There is no better way to spend some time than by slowly wandering up and down the aisles of a bookstore, library, or book fair while perusing every interesting title looking for your next literary treasure. I had the pleasure of bringing home two gems from a couple of book fairs and I could not wait to share them with you.
The first book is Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. There is no better time to share this book than now as we are in the midst of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. it is an ode to various people of Hispanic origins who have made amazing contributions to the world through art, science, education, activism, sports, and more. It focuses on eighteen individuals whose stories are told through beautifully written poetry and illustrations.
One of the things that I truly appreciate about this book is that it does not only focus on people whose names are well known or whose stories are familiar to many of us. Rather, the eighteen individuals included are a mix of well and lesser known people but all who have had significant influence in our world. They include individuals like Jose Marti, Cesar Chavez, Paulina Pedroso, Tito Puente, and Aida de Acosta. And just when you have reached the last poem, the author gives you more with additional notes about the lives of each person. It truly is a treat to learn about what makes each of them amazing.
The other book is from the New York Times best selling Who Was series. This particular book is Who Was Muhammad Ali? Now besides that fact that Muhammad Ali was an incredible human being with an interesting life story, I have to tell you that this book has a special place in my heart not only because I love the series and my daughter has been reading them for years, but also because this book is beloved by my son who was the one to pick it out.
My son is only four years old and this book is way above his reading level as he is just learning how to read. The Who Was series are mid-level chapter books with a few black and white illustrations, so naturally I was surprised when he surpassed all the picture books and insisted that I buy this one for him. Surprised I was but completely thrilled nonetheless.
You see my husband and I make it a point to tell our children early on about great African American heroes so that they will have positive role models to look up to and also know their history from an early age. My husband has a deep love and appreciation for Muhammad Ali for his stance on civil rights and he is also a huge boxing fanatic. So of course, Muhammad Ali is one of the heroes we talk to our children about. We have several books on him including a few coffee table books with beautiful photographs.
When my son saw the cover of Who Was Muhammad Ali, he immediately recognized the picture of the famous boxer. He brought it over to me and stared up at my face with those puppy dog brown eyes and said, "Mommy can I get this one?" I looked at it and said, "Are you sure that's the one you want?" He replied, "Yes, he's a great boxer and man." I smiled, took it out of his little hand, took the book right over to the register and paid for it.
We have been slowly reading the pages with me mostly paraphrasing to keep it interesting to a four year old. But the best is when he picks it up and pretends to read it himself. Of course it will be around waiting for him when he is ready to really read it on his own. Now that is literary gold!
Thanks for letting me share them with you!