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JUAN QUEZADA by Shelley Dale


by Shelley Dale & Juan Quezada & illustrated by Shelley Dale & translated by Teresa Mlawer

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-9708617-4-5
Publisher: Norman Books

The second children’s picture book within a year about the famed potter, Juan Quezada of the village of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico, this one is very different from The Pot that Juan Built, by Nancy Andrews-Goebel, illustrated by David Diaz (2002). While lacking the dazzle of Diaz’s art, this modest effort nevertheless provides comparable information in a homespun manner. Here, Quezada tells the story of his life to his eager grandson: “ ‘Tell the story about the special day, Abuelito!’ begged Chato.” With Spanish words interspersed throughout, a glossary and pronunciation key are included. At Chato’s prompting, Juan tells how he discovered an intact ancient pot, and spent years working to recreate the techniques used by the long-vanished potters of Paquimé. Through his success with pottery, Quezada was able to rescue the village from poverty, teaching his relatives and neighbors how to make the pots that are now in demand worldwide. The conversational style will be easy for children to follow, especially those whose native language is Spanish. An appendix contains a history, a map of the area, and information about clay and the process of making pottery. A lesson plan is also appended that suggests using paper and a water-filled balloon to create an approximation of the process of creating designs on pottery probably a rather unsatisfactory substitute for actually making something with clay. Libraries that have the first book on Quezada will want this one, too. (Picture book/biography. 7-10)