As we celebrate Latino/Hispanic Heritage month, a look at the books of author- illustrator and five time Pura Belpré Award winner Yuyi Morales reminds us of the cultural contributions she’s made to the world of children’s literature.
CONNECTING WITH CULTURE THROUGH CHARACTERS
We meet Grandma Beetle, in Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. In Latin cultures, the Day of the Dead celebration is about faith and family. Using the repeated text, Just a minute, Grandma Beetle informs
Señor Calavera, the
skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations, she will go with him but she has one more
thing to do, then two, then three and so on. Counting words are in English and
Spanish. Morales shows readers 'A Day in the Life' of a busy Mexican abuela planning
her birthday party. In fact, she has so many things to do she recruits him to
A year later in Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book
: An accordion
for her to dance to. Acordéon
HUMOR & WORDPLAY
From the cover of
Wrestles the World, we know
kids will encounter an imaginative, playful ball of energy. What else would the image
of a boy dressed in a Niño lucha mask, his underwear, and tennis shoes tell
you? Kids also encounter fun onomatopoeias,
action, Spanish vocabulary, and Mexican folklore. libre
“¡Niño! ¡Niño! ¡Niño! ¡Niño!”
Señrora’s y Señoritas
Put your hands together for the
fantastic, spectacular one of a kind…
Kids also encounter fun onomatopoeias, alliteration, action words, Spanish vocabulary and Mexican folklore.
Niño returns in Rudas: Niño's Horrendous
when the Hermanitas little tangles with two luchador , his sisters introduced at the end of Niño Wrestles the
Dreamers is a picture book memoir of Morales’ immigration to the United States. It is as much about a mother’s love and dreams for her son, as it is about her own story about falling in love with children’s books. The art and lyrical language are in perfect harmony.
We bundled gifts
in our backpack,
and crossed a bridge
outstretched like the universe.
In her backpack the art shows a guitar, a raining cloud, a flower, a Day of the Dead skeleton, a howling coyote, a pencil, and more. These are all things and experiences that Morales brought with her from her homeland.
The back matter includes a bibliography of books that inspired her and still do. In telling her personal story she begins with, “All of us have stories. Each of them is different.”
It's easy to see why the stories Yuyi Morales creates inspires us to write our own.