TEACHER, AUTHOR, EDUblogger "I want to (read and) write books that unblock the traffic jam in everyone's mind." ~J. Updike
An award-winning author and a rising star artist have put a festive Latino twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” in A Pinata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas … populating it with piñatas in place of partridges, plus burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons), and much more, all displayed in the most vivid colors imaginable. In this version a little girl receives gifts from a secret amiga, whose identity is a sweet surprise at the book’s conclusion. There are things to find and count in Spanish on every page, with pronunciations provided right in the pictures and a glossary and music following the story. This joyous fiesta will warm even the coldest of hearts.
In this Latino twist on the traditional folk song, the narrator’s secret amiga‘s gifts include a piñata in a pine tree and cuatro luminarias, according to School Library Journal.
The identity of the girl’s amiga is a sweet surprise and is sure to bring a smile to readers. The spreads are pleasing to the eye, with acrylic paintings rendered in vivid oranges, pinks, greens, and sky blue. A description of Christmas foods and other holiday traditions from different Latin American countries are included in the author’s note, which also gives information on the history of the 12 days (beginning Christmas Day and ending January 5, Twelfth Night, the night before Epiphany, or Feast of the Three Kings). The last page includes the score.
Booklist said “In trading a partridge for a piñata and intertwining English and Spanish, Mora has created not only a fun adaptation of a classic Christmas carol but also an introduction to many elements of holiday celebrations for families across the U.S. and Latin America.”
Among the 12 presents that a little girl’s amiga brings to her are toys, musical instruments,and special holiday foods such as pastelitos and tamalitos. The final gift is 12 angels heralding (doce angelitos celebrando) the arrival of a new baby sister, preparations for which have been unfolding in the background all along. The illustrator is the sister of Belpré Award–winning illustrator Yuyi Morales, and these acrylic paintings share a similar colorful and vibrant style as they integrate words, numbers, Spanish pronunciations, joy, and excitement throughout each full-page spread. A glossary, useful author’s and illustrator’s notes, and musical notation are also included. The syllabic rhythm doesn’t always perfectly match the familiar tune, but that won’t make reading or singing this any less merry.
Pat Mora, a popular presenter across the country at conferences, campuses, libraries, and schools, speaks and offers workshops on literacy, creativity, leadership, the writing process, and serving diverse populations. “Sharing Bookjoy: Creative Literacy Leaders” and “ZING! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students” are among her more popular themes.
The author of award-winning books of nonfiction and poetry for adults and of many children’s books, Pat received honorary doctorates in letters from North Carolina State University and SUNY Buffalo and is an honorary member of the American Library Association. Among her other awards are the 2006 National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, a Visiting Carruthers Chair at the University of New Mexico, a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship.
A former teacher, university administrator, and consultant, Pat is the founder of the family literacy initiative El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day (Día), now housed at the American Library Association. The yearlong commitment to linking all children to books, languages, and cultures and of sharing what Pat calls “bookjoy,” culminates in national celebrations in April.
Pat was named one of the “Fifty Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets & Writers magazine in February 2010.
“Spanish phrases pepper the traditional carol as a joyful child experiences the holiday…A luminous holiday pick, especially for new big brothers and sisters.” –Publishers Weekly
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“Beginning with “a piñata in a pine tree” and culminating in “doce angelitos celebrando” (twelve angels rejoicing), the double-page spreads each contain a pronunciation guide for both gifts and numbers.” –Horn Book
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