By Tina Vasquez, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 2, 2010
La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story
By Antonio Sacre (Author), Angela Dominguez (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2010)
When young Nina arrives at her Cuban grandmother’s house in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida, she’s not quite sure what to make of the palm trees and hot, sunny weather. It’s winter time and though she’d prefer to be with her mother, American grandmother, cousins, and the snow up north, she quickly finds herself embracing her Cuban culture and helping her family prepare La Noche Buena feast, also known as Christmas Eve dinner.
For three days Nina peels onions and garlic, listens to her female family members tell stories about Cuba, and delivers jars of her grandmother’s homemade marinade to her uncle, who is roasting a whole pig in his backyard with all of the men in the family. Everywhere she looks in the neighborhood it seems as if people are preparing for their own Noche Buena feasts. On her countless walks to her uncle’s, Nina even samples the marinades of other families as she runs into neighborhood kids making the same deliveries.
La Noche Buena is an enchanting tale as much as about food and the holidays as it is about the importance of family. Like young Nina, many of us have found ourselves in unfamiliar settings around the holidays as we’re introduced to distant relatives and unfamiliar family friends, but if you can embrace these instances and make the most of them, you can create lasting memories and new traditions.
Add this book to your collection: La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story