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N IS FOR NAVIDAD by Susan Middleton Elya Kirkus Star


by Susan Middleton Elya & Mary Banks & illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8118-5205-0
Publisher: Chronicle

A lively introduction to Latino Christmas traditions follows an alphabetical structure as a way to introduce key Spanish terms and explain holiday customs and activities. The highlighted words include the Spanish words for decorations, food, family members, key characters in the Nativity story and terms relating to church attendance. Additional days of celebration, such as Las Posadas and Three Kings Day, are also included. The authors skillfully pack their short, rhyming text with a rather amazing amount of information, while still making the text peppy and interesting. Cepeda fills his buoyant paintings with fruits and flowers in brilliant colors, smiling people enjoying the holiday treats and backgrounds in bright greens and blues creating a cheerful mood. The illustrations show one extended family enjoying the holiday in a chronological progression, from hanging the first decorations at the beginning of the season to setting out their zapatos (shoes) for Three Kings Day. An author’s note provides further information (noting that most of the customs included are Mexican in origin), and a glossary gives pronunciations for the Spanish words and complete definitions. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)