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Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Book Fiesta!

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

This book was written in honor of celebrating Children's Day/Book Day in Mexico. The children in the book read with their families and friends everywhere. They read at the library, on an elephant, in boats, planes, and trains, and even on a whale! At the end of the book, the author has provided ideas for families, children, teachers, and other members of the community to have their own Children's Day/Book Day celebrations.

Book Fiesta! would be a great book to have in a classroom with English Language Learners who already speak Spanish. Each passage is written in English first and then written in Spanish below or on the next page. Children would be able to read the story in their native language and then see how to read it in the other. It would be effective for English speaking students as well to introduce them to Spanish. In addition to the story being written in both English and Spanish, the children are also reading books in other languages, including Korean and Navajo.

The illustrations by Rafael Lopez won the Pura Belpré Medal in 2010. They are bright and full of color. All the illustrations are full bleed two page spreads. One two page spread is even vertical! (The image of the book to the right.) The children in the images are very diverse. There are children of all different colors and cultures. There is a child in a wheelchair on one page. Books in the illustrations are written in multiple languages. I think this is important to show many different cultures and languages because even though this book was inspired by Mexico's Dia de los ninos (Children's Day), the author wants to encourage reading for every child. She wants to inspire every parent to read with their child. It's important that the illustrator included pictures of parents reading to and with their children.


Rafael Lopez has also won Pura Belpré Honor book Awards in illustration for the following books:
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred written by Samantha Vamos - 2012
My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia written by Monica Brown - 2006

Check out Pat Mora's "About the Book" for more information about Book Fiesta! There are professional reviews on this site as well. Pat Mora shares what inspired her to write the book in a video at the bottom of the page. She is also a Pura Belpré Honor book winner in 2006 for narrative with her book Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Big Heart.

This book has been translated into many languages. On the left is the book cover of Book Fiesta! in Arabic from Rafael Lopez's blog. On his blog you can see beautiful pictures from his travels as well as updates on his books and artwork.
He is also the designer of the poster for the National Book Festival on September 22-23 in Washington, DC this year and there is an amazing blog post about the creation of the poster. Be sure to check that out! I hope to attend the National Book Festival this year as well!

I thought this was a great book and a great way to encourage children and families to read together. In my future classroom, I plan to celebrate Children's Day/Book Day with my students!

1 comment:

  1. Kristine,
    Thanks for writing this insightful review of Book Fiesta. In creating the illustrations I wanted children to see themselves in the characters. I traveled to the United Arab Emirates to do an art workshop with kids. When we read Pat's wonderful words and children talked about the pictures of animals and kids I recognized the power of books to bring us together.

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