Fiestas: A Year of Latin American
Songs of Celebration
Selected, Arranged, and Translated by José-Luis Orozco
Discussion and Activities
For pre-reading ideas and background information on multiculturalism, see Around the World in 80 Books: A Multicultural Guide.
With a focus on rhymes, songs, and holidays that honor the Latin American culture, José-Luis Orozco and Elisa Kleven celebrate fiestas and holidays in every month of the year all over the world, in this bilingual collection illustrated in folkloric style. While children will enjoy chanting, singing, and dancing to any one of these selections (or those in companion books De Colores and Diez Deditos), each offers opportunity for further study in different curricular areas.
After singing the praises and learning the history and symbolism of the Puerto Rican flag in "Que Bonita Bandera!" children may learn about the history and symbolism and anthems of other flags, particularly those illustrated by Elisa Kleven, those of their own ancestry, and those of countries represented in the stories in this guide. Children may then host a Flag Day in which flags from different countries are drawn for display and songs celebrating them are sung individually or in chorus.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican army defeated the French. After learning more about this historic battle and its significance to Mexican patriotism and unity, children may join in the celebration of this national holiday with their own colorfully decorated paper bag ponchos. Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag, large enough for a child's head to fit through; cut triangular slits up both sides of the bag for arms, and decorate the front and back with markers or paints. Use Elisa Kleven's images or Tomie dePaola's illustrations in Adelita as a guide.