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by Pat Mora

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-670-87291-1
Publisher: Viking

Set in El Paso, Texas, in the 1920s, this moving family memoir focuses on Mora’s mother as a child, who participated in her own way in a May Day parade. Stella (Estelita at home) and her two younger brothers “speak English outside of the house and Spanish inside the house.” Stella wants to wear red and other colors that “sing and dance” when she grows up, and not the quiet colors—black, brown, gray—that her mother, who speaks no English, wears. There are other contrasts as well; outside their home, Stella and her brothers “shout and run,” while at home they read quietly and eat lime sherbet. When the girls at school are to dress as tulips, with petal skirts, for the May Day parade, Stella decides that her petals will be of several colors. With warmth and directness, Mora celebrates diversity, but provides a balanced view of assimilation as well. Sayles’s softly colored illustrations, by turns wistful and vibrant, capture the times and the tone as a young child finds her place in her parents’ new country. (Picture book. 5-9)