A year ago, I began this section for sharing some of my ruminations. When I was a little girl in my hometown of El Paso, Texas, my wonderful dad, Raúl Mora, known to many of his English-speaking clients as Roy, opened an optical company. Because it was directly across from a United States federal building, Mom and Dad named their business the United Optical Company.
My siblings and I all worked there at times whether cleaning desks or cleaning and delivering glasses to doctors’ offices. I grew up hearing Dad use the phrase 20/20 to mean “perfect” vision.
In this 2020 year, many of us are hoping that our cherished country will see clearly the work we need to do, collectively and individually, as a democracy, to live our stated ideals. One of my major commitments is promoting the pleasure and importance of readingand the importance of children, our nation’s future, through Children’s Day, Book Day, a daily initiative.
What do you hope keeps you creative and lively in 2020? Pat
More widely celebrated in Latin America than in the United States, the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day or Los Tres Reyes, marks the the arrival of the Magi symbolizing that the Christ Child was revealed to the world. The tradition of making (or buying) a Three Kings’ Wreath or rosca de reyes inspired my book, The Bakery Lady: La señora de la panadería. I wrote it to show a close Mexican-American family celebrating this tradition by baking together. I am blessed to have known such closeness in my own life.
As a writer, I love the word epiphany from the Greek meaning a manifestation or striking insight. Wishing you epiphanies in the new year.
Perhaps because I grew up in El Paso on the U.S. Mexican border, I have always been interested in cultural traditions. This bilingual book set in Mexico describes las posadas, a Mexican, Catholic Christmas tradition. We also see how a gift need not be expensive to be special.
What a lovely note to receive at this time of year!
Dear Mrs. Mora,
We hope to find you well! We are writing to say THANK YOU! My class recently read your story, Gracias~Thanks, and my students were inspired by all the things we could say “thank you” for, so we wanted to give our very own “thanks”. Your writing has kept us grounded in the classroom each day and humbles our day to day experience as we say “thank you” to the many things and people that deserve it. Here are some photos of student work for you to enjoy.
These are from 1st-3rd graders at Uplift Heights Primary School in Dallas, Texas and are also a part of the non-profit program that I work for, Readers 2 Leaders. I recently came across your work as I have been expanding my library to include more bilingual titles, and your stories continue to be our favorites. With the majority of my students coming from Spanish-speaking homes, your stories take on new meaning and cause for celebration in our classroom. Thank you for inspiring theses young minds and for the beautiful stories you have given us.
"Five-year-old Pablo can hardly wait to see how Abuelito, his grandfather, has decorated Pablo’s tree for his birthday. When Mamá first told her father that she was going to adopt a baby…Lito went out and bought the tree for his grandson…A lovely and resonant picture book that, like the tree that Pablo discovers decked with bells and wind chimes, rings with happiness and family love."—Booklist
Using branches, have students create their own tree for a special person or to remember a specific birthday of their own. Teaching origami or making clay wind chimes are possibilities.
A number of Pat’s books describe relationships between children and an older relative. Invite students to share traditions from their families. Invite grandparents or older relatives and friends to visit the class and perhaps to share a memory, game, tradition, or song in their native language.
Students can make items for Pablo’s sixth birthday.
Using “dress-up props,” children can stage a scene about an event with an older relative or friend.