Wednesday, January 09, 2013

New Children's Book from Piñata Books/ Arte Público Press

The Patchwork Garden / Pedacitos de huerto

Written by Diane De Anda
Illustrated by Oksana Kemarskaya
Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura

In this bilingual picture book, a young girl inspires her 
neighbors to create community gardens full of delicious vegetables

Toña loves to listen to her Abuela's stories about when she was a young girl. When her grandmother remembers planting a vegetable garden "on my own little square patch of land," Toña wishes she too could have her very own garden. Their apartment building is surrounded by cement, but Abuela reminds her that it only takes a small patch of land to grow tomatoes or squash and even carrots. And soon, they have a plan!

First, they speak to Father Anselmo about a weed-filled lot behind the church. He likes the idea of beautiful green plants instead of weeds, and fresh vegetables sound delicious too! With help from her family, Toña yanks out the weeds and plants rows of vegetables. Each day after school, she and Abuela water the seedlings and pull out weeds that have sneaked in between the plants. In a few weeks, "the garden was green with lacy carrot tops in a row, vines of squash curling on the ground and bushy green tomato plants."

Toña loves the garden, but feels sad for all the children who walk by and wish they had a garden of their very own, too. Then her grandmother's quilt gives Toña an idea. Together they find little plots of land all around the neighborhood for the other children, and soon the community is full of small garden patches that remind Toña of Abuela's patchwork quilt.

With brightly hued illustrations that depict a cityscape full of multiple generations working towards a common goal, children ages 7-10 will be inspired to plant and perhaps even eat! -their own vegetables after reading this charming bilingual picture book.

Canta, Rana, canta/ Sing, Froggie, Sing

Translated by  Natalia Rosales-Yeomans
Illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores

This bilingual picture book features a popular Latin American 
folksong translated into English for the very first time

Based on a traditional folksong that has been sung by parents and children in Spanish-speaking countries for generations, Canta, Rana, canta / Sing, Froggie, Sing is a charming tale in which a "frog was sitting under the water, when she decided to croak out loud." But a fly came along and "hushed her mouth." When the fly decided to buzz out loud, "along came a spider and hushed her mouth."

In each verse, an insect or animal larger than the one in the previous stanza hushes the smaller one. So the fly hushes the frog, the spider hushes the fly, the mouse the spider, the cat the mouse and so on. The book's cumulative structure encourages kids to practice their memorization skills while becoming familiar with animals and the sounds they make.

This bilingual edition contains an updated version of the original Spanish, a first-ever English translation and the musical annotation of the folksong. With animals, people and music whimsically depicted by illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores, this book will inspire a new generation to discover a unique cultural tradition.

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