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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Family » Multigenerational

Abuela's Weave

By Omar S. Castaneda, Enrique O. Sanchez (Illustrated by)

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Format: Paperback, 75 pages, New edition Edition
Other Information: illustrations
Published In: United States, 12 May 1996
A 1993 Parent's Choice Award honoree, this story about the importance of family pride and personal endurance introduces children to the culture of Guatemala through the eyes of little Esperanza, who works with her abuela--her grandmother--on weavings to sell at the public market. Full color throughout.


Gr 2-4-- Castaneda's rich narrative effectively evokes the harmonious way of life of many Indian communities in Latin America. Esperanza is learning to weave on the backstrap loom from her grandmother. `` `Pull back hard,' old Abuela said. `Make it jolt, so the threads stay close, like family.' '' The whole family counts on them to sell their tapestries at the Fiesta de Pueblos in Guate . However, more and more machine-made weavings are appearing at markets and many people are fearful of the elderly woman, thinking she is a witch because of the birthmark on her face. The day of the fiesta, Abuela dresses all in black with a long shawl wrapped around her face to hide the birthmark. She walks a few paces behind her granddaughter, pretending they don't know each other. Their fears disappear, however, when people crowd around their display of complex weavings amid the commercial stalls. Sanchez's illustrations rendered in acrylic on canvas vividly capture the importance of this ``rite of initiation'' for a young girl under the lovingly firm guidance of her grandmother. Color and composition on each page authentically re-create images of rural Guatemala. A book to be read independently and enjoyed by all children.-- Graciela Italiano, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

In the Guatemalan countryside, Esperanza and her abuela --grandmother--work all day, weaving brilliantly colored clothing and tapestries on hand-held, backstrap looms. They plan to sell their goods at an outdoor market during the fiesta, though both are nervous that there will be no buyers. Since Abuela does not want to jeopardize Esperanza's chances of attracting customers (a facial birthmark has led some to believe she is a witch), she pretends not to know her granddaughter on their journey to the city. Setting out her handiwork (a marked contrast to the other vendors' machine-made products), the girl is surprised when crowds gather to admire her vibrant, intricately patterned fabrics. She sells everything and returns home happily--this time proudly sharing a bus seat with Abuela. Born in Guatemala, Castaneda affectingly portrays the loving rapport between a child and her grandmother, as well as the beauty of his homeland's cultural traditions. Sanchez's bright, richly grained acrylic-on-canvas paintings bring dimension to the characters and authenticity to the setting. Fabric-like horizontal borders below each page of text add a comely dimension to this promising debut for both author and illustrator. Ages 3-9. (Mar.) )

EAN: 9781880000205
ISBN: 1880000202
Publisher: Lee & Low Books Inc
Dimensions: 25.4 x 20.3 x 0.3 centimetres (0.06 kg)
Age Range: 5-9 years
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