Scholastic Highlights Books that Celebrate The Day of the Dead! / ¡El Dia de los Muertos!

By Concetta Gleason and Roany Molina
of the Editorial and Creative teams for Club Leo

While Hispanic Heritage Month has come to an end, it’s now time for the Day of the Dead! / ¡El Dia de los Muertos!, a significant holiday in Latin America, but most primarily celebrated in Mexico. The holiday is gaining popularity in North America and takes place over two days (November 1 and 2). It is seen as a time when the veils between the worlds of the living and dead diminish as families and friends celebrate their memories of the dearly departed.

Below are some books that explore this holiday’s unique traditions and beliefs: 

El Libro de la Vida (The Book of Life Movie Novelization) and La Travesía del Héroe (A Hero’s Journey) are fun new twists  on El Dia de los Muertos that help children learn about and celebrate the holiday. Both books are based on the upcoming movie The Book of Life, which follows the adventures of the fearless Manolo. The movie is set during the two-day celebration for the Day of the Dead. The holiday is a time to not only honor those who have passed but also appreciate the importance of life. Many people believe that during this celebration their loved ones return to visit. Families even set out offerings such as food, flowers, and games that the dead enjoyed when they were living. The Book of Life novelization and picture book allow readers to get a better understanding of the culture and tradition in an entertaining way. These books are also available in English.

 

La difunta Familia Díaz (The Dead Family Díaz) is a playful and humorous tale that explores the friendship of two young boys—
one living and one dead—that  changes both their (un)dead lives…and leads to some great pranks on their older siblings! The illustrations are bold and beautiful representations of ancient traditions merging with the modern, living world. La difunta Familia Díaz (The Dead Family Díaz) is also available in the Colección Herencia Hispana / Hispanic Heritage Collection.

 

 

 

El festival de las calaveras / The Festival of Bones expresses the joy and enthusiasm of this holiday. Gorgeous graphic illustrations of the skeletons actually dancing highlight the bilingual text, and the book includes a history of the holiday and fun activities for children.

 

 

 

 

Usborne: Motivos mexicanos para colorear (Usborne: Mexican Patterns to Color) is an activity book that explores the rich artistic history of Mexican culture with fun facts and appealing figurines to color. Special attention is paid to the Day of the Dead’s sugar skulls and costumes.

 

 

 

 

 

You can find all of these books online now!

Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.

Scholastic Asks Three Questions to Three Latina Illustrators

By Concetta Gleason
Editorial Manager of Club Leo en Español

To mark the end of Hispanic Heritage Month this week, Club Leo en Español is proud to share exclusive art and interviews with three fantastic and dynamic Latina illustrators: Yuyi Morales (author/illustrator of Niño Wrestles the World), Angela Dominguez (author/illustrator of Maria Had a Little Llama /María tenía una llamita), and Alejandra Oviedo (illustrator of Animaletras).

We asked each artist to answer three questions in words and art:

1. What inspires your work?
2. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
3. What are your words to live by?

Each woman provided wildly imaginative, unique, and different examples of her artistic persona and motivations. Let’s explore!

Yuyi Morales won the 2014 Pura Belpré Illustration Award for Niño Wrestles the World. Not to brag but Yuyi briefly made us Internet-famous (by association) when she shared a sneak peek of her exclusive art on her resplendent Instagram account.

Yuyi answered the questions in a comic-book style and as a new person: she awoke one morning—transformed and “more beautiful than ever”—as “Tzitzimitl,” an ancient Aztec deity who shares a deep connection with the stars and astrology. Ha! Eat dust, Kafka.

For the record, Tzitzimitl > cockroach. Any day of the week. Thanks, Yuyi!

 

Alejandra Oviedo, the illustrator of Animaletras, sent us sweet and imaginative illustrations that capture the beauty and freedom of childhood. Her illustrations are made from intricate and delicate paper cuts, and she is inspired by looking at the world through the eyes of a child.

1. What inspired your work for Animaletras?

My inspiration for the illustrations came from kids’ drawings. I find them beautiful, and they portray the most important elements of each animal. I also paid attention to animal pictures, and I visited the zoo many times to capture not only the animals’ shapes but also their attitudes and personalities.

2. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would love to fly like a bird.

3. Words to live by?

Always put love in what you do; believe in your dreams and do not leave them behind.

What inspiring answers! Thanks, Alejandra!

 

Angela Dominguez, author and illustrator of the Pura Belpré Illustration Honor book Maria Had a Little Llama /Maria tenía una llamita, sent us fun and playful photographs of Peruvian children and llamas that she used to as models and inspiration for her book.

1. What inspired your work for Maria Had a Little Llama/María tenía una llamita?

The inspiration for the project came from an illustrator’s assignment at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I was given the task of doing my own version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I was excited about the assignment, but I found it really difficult at first to find inspiration to reinterpret the classic story. My first doodles felt a little quiet, soft, and too familiar. I wanted my Mary to have personality with rich colors!

Whenever I’m stuck, I go to the library. There, I began researching sheep and farm life. It was in a book that I discovered a picture of a little girl with a llama. The idea of including llamas with the sheep led me to set the story in Peru. Finally I knew how I could personalize Mary, and that’s when Mary turned into Maria. The more I looked at books, the more I was inspired by the beautiful faces of the Peruvian children, the rich textiles, and the lush landscapes. I’ve never been to Peru, and I think my desire to visit the country pushed me to create landscapes of this idealized world I have in my head.

2. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

I would teleport. I love traveling, but I don’t particularly enjoy flying or how long it takes to get somewhere. Plus I would love to be able to give a family member or a friend a hug really quickly and then get back to work.

3. Do you have a life motto or favorite phrase? 

I have a few. First, I’m not sure where I read it, but “persistence plus passion equals success” is my favorite motto. I also love so many quotes from Winston Churchill and Henry Ford. This one quote, in particular, from Henry Ford is just so motivating. He said, “Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” It’s just so beautiful.

Thanks, Angela! We’d be happy to travel to Peru with you!

It’s wonderful to see Latina illustrators have prominence in children’s literature, and that as visual storytellers they have broken new ground—from Mexican myths to remaking classic fairy tales.

We thank and celebrate Yuyi Morales, Alejandra Oviedo, and Angela Dominguez for opening the worldview of children everywhere.

Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.

Scholastic Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month With Some Favorite Books

By Roany Molina

Hispanic Heritage Month officially kicked off Monday – September 15th – and lasts until October 15th. To celebrate, we compiled some of our favorite characters and stories from all over Latin America in a Colección Herencia Hispana / Hispanic Heritage Collection. Each book is rich with beautiful language, stories, myths, art, and foods.

 

Award winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales does it again with her captivating children’s book, Niño Wrestles the World. Niño, the unstoppable masked child wrestler, contends against a series of abnormal opponents. Niño defeats them all with ease, but it isn’t until the clock chimes that he is faced with his most difficult challenge, Las Hermanitas (the little sisters). Morales is able to incorporate traditional Mexican beliefs and relate them to the country’s famous form of wrestling, commonly known as Lucha Libre, which requires wrestlers to mask their face to protect their identity. Her vibrant illustrations keep true to the classic pop-art style associated with Lucha Libre on posters and trading cards.  Mixed with the engrossing text, the combination of both storyline and artwork engages any reader. The tale is exciting and uses basic vocabulary for its young readers to follow along. From the uncommon opponents to the energetic fearlessness of Niño, Niño Wrestles the World depicts the story of an intelligent entertaining little boy who is able to teach its readers common Spanish words and phrases. Winning the Pura Belpré Award (2014), Yuyi Morales taps into both her creative power as an author and illustrator to create this delightful story.

 

Sabores De América is a new way to learn and look at the foods we eat. Written by Ana María Pavez and Constanza Recart, Sabores , originally published in Chile, has been distributed all over the world and is the winner of the Skipping Stone Award and the White Ravens Award (2010). The text is appealing to reader’s grades 4 and up but the book is an amazingly useful as a reference for readers of all ages. The book’s sophisticated water color art work, designed by Isabel Hojas, makes it friendly and relatable to a younger audience. This non-fiction book can also be used as an excellent classroom resource for any teacher looking to inspire cultural curiosity in the classroom. Students will learn about Latin America’s contribution to the world through the use of intriguing historical facts and recipes. A glossary about Mesoamerican culture and a map of the region are included.

 

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred makes vocabulary building fun with its tribute to the nursery rhyme, “The House That Jack Built.” Written by Samantha R. Vamos and illustrated by Rafael López, each page engages the audience into wanting to help the farm maiden stir the cazuela (stewpot). Once she begins the task, all the farm animals desire to contribute in some way. Whether, it’s the cow that produces the milk or the donkey that give the duck a ride to the market to buy sugar, each animal participates in creating the final tasty dish. The cooking process becomes a festive event when everyone begins to sing and dance. Distracted by the joy of the party, the animals and the farm maiden forget to keep an eye on the cazuela and it begins to bubble over. Who will be the one to notice? Vamos and López’s combined efforts creates a delicious educational cultural celebration. An added bonus is the Arroz Con Leche recipe, better known as Rice Pudding, towards the final pages of the book. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, is an enjoyable read that can get any tummy rumbling.

 

La difunta familia Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle and illustrated by Polly Bernatene is a playful and humorous tale that explores the two side of Día de los Muertos – the living and the dead. The story revolves around Angelito, a sweet little boy – a dead little boy— living happily with his dead family. They have a well-kept home strewn with family portraits, a skeleton dog, and their whole neighborhood is “dead” – the birds, butterflies, the flowers on the dining room table, and the moon in the sky. In short, the afterlife is good. However, Angelito is anxious about Día de los Muertos and all the horrors of the living! However, an unexpected friendship will soon alter his point of view.  La difunta familia Diaz’s is a fantastic book that lightheartedly introduce children to this famous holiday.

 

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, finish the following sentence and you could win a FREE Hispanic Heritage Poster and 25 Spanish and bilingual books.  “In Latin America, I would like to travel to ____ and taste ____.”  Click HERE and then post your answer in the comments. You have until Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 11:59pm EST to post your answer. Remember, your answer must include the answer to the question “In Latin America, I would like to travel to ____ and taste ____.”  For the official rules, click here.

Stay tuned for more exciting Hispanic Heritage Special Features from Club Leo en Español throughout the next 30 days!

Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.

Soccer Mania Sweeps Scholastic as World Cup Plays Out in Brazil

By Concetta Gleason
Editorial & Creative Coordinator for Scholastic’s Club Leo

The original post can be found here on Scholastic’s site.

The World Cup kicked off Thursday, June 12, and Club Leo en Español has been cheering on our favorite teams ever since. Safe to say, soccer mania has swept Scholastic! The World Cup is the largest fútbol (aka soccer, in North America) competition in the world. Every four years a different country has the honor of hosting the games. This year, the World Cup is being hosted by Brazil. It’s the first time in almost 30 years that the games will be played in Latin America. Brazil is a soccer haven, having won the Cup a total of four times thus far. In fact, Pelé— arguably fútbol’s greatest star—hails from Brazil. Pelé is the only player to have been a world champion three times. He won in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

The World Cup is a global phenomenon and Club Leo en Español is showcasing the bilingual book Soccermania/Futbolmanía to celebrate the games. Soccermania/Futbolmanía is a great resource for learning about wild antics and fun back stories from the history of the World Cup and the game of fútbol. Some of these facts need to be read to believed! Let’s take a sneak peek at some info from the book.

Fun and Wacky Facts About Fútbol:

1. The first World Cup was played in Uruguay in 1930. At the time, different countries had different rules for the game and some of FIFA’s universal rules were still in flux. The finalists, Uruguay and Argentina, couldn’t agree on what type of ball to use. As a compromise the first half was played with an Argentinean ball and the second half with a Uruguayan ball. (Uruguay won!)

2. How many soccer balls are made every year around the world? A hundred million!

3. While fútbol may have officially started in the United Kingdom in the mid-1800s,  many ancient cultures played sports that resemble the game:

  • China played a game called cuju during the Han Dynasty.
  • Greece played a game called episkyros more than 2,000 years ago.
  • The Roman Empire played a game called harpastum more than 1,500 years ago.
  • Japan played a game called kemari 1,400 years ago.

4. The Nike Corporation makes fútbol attire and memorabilia out of plastic bottles. It takes eight bottles to make a shirt and five bottles to make a pair of shorts.

Check out Soccermania/Futbolmanía to learn more interesting and surprising facts! Below are some more exciting resources for fútbol fans, old and new:

La historia de los Mundiales (History of the World Cup)

Pelé, King of Soccer/Pelé, el rey del fútbol

Enjoy the World Cup, and let’s honor the sport’s ability to unify people around the world by living up to the 2014 slogan: “All in one rhythm.”

Author’s Note: Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.

For Children’s Day/Book Day, Let’s Meet Angela Dominguez, Illustrator of Maria Had a Little Llama

By Concetta Gleason
editorial assistant/admin coordinator for Scholastic’s Club Leo en Español

The original post can be found here on Scholastic’s site.

Today is Children’s Day/Book Day/El día de los niños/El día de los libros, which is a mouthful, so let’s call it by its common name: Día¡Gracias!

Founded in 1996 by Pat Mora, author of Book Fiesta!Día is a celebration of children reading in their home language and exploring new languages. One of the most amazing things Día strives to do is provide grants for communities and libraries to support literacy for children of all languages and cultural backgrounds. We love this holiday. Bilingualism + books + kids = Club Leo.

To celebrate, we wanted to do something special: interview Angela Dominguez, author and illustrator of the beloved Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita, which won the 2014 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor.

Angela was born in Mexico City, raised in Texas, and now lives in San Francisco. She is totally awesome. Let’s chat!

Club Leo: Why do you like llamas? 

Angela Dominguez: Llamas have so much personality! They have such expressive faces and such interesting bodies. I love their long necks, short legs, and their luscious fur.

CL: Where did you grow up? What do you like about that place? 

AD: I was born in Mexico City, but I grew up in Texas. My brother and his family still live there, and I visit often. Texas is very welcoming with friendly people. The summers are wonderful, and I miss the food—especially the corn bread.

CL: Why did you become an illustrator and author of children’s books?

AD: I’m having so much fun writing stories now and feel very privileged to be doing what I do. Children’s books have such an impact on children growing up, and great picture books resonate with people of all ages. I also adore the simplicity. It’s about editing it down to what’s absolutely necessary to tell a good story with pictures and words.

CL: Do you remember Scholastic Book Clubs from when you went to school?

AD: I remember Scholastic Book Clubs fondly. I would take home the catalog and would always want so many books. My mother, who supported me and my brother by herself, never would deny me any books and supported my reading habit. For that and many reasons, I’m very grateful.

CL: What do you like to do when you have free time?

AD: I love walking, swimming, and being outdoors. I also enjoy traveling and hope to do more in the future. In addition, spending time with my family and friends.

Angela has one of the best jobs in the world—she is an author and illustrator! What that means is she writes stories and draws pictures all day long.

Angela does all her cool artwork in a studio—in fact, the studio in the pictures shown above! A studio is a room full of paper, paint, and creative ideas. (When you think about it, a studio is a lot like a personal classroom for one person!) Angela uses digital brushes and a computer screen to add colors to book pages. We love the beautiful illustrations and bright colors in Maria Had a Little Llama/Maria Tenía una Llamita! Especially the little llama!

Author’s Note: Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Animals and Latin American Art

By Concetta Gleason
editorial assistant/admin coordinator for Scholastic’s Club Leo en Español

The original post can be found here on Scholastic’s site.

Animaletras by Chilean author Francisca Palacios is the ideal book to read during National Poetry Month. Animaletras is an alphabet book that teaches young learners about the animal kingdom, describing each animal in beautiful verse that includes useful facts about habits and habitats. The vibrant illustrations beautifully encapsulate the playfulness and vitality so common in Latin American art. One of our favorite letter-and-animal pairs is A for Águila (Eagle):

 A a 

Con el águila en el cielo
bien montada en cada ala
la a vuela, aventurera,
por los vientos inflamada.

With the eagle in the sky
saddled closely to each wing
the a takes flight, adventurous,
enflamed by the winds.

For bilingual classrooms, Animaletras opens up a world of fun creative writing exercises in Spanish and English. One great writing exercise is the acrostic, where you spell out a word vertically and use each letter as the first letter of a new word that relates to the original word. Below are acrostic poems in Spanish and English foráguila and eagle.

Águila

Ágil

Glorioso

Único

Increíble

Líder

Aplomo

 

Eagle

Enormous

Agile

Grand

Lovely

Elegant

What words and rhymes can you create in English and Spanish for National Poetry Month?

Author’s Note: Club Leo en Español supports your classroom with fun and affordable books that connect children’s home language and learning. Our books include amazing series, original titles, and winners of the Pura Belpré Award, which celebrates the remarkable contributions of artists who give voice to the Latino community through children’s literature.

Club Leo en Español apoya tu salón de clases con libros divertidos y asequibles que conectan la lengua materna y el aprendizaje de los niños. Nuestra colección incluye increíbles series, títulos originales y ganadores del Premio Pura Belpré, que celebra los extraordinarios aportes de artistas que dan voz a la comunidad latina a través de la literatura infantil.