THE STONE CUTTER & TSE’ YITSIDI’ DO’O’ CH’IKE’E’H BITSE’DAASHJE’E’
by Vee F. Browne, illustrated by Johnson Yazzie. Salina Bookshelf Inc.
“After accidentally breaking her mother’s grinding stone, young Cinnebah sets out on a quest to find someone who can repair it. Along the way she meets a moccasin maker, a potter, and a stone cutter, all of whom offer compassion, wise advice, and thoughtful gifts. Set in the timeless past, this bilingual English/Navajo story is itself a gift of simple, solid storytelling. Johnson Yazzie’s illustrations, lovingly lifelike and resplendent with the colors of the Dinetah bring the tale to life. A final note by author Vee F. Browne describes the sacredness of grinding stones in Navajo culture. This one to treasure.”- Cathy Jacobus
THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME
by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez. Cinco Puntos Press
“Chela’s hopes are high as she enters 6th grade. She’ll be in the ‘smart’ class with her best friend, her mean-girl nemesis has moved away, and popularity seems inevitable.
“Sometimes, though, the transitions we expect are not the ones we face. Friends betray us, mean girls (it seems) are forever, and the people we love, like Chela’s wonderful father, will not always be with us. Setting her story in El Paso, Claudia Guadalupe Martinez gives us the gift of a real world, filled with authentic kids and family dynamics. Though the going is rough, Chela succeeds, and learns to trust herself in the process. Martinez’s prose, always animated and descriptive, is frequently quite beautiful. She is an author to watch.” – Cathy Jacobus
GROWING UP WITH TAMALES/ LOS TAMALES DE ANA
by Gwendolyn Zepeda, illustrations by April Ward, Spanish translations by Gabriela Ventura. Pinata Books
“Six-year-old Ana narates this bilingual tale of two sisters who make tamales together each Christmas. Ana can’t help noticing that her older sister Lydia always gets the more interesting tasks! Longing to take on more responsibility, Ana images the scene when she’s two years older- reading big words, reaching high places, riding a bike without training wheels. AND getting to spread the tamale dough on the corn husks. Of course when Ana is older, Lydia will be older still, and able to take on even more. It’s just not fair! This charming book is as much about tamale making as it is about childhood, family, tradition, and dreams. Illustrator April Ward’s strong colors and expressive images are the ideal complement.” – Cathy Jacobus