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The Rainbow Tulip.
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Here are Pat's sister, Stella, and her mother, the real "rainbow tulip," at eighty-four.
“Our opinion about Estelita is that she is a thinker. We would want to be Estelita's friend so that we could show her that everyone's different and it is okay to be who you are.”
Character sketch by the Third Graders of Hoffer Elementary School, Banning, CA, March 2010.
The Rainbow Tulip
Viking, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles
Download a hi-res jpeg of the book jacket.
El tulipán arco iris
Spanish edition, shipped only to school addresses.
Stella knows her Mexican heritage makes her different from the other kids at school. No one else speaks Spanish at home or has an accent. Stella loves her family, but she doesn’t always like being different. Now her class is going to dance around the Maypole at the school’s may parade, and Stella wants her tulip costume to be special. Even if she won’t look like the other girls, sometimes being different can be exciting. This touching story that celebrates diversity is based on Pat’s mother’s childhood and is brought to life by Elizabeth Sayle’s evocative paintings.
A note from Pat:
For Mother’s Day one year, I was able to take my mother, Estela Mora, a special gift, a book about her when she was in first grade in El Paso, Texas. Mom lives in Santa Monica now and is eighty-three. I tell her that when I show her childhood picture at conferences and schools, people say she was so cute. Mom says, "Tell them I’m still cute!"
“The scenarios in words and soft-toned pictures show the warm, loving family and also the fun and success at school … At first, the child is ashamed of her quiet, old-fashioned mother, but her parents keep a piece of Mexico at home, and Estelita/Stella comes to value her dual heritage, even though it is hard to be
“Set in El Paso, Texas, this moving family memoir focuses on Mora’s mother as a child who participated in her own way in the May parade...With warmth and directness, Mora celebrates diversity.”—Kirkus Reviews
Read more reviews
“Tapping into her mother’s childhood memories, Mora has culled a tender portrait of home life and early schooling to bring us a story of young Estelita, who learns at a very early age to negotiate her way through her dual Mexican-American identity … This is a quiet book that speaks volumes to today’s
immigrant child.”—Multicultural Review
“Estelita likes and participates in various school activities even as she experiences the difficulties and pleasures of being different … Latino families will identify with Estelita’s close family feelings. Also appealing are the soft-tones pastel illustrations framed in white that show a loving family and a
successful, though different, Estelita at school.”—Book Links
“Pat Mora, well-known as a poet and nonfiction writer, has created a touching and gentle tale...Mora’s story speaks to the experience of many children, from many generations, who wished their mothers looked more American, spoke English, but who also drew their greatest strength from their families.”—New Mexico Magazine
"The Rainbow Tulip celebrates diversity … Mora writes in her crystalline style."—Jane P. Marshall, Houston Chronicle
In April, 2010, at the first Día celebration at the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, TX, Pat had the pleasure of watching these girls from Oppe Elementary School in Galveston do a dance to Mexican music. The girls were dressed as tulips, and the girl in the center was the rainbow tulip. Rather than doing a Maypole dance as in the book, the girls did a Mexican dance that combined going around in a circle and a " London Bridge" element. The tune was one Pat's aunt, Ignacia Delgado, used to sing to Pat and her siblings.