Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.


Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the April-June linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list. We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away two copies of Julian Sedgwick’s Mysterium: The Palace of Memory to two lucky CORL participants from April-June. So link up your posts now!

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.


IMG_2594My Abuelita

Written by: Tony Johnston  Illustration by: Yuyi Morales
Published by: Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009
Borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

This is a fascinating story about a young boy who lives with his grandmother. The entire narrative revolves around one single day in the life of Abuelita as she prepares to go to her work with the indispensable help of her grandson who makes sure that she has changed to her work clothes and that she has brought all her accoutrements that are invaluable to her line of work.

There is the easy companionship evident in the way that they take their baths separately but at the same time, how Abuelita prepares the warm tortillas by hand and huevos estrellados for breakfast in her fuzzy pink bedroom slippers.


There are clues that point to what Abuelita’s work is. Definitely it requires a booming voice that makes even Frida Kahlo, their cat, scamper and hide under the bed covers. Abuelita also stretches her voice and yodels:

She always says the words should be as round as dimes and as wild as blossoms blooming.


What Abuelita’s work is, I shall leave for you to discover. I love the bold bright colors here of Yuyi Morales and Tony Johnston’s poetic prose. For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, here is a downloadable PDF file created by that provides a few resources and a helpful activity guide.

Doña Flor: A Tall Tale about a Giant Woman with a Great Big HeartIMG_2588

Written by: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

I love the collaboration between Pat Mora and Raul Colon – Tomas and the Library Lady is one of my favourite picture book biographies. In Doña Flor, they come together once more to tell the story of this gigantic beautiful woman who lives in a small barrio in the American southwest.

The villagers do not fear her presence, in fact they look forward to her giant steps, and the songs that she sings allowing birds to come and build nests in her hair.


One of my favourite pages though is how she sits outside the library to rest. Apparently, she has a prodigious capacity to devour books in just one sitting, as she is able to read an entire encyclopedia in five minutes – how awesome is that.


Then one spring day, the neighbors asked for Doña Flor’s help as a giant mountain lion seem to be circling the village, and so everyone just remains home afraid that they will be hurt by this evidently-hungry beast. Doña Flor is very concerned about the townsfolk and went on a hunt to find this scary puma. How the story ends I shall leave for you to discover. The story actually reminded me a little bit of the Filipino story Alamat ng Butanding (Legend of the Whale Shark), the gigantic John Henry, and the legendary Annie Christmas in African American stories. I was also especially taken by Raul Colon’s beautiful artwork here, just gorgeous. I would have wanted more back story though about Doña Flor and how important she is in the Latino culture.

For teachers who wish to make use of this in the classroom, here is a downloadable .doc file created by the UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science that provides curriculum connections and possible discussion questions across different subject areas such as Math and Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts.

Currently Reading…

I finished reading only one book last week – Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. I am halfway through The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen…


… and I am also reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Finally!




Reading Challenge Update: 72, 73 (25)

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15 comments on “[Monday Reading] Doña Flor and Abuelita

  1. I’ve heard great things about The Goldfinch! Enjoy!


  2. I have always enjoyed the story of Dona Flor. It is such a sweet story.


  3. Just finished Goldfinch, fascinating… 🙂 love your beautiful book selections.


  4. Doña Flor is one of my favorites. I am eager to get to Shadow Throne. I just added The Goldfinch to my TBR list yesterday. I’ve heard great things about it. Have a wonderful week!


  5. Dona Flor sounds interesting! I think we have that in the store so I’ll definitely be checking it out. They do make a great team- and individually on their own or with other people!


  6. Those are new books for me, thanks for sharing! I have The False Prince trio on my summer TBR pile. Can’t wait to get to it 🙂


  7. You got some great titles, I added Doña Flor to my to read list. Thanks For sharing.


  8. Good for you for starting The Goldfinch. I’m afraid that may have to wait till summer for me. For adult books, I first want to read The Storied Life of A.F. Fifky-soon! I love the two picture books you shared Myra, will certainly find them soon. And love “She always says the words should be as round as dimes and as wild as blossoms blooming.” Wow-beautiful. Have a wonderful week!


  9. Becky Shillington

    Thanks for sharing these titles! These are new to me, as well!


  10. LOVED Dona Flor – such a beautiful book. I’ll be interested in your opinion of The Goldfinch – which was a bit mixed for me.


  11. Some great titles this week! I keep hearing people talk about the Goldfinch…. maybe I’ll add it to my summer list.


  12. bluestockingthinking

    Ah, your books are always so diverse and intriguing! The artwork for My Abuelita is so whimsical. I can see kids enjoying time with those pictures!


  13. Thank you for telling us about these two incredible picture books. We love the way you described these stories. Let us know your thoughts about Goldfinch – We read it this summer and couldn’t put it down.


  14. Pingback: Saturday Reads: Grandparents and the Stories they Tell | Gathering Books

  15. Pingback: [BHE 183] Singapore Library Warehouse Sale 2015 | Gathering Books

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