Sunday, April 20, 2008

Alma Flor Ada - Preserving our Childhood Culture

For some reason, the days are flying by much too quickly for me lately. I think I have too much on my plate and there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for me to get it all done. My kids have been especially demanding lately and I am running all day long. I am smart enough to realize that this happens in spurts, so hopefully everything will settle soon. Until then, I hope you will pardon the lack of blogging!

Right, so that said, on to the topic of the day...

I am pleased to focus on my next favorite children's book author, Alma Flor Ada. We have carried her books in the past, and hopefully, I will do so again in the next month or two. I feel she is one of the best authors out there who is trying hard to preserve our Latino childhood traditions. She has several books that focus specifically on folktales and nursery rhymes, including Mamá Goose A Latino Nursery Treasury (my FAVORITE!) and ¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes. Both come with English adaptations that are not literal translations, but do capture the essence of the rhymes very well.

All in all, Ms. Ada has been one of the biggest contributors to bilingual education. She has written over 200 books and is a master at retelling traditional folktales. Originally from Cuba, her first children's book (which was originally written for her daughter) became required reading for thousands of Peruvian school children, where she lived and taught as a high school teacher for many years.

Ms Ada has done a lot of traveling. She is an avid collector of folktales and nursery rhymes from all Spanish-speaking countries, and she is quick to retell these tales in books for children. She has more awards than I could possibly list here, but two that stand out are the Pura Belpré and the Christopher Award.

And, again, here is another author whose love of words and tradition was inspired by their grandmother (it never ceases to amaze me the influence that abuelitas have over thier grandchildren!) Ms Ada was taught to read before the age of three by her grandmother who would write the names of plants and flowers in the dirt with a stick.

If you would like to learn more about Alma Flor, or to see a complete list(!) of her books, you can visit her web site here.

As I mentioned, I hope to have a few of her books back in our store by summer, but in the mean time, if you'd like to purchase any of her books, you can do so through Del Sol Books - just click here.

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