I am always excited when I find picture books focusing on Hispanic heritage; they are always so bold and vibrant and full of color and life. These two glowing picture books are both by Carmen Tafolla.
What Can You Do with a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Amy Cordova, 2008
This book contains beautiful illustrations, especially of the clothing. The main character dances La Bamba in a beautiful white traditional dress while holding the rebozo. Even though the words do not rhyme, they do not need to, they fall in perfectly. We meet the narrator's family - mother, father, sister, brother, dog, and more while she also introduces us to the creative ways one can use a rebozo, or Mexican shawl. The story flows from one idea to the next seamlessly.
What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales, 2009
We are introduced to the neighborhood with the illustrations, and to the culture with the wonderful words.
The paletero opens his mouth wide and I can almost hear him shouting "PALETAAAS!" Again we meet the narrator's family - brother, dog, mother - and we can almost feel the tightness in her chest as she struggles to decide what flavor of paleta she would like. The illustrations are quite different from the first book, but equally breathtaking. They remind me so much of places I have lived and visited, and when I see the fence on the cover of the book I see my grandmother's house.