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.