School Library June 2017

Professor Emerita at the University of San Francisco, Alma Flor Ada, is an award-winning children’s book author who is dedicated to education and social justice.  Her accolades include the Pura Belpré Medal, the Parents’ Choice Honor, the Marta Salotti Gold Medal, the Virginia Hamilton Award, the Christopher Medal, the International Latino Book Award, the NCSS and CBC Notable Book, and the Once Upon a World award. In addition, she was honored by the government of Mexico in 2014 when she was presented the OHTLI Award for her services to the Mexican communities located in the U.S.  And so, it is our pleasure to feature the works of Alma Flor Ada for this month’s School Library.


Publisher: Santillana USA 

ISBN-13: 978-1581052343

Grade Level: 1 – 3

Classroom Handout:

The characters of this powerful story in celebration of diversity are all geometrical figures—squares, rectangles, circles and triangles—who stick to their own kind and teach their young not to mix with others. However, when two little circles take a roll into town, they discover for themselves the joy of making new friends. This anti-bias book explores symbolically issues of discrimination at a level accessible even to younger children and promotes appreciation of others. Teachers of young children appreciate that through this story children learn or practice the names of colors, the concept of sizes and the different geometrical shapes.


Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 

ISBN-13: 978-0689717932

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

Classroom Handout:

This Christopher Medal winner has already become a classic. While it reads as a folktale, it is an original story. When Juan, a sickly and unhappy thief, decides to steal gold from Doña Josefa, a generous healer or curandera, he follows her through the countryside. In the process, he is affected by the beauty of the natural world around him, the goodwill of the people who work the fields and the spirit of the healer he is pursuing. Neil Waldman’s watercolors sensitively convey the beauty and diversity of the Central American landscape, as well as the inner transformation that Juan undergoes.


Publisher: Dragonfly Books 

ISBN-13: 978-0440415312

Grade Level: Preschool - 2

Classroom Handout:

Once a long, long time ago, the sun disappeared from the sky. All the animals went to search for the sun in the rivers and lakes, through the fields and forests, but the sun was nowhere to be found. Little by little, all the animals gave up except for the faithful lizard. Finally, one day she found a strange glowing rock and discovered the sun fast asleep. But no one could persuade the sun to wake up. Then the emperor organized a great feast with the finest dancers and musicians, so the sun would wake up and never fall asleep again.


Grade Level: 3 - 7

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers 

ISBN-13: 978-1442481756

Reading Group Guide:

Mexico may be her parents’ home, but it’s not Margie’s. She finally convinces the kids at school that she’s 100 percent American—just like them—only to have her Mexican cousin Lupe visit, undoing her efforts. Things aren’t easy for Lupe, either. Mexico hadn’t felt like home since her father went north to find work. Lupe’s hope of seeing him comforts her, but learning a new language in a new school is tough. Lupe and Margie need a friend, and little by little, the girls’ individual steps find the rhythm of one shared dance, and they learn what “home” really means.

Higher Education


Introduction by Carlos Fuentes

Publisher: Abrams 

ISBN-13: 978-0810959545

Published in its entirety, Frida Kahlo’s illustrated journal documents the last ten years of her turbulent life. These passionate, often surprising, intimate records reveal many new dimensions in the complex personal life of this remarkable Mexican artist. The 170-page journal contains her thoughts, poems and dreams—many reflecting her stormy relationship with her husband, fellow artist Diego Rivera—along with 70 mesmerizing watercolor illustrations. Her writing reveals her political sensibilities, recollections of her childhood and her enormous courage in the face of more than 35 operations to correct injuries she had sustained in an accident at the age of 18.


by Nicolás Kanellos  

Publisher: University of Texas Press 

ISBN-13: 978-0292730502

Hispanic theatre flourished in the U.S. from the mid-nineteenth century until the beginning of World War II.  This very first study of this rich tradition is filled with details about plays, authors, artists, companies, houses, directors and theatrical circuits.  Organized around the cities where Hispanic theatre was particularly active, as well as cities on the touring circuit, it charts the major achievements of Hispanic theatre in each city—playwriting in Los Angeles, vaudeville and tent theatre in San Antonio, Cuban/Spanish theatre in Tampa, and pan-Hispanism in New York—as well as the careers of several actors, writers and directors. 


by Timothy J. Henderson 

Publisher: Hill and Wang 

ISBN-13: 978-0809049677

The war that was fought between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 was a major event in the history of both countries.  In contrast to many books on the topic, which treat the war as a fundamentally American experience, “A Glorious Defeat” presents a far more balanced history of the inception of the delicate and tumultuous relationship between Mexico and the United States.  Touching on a range of topics from culture and ethnicity to religion and geography, this comprehensive yet concise narrative humanizes the conflict and serves as a strong introduction for new readers of Mexican history. 


by Francisco Goldman

Publisher: Grove Press

ISBN-13: 978-0802143853

“The Art of the Political Murder” is a riveting narrative reconstruction and investigation into one of present day Latin America’s most controversial, bizarre and historic criminal cases—the murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi who is known as one of Guatemala’s great human rights leaders.  Goldman’s book exposed a cover-up of the crime and helped change a small country’s destiny as it emerged from decades of civil war.  It is an unforgettable story of the heroism of young people who risked all to see justice triumph.  “The Art of the Political Murder” won the Index on Censorship’s TR Fyvel Freedom of Expression Book Award.