Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios, Spanish translation by Adriana Domínguez,
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina
Children’s Book Press, 2011 (as of 2012 an imprint of Lee & Low Books).
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina is a perky bilingual tale about a mixed-heritage girl with a lot of spunk, by award-winning author Monica Brown (Waiting for the Biblioburro; Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People).
Inspired by the author’s personal experience as a Peruvian-American of European, Jewish and Amerindian descent, Marisol McDonald introduces us to a one-of-a-kind girl who defies stereotypes.
Stripes, polka dots and flower prints peacefully co-exist on Marisol’s outfit ensembles. In real life, however, her looks, clothes, playground games and food preferences seem to puzzle her friends, who love to say she “doesn’t match”.
Enchanting and quirky Marisol clearly marches to the beat of her own drums. And why wouldn’t she? After all, there’s nothing wrong with liking peanut butter & jelly burritos; wanting to play a game of soccer-pirates; or signing her first name in cursive and her last in print.
When a school friend challenges her, “Marisol, you couldn’t match if you wanted to!”, Marisol sets out to prove him wrong, dressing for school the next day in a single solid color, eating a “regular” peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch, playing a “normal” game of soccer… and feeling wrong all day long, until a thoughtful note from her teacher snaps her back to her old, cheerful, “mismatched” self.
Radiating joy and fun, Sara Palacios’ Pura Belpré Honor illustrations bring Marisol to life and convey the riches of her life and heritage. Children will enjoy looking for and finding clues in the pictures to all the different cultures, as well as to the story’s geographical—and very apt—setting.
Marisol’s lively story ends on a happy and sweet note, leaving readers with the important message that diversity is something to be embraced and celebrated.
Continuing our Authors Remember Their Grandparents series, today we welcome author and illustrator Yuyi Morales to PaperTigers with a poignant piece about her Grandpa Felix.
Yuyi’s most recent book is Ladder to the Moon, written by Maya Soetoro-Ng (Candlewick Press/Walker Books, 2011). It is the story of a little girl Suhaila whose wish that she could know her grandmother is granted one night, when a golden ladder appears with Grandma Annie, ready to take her up to the moon. Read more about the book on Yuyi’s website, and take a look at the first few pages here - gorgeous!
This is not the first time Yuyi has depicted a grandmother by any means – there is her rosy-cheeked Abuelita with hair “the color of salt” in the exuberant My Abuelita written by Tony Johnston, our current Book of the Month on the main PaperTigers website (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009). And there are her own picture books starring Señor Calavera – Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Chronicle Books, 2003) and Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Alphabet Book (Roaring Brook Press, 2008): we are big fans of both of them in our household and love Señor Calavera’s website.
Visit Yuyi’s PaperTigers Gallery, enjoy her wonderful interview/gasp at the images over at 7-Imp’s, and find out about all her books and her many projects on her website and blog.
My white dress of crochet clusters like popcorn, mama made especially for me.
She also made the wings and a halo with antennas, and painted with powder my cheeks, and when I saw myself in the mirror I was a butterfly.
At school I fluttered like I was supposed to do, I ran in a circle and flapped my arms with my wings behind. But nobody looked at me.
Everybody was too busy watching the pretty white girl flap her transparent arms and shake her chamomile washed hair.
Even mama, her swollen eyes straight at me, was looking somewhere else.
Nobody cares to watch the brown that is me.
Just like nobody wants to play with a girl with baby shoes that fit the insole inside and hold my leg right so that some day I can have straight feet.
“Mama, those shoes with the golden buckle and the bow on top are so lovely,” I have been telling her every time we pass by the glass case of the shoe store.
But mama doesn’t say much anymore.
She must be tired of repeating what I already know. That I have to stick with these ugly baby shoes until… when? Until I am a grown up.
Clipity, clap, clipity, clap, went my shoes while we left school.
Pling, plong, pling, plong, went my mama’s eye tears while we walked down the street. To Grandpa Felix’s house.
He is my abuelo because mama told me so. But he doesn’t remember me.
I know it because the other day when our teacher took us to the park, and my grandpa was
“We celebrate our ancestors on the Day of the Dead / with offerings of flowers, sugar skulls, and bread”, begins El dia de los muertos/ The Day of the Dead, a bilingual picture book written and illustrated by Bob Barner and translated by Teresa Mlawer (Holiday House, 2010).
This book, with its illustrations of smiley and spirited skeletons, makes for a great introduction to the holiday for young children as a day of happy remembrance in honor of loved ones who have passed away. Its simple and well-crafted rhymes will peak kids’ interest and curiosity about the special foods, music, commemorative altars and parade that the celebration encompasses.
For more stories featuring endearing, not-scary-at-all skeletons, check out Yuyi Morales‘ Just a Minute Señor Calavera, a counting book and trickster tale about Señor Calavera’s (Mr. Skull) failed attempts to “take” Grandma Beetle with him.
Little Brother and I have been having fun recently reading nursery rhymes in Spanish and English, from ¡Pío Peep!, a delightful book of rhymes from Spain and Latin American countries, selected by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy (Harper Collins, 2003). In their introduction they say that they chose rhymes that resonated from their own childhoods, and also ones that were clear favorites with “the numerous children – Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, and Central American – with whom we have worked.” The rhymes are accompanied by an English Adaptation by Alice Schertle, who provides the key for these rhymes to be enjoyed as nursery rhymes by English-speakers as well, in all their rhythmic, chantable, sometimes nonsensical, sometimes dreamlike glory.
Here’s a taster: “El Barquito” uses repetition of whole phrases to create its narrative tension; the English also repeats but only single words:
There was, was, was
a little boat, boat, boat,
who never, never, never
learned to float, float, float.
And if this silly story doesn’t
sink, sink, sink,
we’ll have to tell it one more time,
I think, think, think.
Little Brother loves the potential for being very annoying, repeating the rhyme over and over and over; and I love the nonsensical inversion at the end, of the story rather than the boat not sinking. The rhythm is so snappy, I think it’s going to be lurking at the back of my mind for a while to come, even without Little Brother’s assistance!
As in all nursery rhymes across cultures, this selection includes the themes of nature and family; there are short, clapping rhymes, counting rhymes and lullabies; and they encompass everyday routines in a child’s life, and flights of imagination. Add to all this Viví Escrivá’s captivating illustrations and you really do have one special book.
This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Irene Latham over at Live. Love. Explore! Head on over.
And P.S. Don’t forget to take a look at our 1,000th post, with the chance of winning a Spirit of PaperTigers 2010 book set. Deadline for entries is Wednesday 19th January…