HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection

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By Isabel F. Campoy, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 29, 2011

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection

by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada

Atheneum. Simon & Schuster

Book overview: Once upon a time, in a land far away…

These stories have journeyed far—over mountains, deserts, and oceans—carried by the wind,  passed on to us by our ancestors. Now they have found their way to you.

A sly fox, a bird of a thousand colors, a magical set of bagpipes, and an audacious young girl… A mixture of popular tales and literary lore, this anthology celebrates Hispanic culture and its many roots –Indigenous, African, Arab, Hebrew, and Spanish.

F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada have retold twelve beloved stories that embody the lively spirit and the rich heritage of Latino people.

This unforgettable collection is highlighted by the  work of four leading Latino artists: Felipe Dávalos, Viví Escrivá, Susan Guevara and Leyla Torres.


A Junior Library Guild Selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Books
A Parent’s Choice Rec­om­mended Book
Best Books of the Year, Notable Books for a Global Soci­ety  – Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion
Best Folk­lore in Best Books of the Year, Nick Jr. Mag­a­zine
Fea­tured Book of the Month, Col­orín Col­orado Web­site, Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Teach­ers
List of Best Books for 2006, New York Pub­lic Library

Critical Acclaim

The intro­duc­tion to this delight­ful col­lec­tion explains clearly how sto­ries develop and change over time; in fact, the two sto­ry­tellers heard most of these amus­ing tales when they were chil­dren and have retold them many times since in their own unique styles. … Chil­dren will rel­ish their humor, espe­cially if read aloud, and teens will also enjoy this lively pre­sen­ta­tion. Tra­di­tional story begin­nings and end­ings are pro­vided in Span­ish and trans­lated into Eng­lish … . Make room on your shelves for this excel­lent book. ~ School Library Journal

The authors cel­e­brate His­panic cul­ture and its many roots–indigenous, African, Span­ish, Arab, Hebrew–assembling tales from as far afield as Spain and Idaho, and show­ing how the tales have trans­formed and influ­enced one another, and even how Ada and Cam­poy have changed them. … The spa­cious book design will work well for both inde­pen­dent read­ing and read­ing aloud, and each story is illus­trated with one or more full-page pic­tures in styles that match the stories–from busy and filled to burst­ing to light and airy. ~ Booklist

An illus­trated col­lec­tion of lively sto­ries – reflect­ing ele­ments of Span­ish, Ara­bic, Celtic, African, Jew­ish, and Mex­i­can roots – retold by the dynamic Ada and Cam­poy duo. … The selec­tions hold uni­ver­sal appeal, employ­ing themes com­mon to many folk­lore col­lec­tions. Accom­pa­ny­ing the entries are cap­ti­vat­ing illus­tra­tions from four out­stand­ing artists, each using his/her unique artis­tic style to cap­ture the reader’s atten­tion. The authors’ his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge of the sto­ries is evi­dent in the notes that intro­duce this vol­ume. ~ Reseñas/Book Reviews Berke­ley Pub­lic Library


I have gone into the stu­dio to begin record­ing what is most likely to be called “More Second-hand Tales.” I know, amaz­ingly orig­i­nal, isn’t it? For those who saw me over this sum­mer, you might remem­ber me telling the story ‘The Goat from the Hills and Moun­tains.” This tale was new to me this year and I have fallen in love with it. It is based on an His­panic tale I found in a mar­velous book called TALES OUR ABUELITAS TOLD by F. Isabel Cam­poy and Alma Flor Ada, pub­lished by Atheneum. I could not find an orig­i­nal source for the story, or any other ver­sion of it, so I approached the authors for per­mis­sion to con­tinue telling the tale and also for per­mis­sion to record it, on this soon-to-be-made sec­ond CD. After a few emails with both writ­ers I have per­mis­sion to con­tinue to tell the story AND record my ver­sion of Alma Flor Ada’s ver­sion of this story which appears in the book. The book is won­der­ful, and there are many other great sto­ries in there. If you are look­ing for a hol­i­day gift to give some­one this com­ing win­ter sea­son, be it Christ­mas, Chanukah, Quanza, or any other hol­i­day, or birth­day even, then look this book over. It is not a ‘dry’ folk­lore book, but a book filled with the life and vital­ity which makes His­panic sto­ries so won­der­ful. It is also illus­trated in a style that cap­tures the tales in a unique way that kids love. I know this as we have a copy of it at my library. Many thanks to Isabel and Alma for gra­ciously allow­ing me to take this tale and put it on my sec­ond CD. ~ Simon Brooks

Add this book to your collection: Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection

For more information, visit: http://www.isabelcampoy.com/ and  http://almaflorada.com/

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.


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