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Children's LiteratureThis Mexican holiday has become one that has spread over the border, far beyond the states contiguous to Mexico to areas in the United States where there are large concentrations of Mexican Americans. As with most other books about this holiday, there is information about its origins—the story of the battle at Puebla and the bravery of a rag tag Mexican army under the leadership of Benito Juarez. The difference here is that this book looks further back into Mexican history to describe the three major indigenous groups that lived there—Maya, Aztek and the Tolteca. The brief history then moves quickly to the Spanish occupation in the 1500s and the French government's loans to the Mexicans. When the Mexicans could not repay their debt, the French invaded the country. The Mexican people struggle for five years and eventually won their freedom. When Benito Juarez became President he made May 5th, the date of the battle at Pueblo, a national holiday. Some of the foods, music, dances and other festivities are described, as well as the way that Chicanos (Mexican Americans) celebrate this holiday. There is a glossary (difficult words are spelled out phonetically in the text) and there is a section where readers can learn more. It includes books, web sites and museums. There is also an index and a very brief blurb about the author and illustrator. 2004, Compass Point, Ages 6 to 10.