November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Pablo's Tree"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

Activities for sharing Pablo’s Tree in the classroom:

  • 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.

Autumn Gold

A Thanksgiving haiku from Pat:

Autumn Gold
Luscious recipes.
Families ring, thank, share, laugh, tease.
Giving warms our hearts.

Illustration by Raphael Lopez from Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings

Illustration by Raphael Lopez from Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America’s Sproutings

Illustrator Recognition for Bookjoy, Wordjoy

Raúl Colón’s art from Bookjoy, Wordjoy has been chosen for the 2018 Original Art, the Society of Illustrators’ annual juried exhibition celebrating the fine art of children’s book illustration. Original Art showcases art from the year’s best children’s books as determined by a jury of outstanding illustrators, art directors, and editors.

Art from the featured artists will be shared in an exhibit from November 7 through January 5, 2019. Congratulations, Raúl!

Looking Ahead to Día de los Muertos: The Remembering Day

The Remembering Day/El dia de los muertos by Pat MoraIn the bilingual picture book The Remembering Day/El día de los muertos, Pat created an origin myth in which she imagined how the Mexican custom of remembering deceased loved ones came to be. Day of the Dead (El día de los muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere.

Hopefully homes, libraries and schools can use this book to introduce this custom to children and suggest creating an opportunity for sharing memories.You can find ideas here.

An Author’s Note from Pat: Celebrating Lives
Many cultures have traditions for honoring their dead. A beautiful tradition, the Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead, is a time for remembering and honoring loved ones. A blending of indigenous and Catholic elements, this Mexican tradition is often misunderstood.

Since the world is our home, and we are affected by weather and what grows around us, cultures and religions link observances to the seasons. The Día de los Muertos occurs on November 2, in the mulling season of autumn.

What becomes popular is often what can be commercialized: skulls and marigolds, ways to lure customers. Actually, “luring” is a deep part of the tradition, since some believe that departed spirits are lured back, often by their favorite foods and objects.

I view this tradition as a celebration of those no longer with us. At schools, libraries, museums and homes, children, families and visitors can create and enjoy displays that include pictures, cherished objects, possibly favorite foods of those being honored. We can also create our own remembering traditions.

In this book, I imagined how this custom of creating a remembering day might have started in the distant part, in a rural village; when indigenous languages, and not Spanish or English, were spoken on this hemisphere; before large cities or churches existed in the Americas. Many families find this tradition a helpful way to annually celebrate the lives of cherished family members and friends and find comfort in remembering the