give them advice for preparing their children to deal with bullies.

But I knew it wasn't enough.

So I have created a packet for parents and educators to use with their children and students. It focuses on bullying and it isn't just for children of color. It's for all children. It not only deals with what to do if you are being bullied, but also what to do if you SEE someone who is being bullied. And it gives advice to parents who have children that are being bullied.

The people who are on the frontlines of stopping racism and bullying are parents and teachers. We are the one who are teaching our children right from wrong, love from fear, and kindness from cruelty. This packet includes:

  • posters to be placed as visual reminders
  • an educator's guide
  • discussion questions & guide
  • resources for parents
  • phrases parents can use when talking to school officials about their child being bullied
  • plans for students on how to deal with a bully
  • writing prompts
  • writing pages
  • and a recommended reading list

**SPANISH version coming soon

This packet is free to download and you may share it with everyone you know. If you are a blogger or have your own website, you can use one of the following images to post on your site and use this link to direct visitors to our downloadable packet: http://bit.ly/2gju6MR

You can even upload the packet to your website and offer it as a free download. If you need HTML code, let me know.

Since the election, there has been an explosion of race-related bullying and hate crimes across our country. New York has even had to create a special police unit as a result. And from grade school to high school to college campuses, children of color or different religions are facing difficult challenges.

So yes, the threat to our children is very real. And we can't stay quiet about it otherwise, the bullies will continue to harass other kids.

I hope that this packet will serve as a useful tool to help not only those being bullied but to prevent bullies from developing. Teachers: You know you can make a difference in a child's life. We're relying on you to help us raise thoughtful children.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Printable Bilingual Thanksgiving Storybook

New! I know, I know. It's a little late for this year, but I just loved creating this Thanksgiving-themed storybook. It's all about things for which children frequently give thanks.

This printable is available with three books: 1 in English for ELLs, 1 in Spanish for Spanish learners, and 1 bilingual storybook with text in both languages for bilingual students.

They are easy to assemble; just print and cut in half, stack with the cover page on the outside, and staple in the middle. Your students can then boost their vocabulary while coloring the pages.

You can find it in my TpT shop here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll !!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum in Spanish: Nobis Pacem

For years, people have been asking me for a complete homeschool curriculum in Spanish. And the reality has been - and still is - that there just aren't that many available or easily accessible here in the States. But there are a few out there, mainly available from other countries like Mexico.

A few months ago, I was contacted by Nobis Pacem, a homeschool curriculum company out of Monterrey, Mexico, and asked to take a look at their program.

Nobis Pacem is a complete curriculum of 3 years of preschool, 6 years of primary, and 3 years of high school (which is divided school years in Mexico, but can be adapted to each country).

I received a nearly complete 1st grade curriculum - the only thing missing were the history books that are typically included. And I have to say that I was very impressed by the materials.

Nobis Pacem follows the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. It was created by British educator, Charlotte Mason, who believed that education is a combination of three areas: Atmosphere, Discipline, and Life. She stated that children should:
  • learn from their home environment or surroundings (Atmosphere)
  • should be taught good habits of character (Discipline)
  • should be taught using living thoughts and ideas (Life)

Charlotte Mason homeschoolers rely on books written by authors who are passionate about the subject, as opposed to dry textbooks. The goal is to inspire and retain, rather than indifferent memorization.

So it will come as no surprise that Nobis Pacem is a COMPREHENSIVE curriculum, which I know many of you are looking for - it's meaty stuff, as you can see from the images. A lot of time and effort has gone into creating this program.

The sample I received covered the following subjects:
  • Art
  • Music
  • Writing, composition, & spelling
  • Math
  • Science
  • Geography
  • History
Really, most of the materials are for the parent-teacher, as the level of reading is more advanced than a 1st grader can do on their own unassisted. But again, the Charlotte Mason method expects strong parental involvement. 

The first thing you'll want to dive into is the teacher's guide, which has lots of information to prepare parents on how to use the curriculum. You'll also find extras, such as possible meal plans, school-year calendar, and plenty of forms for helping you organize and record your progress over the year. The calendar includes indicators of Sundays and holidays. And of course, there are the actual lesson plans.

I love the Apreciacion del Arte (Art Appreciation) lessons which include a biography of the artist followed by visual examples of his work. Only three artists are explored in this book, but the biographies are very thorough and each one has 10 examples of their work. In addition, there is a faint black-and-white image of each of the works that you can have your child color in staying as true to the artist's color palette as possible.

And the Compositores y Música Clásica (Composers and Classical Music) lesson book is similar with biographies for each composer. For example, you'll learn that Chopin was a composer of the Romantic Period who enjoyed acting as much as he did composing and playing the piano. He was easily inspired, but would lock himself up in his room for days to perfect his compositions.

Nobis Pacem also includes a CD with music from each of the composers for you to listen to with your kids as you learn about each composer (15 in all).

The history and geography texts are designed for reading aloud to the student. There are a few illustrations scattered about the book, but the emphasis is obvious the storyline itself. The focus for first grade is world history, beginning with the creation of the world (not bible-based) and ending with World War II.

The geography book is a little different from what you might expect. It's not really about mapping, but rather about introducing children to countries around the world. If you are raising a global citizen (and I hope you are!!) then you will love this book and approach to geography. 

Following in the Charlotte Mason method, Escritura, Ortographía, y Composición is a workbook is made up of copywork. Students copy paragraphs and phrases/sentences to learn proper punctuation, grammar, and writing style. Personally, I prefer a good grammar curriculum that explains the various elements, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, as well as interrogative vs. exclamatory sentences.

One cool thing is how the copywork in this workbook is from famous poems - in Castilian Spanish! Actually, it's in OLD Castilian Spanish. So your child will learn madrigals, rhymes, sonnets, and other poetry by renown authors such as Gutierre de Cetina, Lope de Vega, Juan de Arguijo, and others.

Matemática para la familia (Mathematics for the Family) is an activity-based book. Each lesson lists the materials needed, the objective(s), and instructions. The smaller Matemáticas para primaria is a little workbook for your child to complete on their own.

Although they are based in Mexico, they ship worldwide. And they do offer a US accreditation, which is valid in Mexico as well. 

All this said, the curriculum is a bit pricey - but reasonable compared to English curricula of the same caliber. You can find out more information on their website.

So if you have decided to homeschool in Spanish and plan to use the Charlotte Mason method, then this might be the curriculum for you!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

FREE Children's Opera Debuts TOMORROW!

Psst! Here is a WONDERFUL opportunity for MommyMaestra readers in the San Francisco area. Tomorrow night, Opera Parallèle will perform “Xochitl and the Flowers” at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Third-grade students of the Alvarado Elementary School Spanish Immersion Program in San Francisco will be performing in the opera. ♥♥♥

The opera is based on the children's book (same name) by Latino poet and author, Jorge Argueta, who is a refugee from El Salvador. If you haven't read it, my latest article for NBC News features him and the amazing way he is giving back to the children in his hometown of San Salvador with the Library of Dreams.

Jorge's book, Xochitl and the Flowers is a beautiful immigration story about a young girl, Xochitl (SOH-cheel), whose family moves to the United States leaving their small flower business behind. It is all about starting a new life and prospering.

I SO wish that I could attend! But maybe you can? If so, here are all the details. Please, take some pictures and tell me all about it!!

WHAT: “Xochitl and the Flowers” opera for families

WHEN: 6 p.m. Nov. 17; 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 19

WHERE: Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission St., San Francisco

COST: FREE admission, reservations recommended

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Ways to Explore the Ocean with Young Children

One of the most fascinating habitats for children to explore is the ocean. Marine life is so incredibly different from anything they might encounter in their daily lives, that it captures their imagination almost instantly.

Here are five ways to explore marine biology with your little ones:

Read About It

There are literally hundreds of amazing books that have been published on the ocean. I especially love picture books with visually stunning pictures and illustrations that take your child's imagination on a trip under the sea. But don't forget to include storybooks that take place on, near, or under the ocean. They help your child connect with sea life in a more personal way.


Hands-on activities are so much fun and promote learning. Children who do activities (coloring, crafts, art) are much more likely to remember the concepts being taught. And the activity doesn't have to be messy or complicated. A simple coloring book like "Life Under The Sea: Ocean Kids Coloring Book" (aff) is fun and easy to take on the road.

For ideas, check out my Ocean Life Activities board on Pinterest...


Seriously, nothing gets kids more excited than games. Even if the actual game itself isn't very educational, simply having an ocean theme can get kids excited about learning after the game is finished. (Wow! We learned a lot today. Let's play a game to finish up!)

Or you can use it as an incentive for more serious learning by saving it for a reward after a day of "hard" learning.


PBS KIDS has a brand new series from The Jim Henson Company that will be coming out on November 23rd. It's designed to encourage kids (ages 4 - 7) to explore the natural undersea world. Developed with top marine biologists, you can be reassured that the content is accurate, educational, and super fun! For example, in the first episode, your child will learn about bioluminescence and the ocean depths. (PSST! Four 11-minute stories are available NOW in the free PBS KIDS Video App and on pbskids.org.)

Field Trip!

There's nothing like first-hand experience, so if you happen to live not too far from the coast, pack up your kids for the weekend and head to the beach. If it's too far away, or a little out of your budget, look for an aquarium or zoo near you. Even museums of natural sciences often have an exhibit dedicated to the deep.

Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with PBS KIDS. All opinions are the writer's. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bilingual Avenue's Facebook Live Event: Raising Bilingual Children

I get lots of questions from MommyMaestra readers about how to start homeschooling, how to raise bilingual children, what bilingual homeschool materials are available and so on and so on. I certainly don't claim to know all the answers, but I do try my absolute best to GET the answers that my readers are looking for.

So when Marianna Du Bosque of Bilingual Avenue asked me if I would consider sharing my own journey as a mom trying to raise bilingual children, I told her right off the bat that my kids weren't poster children for being bilingual. Because the truth is, I certainly have my own struggles trying to raise kids who can speak Spanish when I am honestly the ONLY one around who can speak Spanish. But Marianna was gracious and still enthusiastic, so TONIGHT at 8:30 pm ET, I'll be on a Facebook Live Event with her (and will try to share it on the MommyMaestra FB page, too!) talking about our bilingual journey.

In addition, I'll be talking about homeschooling - how to start and where to find support - as well as bilingual homeschooling. You'll hear which programs I really love for teaching children Spanish, too.

So if you've been thinking about homeschooling your children (especially now with all the upheaval in our country), or if you are struggling to raise bilingual kids, or if you just want to chat with me, I hope you'll join us!

The coolest part, I think, is that Marianna has created a free reflection guide that you can download and keep notes or write down questions.

Oh, and you can send in your questions, too, before (or during??) the event and we'll do our best to answer them. Or just stop by and say "hola" and share one of your struggles or successes! They inspire us, too.

So sign up here to download your free reflection guide and even have a reminder sent to you.

I'm looking forward to connecting with all of you!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bilingual Children's Books for the Holidays

It's hard to believe that we are in the final stretch of the year with only a few days left until Thanksgiving and a little more than a month away from Christmas. I've had quite a few books sitting by my computer awaiting review, so I've decided to put together a small collection of bilingual books that celebrate the holidays. As usual, the links used may be my Amazon affiliate links and when you purchase one through them, I get a small portion of the sale on a gift card that I use to buy books and holiday gifts for my children. I only share books that I would read to my own children. 

Happy reading!

Books for Thanksgiving

by Alma Flor Ada

In this super cute little tale, a spider helps a turkey find a unique way to avoid being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. It's told from the point of view of the turkey, so it's a pretty fun read for children!

by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra

There are so many things to be thankful for.

For one young boy, it’s
   flying ladybugs,
      splashing ocean waves,
      a best friend,
   Dad’s thick chocolate syrup,
      and much more.

Straight from the heart of a child flows this lighthearted bilingual celebration of family, friendship, and fun. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, "¡Gracias! Thanks!"

by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

Beto and Gaby anxiously wait for their relatives to arrive for Thnkasgiving dinner. One by one, they call to inform the family they will not be able to attend because of a great snowstorm. Suddenly, their grandmother appears with a group of elder friends who have nowhere to have dinner, and the celebration becomes really special. contains an informative section on Thanksgiving day.

by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

In this warm holiday story, a young Puerto Rican boy saves the life of his pet turkey with help from his close-knit New York City family and neighborhood. Beginning Spanish vocabulary is woven into the text.

Books for Christmas

by Mariana Llanos

The Wanting Monster rears its ugly head again in the latest book by author, Mariana Llanos. This time, Tito's little brother Andy is the victim and turns into the Wanting Monster every Christmas. This year it's worse because the family will be traveling to Peru to visit family and he's worried that Santa won't be able to find them. But their trip to Peru helps both Andy and Tito discover the true meaning of Chistmas. 

I love that the author has included a list of reading comprehension questions at the back of the book to help your child process the story and think about the messages it presents.

by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

In this warm and vibrant collection of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, or villancicos, the authors bring to life the holiday traditions of Latin America and Spain. The creative English adaptations by Rosalma Zubizarreta both capture the spirit of the originals and add a new dimension to the songs. And Spanish illustrator Viví Escrivá's spirited illustrations are perfect backdrops for the lyrics, adding rich holiday flavor.

Come sing along! ¡Feliz Navidad! and Merry Christmas!

by Rudolfo Anaya, illustrated by Amy Córdova

In The Santero's Miracle, don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen.

Don Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers.

The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés' parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and don Jacobo's neighbor, don Leopoldo, is desperately ill and cannot get to the hospital.

Then comes don Jacobo's dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don't plow 'til April," don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?"

The Santero's Miracle covers themes of home, family, tradition, imagination, culture, and community. It reminds us of much that is special about New Mexico: our rural villages, beautiful mountains, centuries-old traditions, strong families, diverse population, and welcoming communities united in history and culture.

Love this post? Share it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...