Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In My Family / En Mi Familia"

In My Family / En Mi Familia
Written and illustrated by: Carmen Lomas Garza
Published by: Children’s Book Press in San Francisco, California in 1996
ISBN: 0-89239-138-3
Genre(s): Picture Book (Multicultural Work)
Reading Level: Grade 3
Activity Level: Grade 2

Summary: This is a book that a Hispanic author wrote about her experiences growing up in Texas. This book focuses on the foods and celebrations present in Hispanic families—the empanadas, the birthday piñatas, the decoration of Easter eggs, etc. It not only tells of the traditional things that Hispanics do and believe, but also of things that only the author’s family did. For example, the author’s mother often had to evaporate the water out of her father’s ear by briefly igniting a newspaper and placing it in a cone shape in his ear because he often got water trapped in it when swimming due to an accident in World War II.

Response: I like that this book because it not only teaches readers about traditional Hispanic traditions, but it also gives readers and insight into the life of an actual Hispanic person, which makes the book seem more real to children.

The illustrations in this work are single-page spreads of Hispanic persons. On the opposite pages with the text in both English and Spanish, there are always one or two cropped images from the corresponding picture to create a better flow. The illustrator used many bright colors in her drawings and many colors traditionally associated with the Texas, Arizona, New Mexico (southwestern) area of the country—terra cotta colors.

Teaching Connections: A teacher could use this book in her second grade classroom to teach her students about Hispanic heritage. She could read this to them and have them tell about things that their families do that is specific just to them and things that Americans do that are specific just to us, etc. Then, students could see the differences in nationalities and families.

What Students Learn: From this book and this discussion/activity students learn about Hispanic heritage and perhaps a little about their own heritage as well.

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