Canto familiar

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Overview

Touching, vibrant, and humorous, this lively collection of poems accompanied by beautiful illustrations celebrates childhood and the Mexican American experience. “Invoking ordinary domestic and community incidents, it’s a fine introduction not only to poetry but to Chicano culture. Nelson debuts with scenes—homey, comfortable, bright—that make the book even more accessible.”—Kirkus Reviews This is a collection to read aloud and get kids writing about themselves.”—Booklist
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Overview

Touching, vibrant, and humorous, this lively collection of poems accompanied by beautiful illustrations celebrates childhood and the Mexican American experience. “Invoking ordinary domestic and community incidents, it’s a fine introduction not only to poetry but to Chicano culture. Nelson debuts with scenes—homey, comfortable, bright—that make the book even more accessible.”—Kirkus Reviews This is a collection to read aloud and get kids writing about themselves.”—Booklist
This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 2-3, Poetry)

Twenty-five poems about the pleasures and woes that Mexican American children experience growing up.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Award winning poet Soto has created a book of story poems that characterize life for Mexican Americans. Blending two cultures is second nature to these young survivors. School, family and holidays are the major themes of these gems that can be read to younger children and appreciated by all ages.
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
This book of "familiar songs" is a delightful collection of poems that touch on the universal aspects of childhood. With poems about meeting your teacher in the grocery store and losing your new eyeglasses at lunch, there are many familiar things all children can relate to. This book also has a strong Chicano influence with the frequent use of Chicano themes and Spanish words. Each poem has a powerful sense of the familiar for Chicano readers as well as universal elements of every day life from a child's perspective. The accessible, poignant, and lyrical narrative poetry is printed on glossy paper and accented by bright, woodcut illustrations. Children and adults will want to read this book over and over.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-Who could imagine that such joyous rhythm could be found in the familiar moments of life, such as washing dishes or spotting a teacher in the market? In this companion volume to Neighborhood Odes (Harcourt, 1992), Soto not only imagines the musical beat, but also captures the energy and tranposes it into poetic songs. Imagery abounds, as in the hot iron that ``snorts like a bull.'' Nelson's distinctive block prints bounce off white pages with vibrant magentas and bold blues outlined with thick black lines. The result is a harmony of words and pictures to be anticipated and savored. Although the landscape may be unfamiliar, readers are guided to this Mexican-American neighborhood, welcomed inside this home, and invited to share a child's thoughts about these universal experiences. Even with Spanish words woven throughout, the messages need no special interpretation to be understood. Pair this title with Soto's picture book Too Many Tamales (Putnam, 1993) or use it as an introduction to his novels for older readers. Read it, sing it, share it.-Sarabeth Kalajian, Venice Public Library, FL
Hazel Rochman
A companion to Soto's "Neighborhood Odes" (1992), this collection of simple free verse captures common childhood moments at home, at school, and in the street. Many of the experiences are Mexican American ("Spanish is seeing double" ), and occasional Spanish words are part of the easy, colloquial, short lines. The first-person voices are immediate, physical, and joyful, celebrating music, dancing, cats, friends, family. For example, it's weird and embarrassing to bump into your teacher at the supermarket. It's boring doing dishes. It's fun to eat while reading. The occasional full-page, richly colored woodcuts by Annika Nelson capture the child's imaginative take on ordinary things. This is a collection to read aloud and get kids writing about themselves.
From the Publisher
[star] "A harmony of words and pictures to be anticipated and savored . . . Read it, sing it, share it."—School Library Journal (starred review)
"Humorous, tender . . . A fine introduction not only to poetry but to Chicano culture."—Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152000677
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 88
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

GARY SOTO's first book for young readers, Baseball in April and Other Stories, won the California Library Association's Beatty Award and was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. He has since published many novels, short stories, plays, and poetry collections for adults and young people. He lives in Berkeley, California. www.garysoto.com

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2008

    Soto brings the text to life...

    This poetry collection by Gary Soto is intended for grades 3-7. Written as a companion to Neighborhood Odes, Soto visualizes the world of this Mexican-American neighborhood through the eyes of that young child he once was, and takes us along with him through his actions and into the innermost thoughts. Along with the outstanding illustrations, the body's senses are heightened to the point where Papi's menudo can be smelled cooking on the stove. Even though Soto incorporated Spanish into the text, it goes nearly unnoticed as the poems¿ message would be understood written in any language. Beautifully written, Canto Familiar comes to life through song and bounces off the pages in rhythm like it were an actual piece of sheet music being played.

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