By Rabani Garg, Founder of The Reading Caterpillar
Lives in New Delhi
One of my favorite themes in children’s literature is Stories of the World – stories about people, their culture and how they live, stories that pass from one generation to another! Stories from across the world, books from different places and poems from all over! These stories and books are one of the best and fun introductions to different cultures and society, their myths and folk tales and of course art. One of my favorite books is reviewed here along with a list of some of the best under this theme.
Going Home (Trophy Picture Books) by Eve Bunting and David Diaz, Published by Harper Collins. Ages 4-8 years.
Take a journey to Mexico with ‘Going home’, a story of a Mexican migrant family.
It is Christmas and Carlos’s parents can finally take him and his sisters back home to visit La Perla, a tiny village in Mexico. Their parents have always reminisced about their village with deep love and Carlos and his sisters can see how excited they are about going back. But if they loved their home so much, why did his parents moved to America? For Carlos and his two siblings, America is home even though they were born in Mexico.
The journey back to their roots answers this question. As they travel through the country, the children get a glimpse into what their parent’s life was like in Mexico, they see the land where their parents grew up, the people they left behind and how happy the parents are to be back amongst their family – Carlos understands for the first time that his parents left home for them. They left in search for better opportunities for their children.
This book by Eve Bunting is a poignant portrayal of a migrant family. It’s a fantastic story for the families that have moved to a new place. While reading this book, the word of the day for us was ‘opportunity ‘ and we talked about what it means, how and why people and families make choices when they get a chance to do something better for themselves or their families. What would be an opportunity for them? And we did have at least one child saying that an unmanned candy store would be an opportunity! And one of them went back home to ask her uncle who was visiting from London, if he moved because he had more opportunities there!
The illustrations by the Caldecott winner David Diaz are a kaleidoscope of colors. The artwork in the book is inspired by Mexico and each page is a vibrant burst of colors. The illustrations offer a sneak peek into the country – the villages, streets, homes, the animals, people and celebrations! Images from the country pop out- a chain of papele picadas outside the homes consistently moves from one center spread to another, even the font is carefully chosen keeping the festive setting in mind!
Rabani Garg is the founder of The Reading Caterpillar, New Delhi. You can visit her Facebook page here.
Do you have a favourite children’s book about Mexico? Please share your recommendations in the comment section below.