‘Twas Nochebuena

Twas Nochebuena9780670016341_p0_v2_s260x420‘Twas Nochebuena: A Christmas Story in English and Spanish

Roseanne Greenfield Thong, Author

Sara Palacios, Illustrations

Viking, Fiction, Oct. 16, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Latin American Christmas traditions, Christmas, Feast, Family, Community

Opening: ‘Twas Nochebuena / and all through our casa, / every creature was kneading tamale masa. / For one of our holiday tradiciones, / is making tamales — / not one, but montones!”

Book Synopsis: It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laugher; love and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate).  After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!”

Why I like this book: Roseanne Greenfield Thong has written a beautiful and heartwarming Latino themed picture book that re-imagines the beloved Christmas story, Twas the Night Before Christmas. The story is narrated  in English and peppered with Spanish words to expose children to a language some of their friends may speak. The rhyming is perfect. The setting is vivid and festive and teaches children about other cultures and traditions. The plot is lively and shows strong family bonds and community. The characters are endearing. Sara Palacios’ illustrations are vibrant, colorful, expressive and action-packed. She works with a variety of media including collage, ink and digital to combine her drawings with layers of color and texture. This is a joyful and magical holiday story that offers children a way to celebrate a Latino family’s Christmas traditions.

Resources:  One Latino celebration is the making of piñatas, which are filled with candy and small toys. I used to help children make them at Christmas.  Blow up a large balloon and then help kids cover it with strips of paper mache.  [Here] is a site that shows you step-by-step of how to make a piñata. Most of the ingredients you have at home.

Roseanne Greenfield Thong has authored many multicultural books including Round is a Tortilla and Green is a Chile Pepper. Her most recent November book release is, Noodle Magic.

Sara Palacios illustrated the Pura Belpré honor book Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

32 thoughts on “‘Twas Nochebuena

  1. Well, my friend, it finally happened. We picked the SAME book on the SAME day. Coincidence? Karma? a God wink? I love that we’re like-minded, kindred spirits … and … it’s excelente, isn’t it? Happy Friday!


    • Barbara,
      No coincidence — just tuned into each other. Yes, we are like-minded kindred spirits. And the book is such a wonderful share. Love how different our reviews are. You included some wonderful classroom activities.


    • So happy you liked the book and that your daughter can share it with her beginning Spanish class. It is a wonderful story about holiday traditions in other cultures. The illustrator also did the artwork for Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, which really has more Spanish in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like fun for the children. Good review, Patricia. BTW, did you happen to see that I mentioned you in my December 1st post. You are one of my top commenters on my blog, and the post is about how I appreciate all the comments I’ve received since being a blogger. It makes a link back to your blog.


  3. I Love how both you and Barbara gave the same love to this book as to pick it for PPBF! Like you said you are both tuned into each other. But I think the book picked you and it is so lovely both of you needed to get the word out.. Love the sound of this.

    I Love inter cultural books and this one does look like it fills that bill. 🙂


  4. I love books that introduce children to another culture and language. I so wish I had learned another language as a child. t would make this transition to living in Spain so much easier. I have only been here a month and have already noticed the importance of family and tradition to the Spanish people. This is a lovely book.


    • You know, in learning Spanish, you might consider viiting libraries or bookstores reading children’s books to help you understand the language. I studied Spanish for 4 years in HS and college. I remember words, but speech is so rapid that I can’t follow conversations. I get a hint about what’s being said. So you are certainly in a situation of “trial by fire.” 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my choice. It is wonderful. Thanks for the tweet.


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