Under The Royal Palms: A Childhood in Cuba

Overview

In this companion volume to Alma Flor Ada's Where the Flame Trees Bloom, the author offers young readers another inspiring collection of stories and reminiscences drawn from her childhood on the island of Cuba. Through those stories we see how the many events and relationships she enjoyed helped shape who she is today.
We learn of a deep friendship with a beloved dance teacher that helped sustain young Alma Flor through a miserable year in school. We meet relatives, like her ...

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Overview

In this companion volume to Alma Flor Ada's Where the Flame Trees Bloom, the author offers young readers another inspiring collection of stories and reminiscences drawn from her childhood on the island of Cuba. Through those stories we see how the many events and relationships she enjoyed helped shape who she is today.
We learn of a deep friendship with a beloved dance teacher that helped sustain young Alma Flor through a miserable year in school. We meet relatives, like her mysterious Uncle Manolo, whose secret, she later learns, is that he dedicated his life to healing lepers. We share the tragedy of another uncle whose spirited personality leads to his love of flying...and the crash that takes his life.
Heartwarming, poignant, and often humorous, this collection encourages children to discover the stories in their our own lives — stories that can help inform their own values and celebrate the joys and struggles we all share no matter where or when we grew up.

The author recalls her life and impressions growing up in Cuba.

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Editorial Reviews

Mirta Ojito
Although [the book] feels preachy at times, most parents would surely not mind the lessons. —The New York Times Book Review
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
A companion volume to Where the Flame Trees Bloom, this collection is a reflection upon the stories in Alma Flor Ada's own life, and an invitation to young readers to explore and reflect upon the stories in theirs. There is precious detail in these tellings of remembered events and people-uncle Medardo and his airplane, Madame Marie and the recollections of war, and the calving of Matilde. Over it all hangs the fragrance of ylang-ylang, and misty images from a childhood past, like the fine shadows in an old black and white photograph. And yet these are tales that carry a ring of truth, because the issues they raise, of love and compassion and hope, are ageless.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A collection of stories based on the author's childhood in Cuba that stress the importance of family, the complexity of human values, and the manner in which our childhood experiences shape us. For example, Ada's grandfather sacrifices his personal wealth to stay by the side of his ailing wife. The strength and wisdom of Ada's blind and uneducated grandmother and other family members were powerful forces in shaping Ada's character.
School Library Journal
Ada presents stories about growing up in Cuba in the 1940s that would not otherwise be available to readers living in the U.S. This collection offers a close look at an active and loving extended family, and it provides information on a prolific author. An accessible resource for students studying Latino writers. (Gr 3-5) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Mirta Ojito
Although [the book] feels preachy at times, most parents would surely not mind the lessons. -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Of books comprising nuggets of memory there seems to be no end, and in a companion volume to her Where the Flame Trees Bloom, Ada recounts small stories of growing up in the town of in Camagüey, Cuba. She captures with some feeling the powerful effect of scent on memory: night jasmine, coffee, ylang-ylang, and her grandmother's perfume of lavender and sage. She immortalizes sibling hurts and uncles' gifts, and writes of the childhood mystery of adult conversations partially overheard and partially understood. She is rich in family, attempting with her grandmother the impossible task of counting bats as they fly, and smashing her favorite doll when her dashing uncle dies in a plane crash. She is rich in memories of other adults, too: Madame Marie, a French-Jewish refugee; Gilda, a dance teacher, whose affection carried Ada through an impossible year at school. Some repetition does not detract, and children might be moved by Ada's exhortation to consider their own family stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689806315
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 208,132
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Alma Flor Ada, an authority on multicultural and bilingual education, is the recipient of the 2012 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award. She is the author of numerous award-winning books for young readers, including Dancing Home with Gabriel Zubizarreta, My Name Is María Isabel, Under the Royal Palms (Pura Belpré Medal), Where the Flame Trees Bloom, and The Gold Coin (Christopher Award Medal). She lives in California, and you can visit her at AlmaFlorAda.com.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction

The Bats

Clay

Explorers

Broken Wings

Christmas for All

Gilda

Madame Marie

Uncle Manolo's Mystery

The Legend of the White Buzzard

Storm!

Epilogue

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