HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Cinco de Mayo Book Picks, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Book Picks, 2009

By Amanda Lynch, The Children’s Book Review
Published: May 2, 2009

Cinco de Mayo is always a great day to acquaint young readers with the heritage of our neighbors south of the border!  The day actually celebrates the Battle of Puebla, where the Mexican Army defeated the French–who outnumbered them two-to-one.  I was pleased to find some exciting books from Mexican-American writer and poet Carmen Tafolla that celebrate Mexican culture:

What Can You Do with a Paleta?

by Carmen Tafolla (Author) and Magaly Morales (Illustrator)

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 2009)

What to Expect: Rhyme, Friendship, Family, Eating, Mexican Culture

I’m not sure what I loved the most about this book:  the lush, playful illustrations, the gentle rhyme, or the fact that it left me really wanting a paleta. In Mexico, the paleta man is similar to the ice cream man–whenever he comes down the street, children flock to him to get the tasty treats. Paletas are similar to frozen popsicles, made from all natural, healthy ingredients–and come in every flavor from strawberry to coconut, pecan to chocolate.  At the heart of this story, however, is much more than the yummy treats–paletas are used to bring people together, as families, friends, and new acquaintances all come together.  The children can even use their treat to make a masterpiece. I agree with the little girl who narrates the story, though–she feels that the very best thing to do with a paleta is to “lick it and slurp it and sip it and munch it and gobble it all down.”  You can find them at your local grocery store, and having one handy when you finish the book is a great way to partake in a cultural celebration.

Add this book to your collection:  What Can You Do with a Paleta?

What Can You Do with a Rebozo?

by Carmen Tafolla (Author) and Amy Cordova (Illustrator)

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 2008)

What to Expect: Family, Rhyme, Mexican Culture

For any child who loves to play dress up and use their imagination to take it to the next level, What Can You Do With a Rebozo? is a must-have.  Rebozos (pronounced reh-boh-sohs) have been worn by women in Mexico for centuries, and are extremely useful.  Various generations of the family all find practical uses for their rebozos: Mama may use it to add extra flair to her Sunday dress, or she may use it to carry a baby.  Grandma uses hers to keep her warm on chilly nights.  An older sister weaves it through her hair for a new style.  Even men use rebozos– they’re very handy for wiping up spills!

For the little girl in the story, however, there is a much more fun use:

“But what I like to do most with a rebozo is DANCE!

La Bamba, my favorite dance.”

Other fun features of this book include a history of the rebozo and fun questions to ask when you’re done reading the story.

Add this book to your collection:  What Can You Do with a Rebozo?

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<a href="https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/author/amanda-lynch">Amanda Lynch</a> is a writer, editor, and blogger who grew up in Florida knowing she belonged somewhere else. She now lives in the DC Metro Area with her husband and three amazing little boys. She is the Eco-Friendly/Green Living Contributor over at the <a href="http://www.primeparentsclub.com/author/amandalynch/">Prime Parents' Club</a> and strives to live earth friendly in a world of disposable diapers. When not writing about Anabel and Jared or chasing around a curly-haired boy, she cheers for the Gators (in all kinds of weather) and occasionally remembers to sleep. You can also find her on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/AmandaLynchWriter">Facebook</a>, or on Twitter as <a href="http://www.twitter.com/thebookprincess">@thebookprincess</a>.


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