For the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge:
This turned out to be a bit more challenging than I thought is would be. My local public library usually has an excellent selection of books. I was very surprised when I did a keyword search for Latino/Latina and found very few titles. Fortunately, Latin@s in Kid Lit has pages of resources at the website, organized nicely by age in the navigation bar at the top of the page. Once I found specific titles to search for, I found my library did carry most of them after all.
Today I went with an older book, published in 2008. It has been pretty cold lately in many parts of North America, so that made me think of What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla and illustrated by Amy Cordova.
The reader may have seen a woman wearing a rebozo and not known its name or cultural significance. A rebozo is a piece of woven fabric that is worn in Mexico. It is like a cross between a shawl and a scarf, and would be perfect for wrapping up in on a cold day.
In the story, a young girl finds many uses for a rebozo. She tries playful and imaginative applications like using a rebozo as a blindfold at a birthday party or as a pirate’s sash during a dress up game. She also discovers practical uses for the rebozo like covering up at night or carrying a baby. At the end of the book, the author challenges readers to come up with some uses for a rebozo of their own.
Besides being a fun and educational book, it also has some serious credentials. Author Carmen Tafolla, a professor at the University of Texas–San Antonio, was San Antonio’s first poet laureate. The book was an Américas Award Commended Title 2009, as well as a Pura Belpré Award Honor Book for illustration in 2009 (Note: both these award sites would be good places to look for books for the Latin@s challenge).
What Can You Do With a Rebozo? is a lovely introduction to a unique piece of Mexican culture. It would be a wonderful selection for the ALA’s El día de los niños/El día de los libros celebration on April 30, 2014 or any opportunity to learn about world cultures.
- Pull out art work or photographs showing women wearing or using rebozos (Frida Kahlo often wears one) to share
- Show children actual rebozos, or shawls or scarves if you don’t have access to authentic ones. Allow the children to free play with them and see what happens.
- Serape or rebozo craft at Crayola (serapes were typically worn by men)
Also available: What Can You Do With a Rebozo?/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? (English and Spanish Edition) (English and Spanish Edition)
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 1, 2008)
Look for 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge books on the third Wednesday of each month.
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