Books by Amy Córdova

Released: June 15, 2017

"A needed 'own voices' story of cross-cultural diplomacy, but the density of the story and accompanying notes may limit the appeal to use among academic rather than general audiences. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Co-written by Hispanic-literature scholar Nogar and Spanish-language expert Lamadrid (The First Tortilla, 2012), a fictionalized account of a miraculous appearance in colonial New Mexico. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"Adults wishing to share childhood memories with a new generation will appreciate the opportunities this title offers, but children may find this edition somewhat daunting.(Picture book. 5-8)"
Packaged as a Christmas trilogy, this edition of Anaya's nostalgic narrative includes new illustrations and two personal essays, giving readers a historical perspective on some of the multicultural traditions of New Mexico. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"A purpose-driven patchwork, it nonetheless illuminates two little-known episodes that left deep and lasting impressions on Southwestern culture. (glossary, scholarly bibliography) (Historical fiction. 10-13, adult)"
Historical perspective shares the front seat with plot in this scholar's bilingual portrait of a small New Mexico community struck by the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918. Read full book review >
Released: June 11, 2011

"A concluding free-verse poem celebrating the benefits of fair trade and environmental consciousness will resonate more with readers than the mostly instructive text. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-9)"
Isabella, an aspiring writer and daughter of rose-farm workers in Ecuador, relates the story of her family's livelihood. Read full book review >
Released: May 11, 2011

Jewel-toned, folk-art-style illustrations illuminate this tale of the first indigenous saint in the Americas. Authentically and lovingly told, this version of the familiar story of Juan Diego and the Lady of Guadalupe is dramatic and bold, affirming the worth and celebrating the perseverance of the poor and downtrodden. Born Talking Eagle, Juan Diego converted as an adult and was more than the simple peasant he's often considered to be. He was a deeply spiritual man, known for his kindness and his eaglelike ability to "rise above and see things that others could not." When Juan Diego meets a mysterious lady one December day on the hill of Tepayac, she commands him to relay to the bishops her instructions that "a house of prayers" be built. He is repulsed by them twice before she sends him back one last time with his cloak (tilma) full of miraculous roses. Córdova's illustrations are bright with turquoise, fuchsia and terra-cotta and appropriately infused with religious iconography. An afterword by Gollogly provides useful historical and cultural background to this story that has had such an impact on the religious life of Mexico. The tale is not often told in children's books, and this is a much stronger telling than Tomie de Paola's The Lady of Guadalupe (1980). Respectful and affectionate, this book will be welcomed by Sunday-school teachers and religious households alike. (Picture book/religion. 5-10)Read full book review >
FIESTA BABIES by Carmen Tafolla
Released: March 9, 2010

Celebrations should be part of every baby's life. This Latino rhyming romp finds families rejoicing with town outings, outdoor strolls, abuelo sing-a-longs, playtime and naptime. Each merry scenario springs from Hispanic culture and is sprinkled with Spanish vocabulary. "Fiesta Babies march on parade / wearing coronas Mamá has made. // Fiesta Babies dip right in— / salsa out and salsa in!" Córdova's deep, saturated acrylics in primary colors paint a rainbow of babies from light-tan to deep-brown complexions. Playing in the grass, riding a toy train, enjoying a party or playing musical instruments, these little guys are having a wonderful time. And when all is said and done, "Fiesta Babies give besos so small, / and great big abrazos to one and to all," sharing their love with kisses and hugs. A cheerful, energetic party for little ones. (Picture book. 18 mos.-3)Read full book review >
DREAM CARVER by Diana Cohn
Released: June 1, 2001

Mateo, a young boy who lives in the southern Mexican village of Monte Alban, learns to carve traditional wooden toys (juguetes) at his father's side. But he is haunted by visions of larger and more colorful animals. When he tells his father of his desire to carve those he imagines, his father discourages him: "Stop these foolish dreams. We have work to do." But Mateo does not give up—although his first efforts are disappointing. Eventually he succeeds in carving a magnificent quetzal, followed by an amazing array of large, colorful animals in active poses. Cordova's bright, acrylic illustrations on gessoed ground lovingly portray Mateo, his family, his village, and the amazing wooden animals, splashed with polka dots and intricate designs. Spanish words are interspersed throughout the story; although their meanings are clear from the context, a pronunciation guide would have been helpful. Shepard Barbash provides an endnote on Oaxacan wood carving and the work of Manuel Jiménez, who inspired this story. The message, clearly stated at the outset with a quotation from Goethe—"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now"—may exceed the grasp of the children for whom the book is intended, but Cordova's depictions of Mateo's animals may win them over. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE BLUE ROSES by Linda Boyden
Released: May 1, 2001

When Rosalie is born, her grandfather plants a rose bush in the garden. As she grows, Papa, as she calls him, teaches her to garden, even putting stinky dead fish in the ground to nourish the seeds. The neighbors say Papa has a green thumb, but Rosalie is relieved to see that their thumbs stay brown! But she notices as Papa's cough gets more frequent, his braid grayer, and his face more wrinkled. He has her dig the dead plants under so that they will, like the fish, enrich the ground: in a garden, he says, "Nothing ever really leaves." When her grandfather dies, Rosalie dreams of him in a heavenly garden, where the roses are—not pink, yellow, and red like hers—but blue, like the ones she had begged for as a child. When she and her mother go to tend Papa's grave a year later, she finds the roses planted there are blue, just as in her dream. Newcomer Boyden's prose is filled with color and imagery and impasto acrylics give a wonderful hieratic quality to the pictures. The small house, the well-loved garden, the profusion of roses, and Native American Rosalie and her family are formed of strong geometric shapes and richly colored patterns. A gentle story of family ties, loss, and dreams. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >