A few weeks ago, I was invited by Becky of KidWorldCitizen to participate in a Cinderella Around The World book review project. Her goal is to show the diversity found within the "Cinderella" stories of different cultures. So I chose Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story.
Adelita is not an especially old tale. One of my favorite children's book authors/illustrators, Tomie dePaola, wrote it in back in 2004. But I absolutely love the cultural spin on the traditional tale. Adelita, as I'm sure you can guess, is our Latina Cinderella and the heroine of our book. The story begins with the (short-lived!) love story of Adelita's parents, Adela y Francisco. But her mother dies shortly after she is born and Adelita is raised by her beloved papá and his trusted family maid, Experanza. Adelita, of course, grows up to be a beautiful young woman. But her happy childhood takes a turn for the worst when her father marries the selfish Señora Micaela de la Fortuna (who happens to have two ugly, vain daughters of her own).
Next thing you know, Francisco has passed away unexpectedly, and Doña Micaela forces Adelita to work like a slave. Esperanza gets the boot out of the house and Adelita must work alone...and lonely. There is no magical Bibbety Fairy Godmother in this story, but sweet Esperanza comes to Adelita's rescue much in the same manner when Adelita is not allowed to attend a neighbor's fiesta in honor of the return of their son.
This book is so delightful for me because of all the Mexican touches dePaola gives to the tale. The story includes embedded Spanish words, as well as cultural situations. But perhaps the best part of this book are the illustrations. From Adelita's traditional dress, rebozo, and even hairstyle to the colorfully decorated setting, this book fairly oozes Mexican culture. And you'll love how they've replaced the glass slipper issue!!
It has won a special place in the heart of my own daughter and rests on her special shelf of books never to be sold or given away.
If you're interested in purchasing a copy of this book, please contact me. I have several new copies available.