May Your Life Be Deliciosa

Cameron Kids. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781951836221.
PreS-Gr 3–In a gathering for Christmas, the narrator reveals the tamale-making that fits hand in glove with life lessons uttered by his abuela. The mostly English narration is full of in-context Spanish words, but when Abuela utters words such as “protection and security,” the Spanish equivalents appear in large calligraphy as part of the art. Vibrant scenes show a Mexican family pitching in to tell stories, soak the husks, remove silks, add filling, and then fold and place the tamales in the pot to cook. The scent in the air is overwhelming, and anticipation grows, but the slow cooking teaches “patience,” and soon the family is feasting on the fruits of their labor. Colors, flowers, rooms filled with laughing people, and a flowing well-paced text combine in a mantra-like telling, as rewarding as the tamales themselves.
VERDICT A bilingual beauty that celebrates family across generations, and traditions that can be shared beyond the communal table.

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