Tia's Tamales (Bilingual)


Ana Baca's bilingual tale of how two children from different generations learn to make their family recipe for tamales will delight readers of her earlier picture books that combine folklore and traditional cuisine.

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Ana Baca's bilingual tale of how two children from different generations learn to make their family recipe for tamales will delight readers of her earlier picture books that combine folklore and traditional cuisine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite the title, this bilingual story isn't so much about making tamales as it is about making connections between generations and making the most out of a tough situation. On a snowy day, Luz's abuelita arrives to teach her to make tamales, but soon dives into telling a story about her father, Diego, and a wintry visit from his tía. Although the chickens aren't laying and the cupboard is bare, thanks to some ingenuity, Tía has a feast cooked up in no time. Chilton's figures resemble cutout paper dolls, with drop shadows adding to a three-dimensional effect. Luz gets the best of what strong family connections offer: stories, skills, and even the occasional heirloom. Ages 7–up. (May)ƒ
Children's Literature - Mandy Cruz
When the snowstorm closes school for the day Luz's grandmother comes over to spend the day with her. Luz ends up learning a bit of family history while her grandmother teaches her to make tamales. Easily the food of choice by Hispanics and many non-Hispanics, Luz's experience in learning to make tamales is true to life. Sitting and chatting about family history, the secret ingredient in the family's tamale recipe is rarely the only long held secret to be shared. Tamale making is never just gathering ?round the table to cook a meal it is an experience that one learns to pass on to their own children and this book captures that perfectly. The illustrations could not be better representative of the entire process capturing the love between generations and the pride felt when the tamales are finally done. As an added bonus there is a traditional tamale recipe in the back of the book so readers who have not had the experience of bonding over tamale making can start a new tradition. Reviewer: Mandy Cruz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—School is canceled due to snow, so Luz gets to spend the day with her Abuelita. Her modern, young-looking grandmother arrives on the doorstep carrying a big, flowered box and tells the child that they are going to make tamales just like the ones her great Tía taught her great-grandfather Diego to make. The book flashes back to that frosty day. Tía resembles Mary Poppins with her overcoat, boots, and hat adorned with flowers, buttons, and feathers. Magical things happen when Diego can't get any eggs or fish for the tamales, and Tía puts on her hat. After telling the tale, Abuelita presents Luz with Tía's magical hat. This cheerful picture book is illustrated in cool tones of almond, pistachio, and pumpkin. The people in the drawings are silhouetted in white and seem to be placed upon each scene. Each page of text is divided into two blocks of color with English on one block and Spanish on the other. The story reads equally well in both languages, and the English is peppered with Spanish words that are included in a brief glossary. This is a delightful tale about how family recipes and stories are handed down from generation to generation.—Rebecca Hickman, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Kirkus Reviews

Every family recipe has aflavorful story behind it.

When school is cancelled becauseof snow, young Luz and her grandmother (Abuelita) spend the day together. Abuelita brings a big round box decorated with pink and purple flowers; inside is a suprise, for later. First, it's time to make tamales, with a story about Abuelita's father Diego and his aunt (tía). When Diego was a little boy, he worked on the family farm, with little rest or fun. One winter, the surprisevisit of his tía, in a crazy, elaborate hat, lifts his low spirits. She suggests lunch, but finding food is a challenge, especially in the winter. The chickens aren't laying, ice on the river prevents fishing andtrees are bare. Tía declares that the chickens need some laughter and, using the magic in her hat, soon gets them cackling and laying. She has similar success with fish and fruit.Back in the present, it's time to open Abuelita's box (the contents of which every reader will know), which provides the perfect sparkle to an already wonderful day. Split pages tell the story in both English (top half) and Spanish (bottom), and Abuelita's recipe is bilingually included as well. Chilton's artful illustrations have the look of paper dolls placed against a soft, old-fashioned backdrop rendered in a muted, comforting palette.

An embarrassment of riches. (Picture book. 7-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826350268
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2011
  • Language: Spanish
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ana Baca, a resident of Albuquerque, is the author of a novel, Mama Fela's Girls (UNM Press), and three earlier children's books, most recently Benito's Sopaipillas.

Noël Chilton is an artist who illustrated Pop Flops Great Balloon Ride (Museum of New Mexico Press). She also lives in Albuquerque.

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