Recently, I was asked to join a select group of bloggers as first official members of a program called the Scholastic Parent Circle. As such, I’ll be reviewing one book from Scholastic’s Club Leo selection every month, as well as giving a copy away.
I’m pretty excited about this opportunity because I’m always looking for quality and fun books in Spanish and we all know how hard those are to come by. We already have a nice collection of Spanish books that I’ve brought back from my travels to Peru, Mexico and Puerto Rico – where my family resides.
But Vanessa is in kindergarten and she’s starting to learn how to read, so her needs and likes are definitely changing. Not to mention that she’s starting to be extremely interested in science, especially the solar system. I’m looking forward to exploring Club Leo’s selections not only for Vanessa, but also for her little brother, Santiago, who adores cars.
Choosing December’s book was easy for obvious reasons, but also because Vanessa has started to ask a lot more questions about the meaning of Christmas. At a time when it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re really celebrating at the end of the month, it was refreshing to read the story told in Joanne Oppenheim’s “El milagro de la primera flor de Nochebuena: un cuento mexicano sobre la Navidad” (or The miracle of the first Poinsettia: a Mexican Christmas story).
Juanita is a little girl who’s father has lost his job and so they have no money for Christmas. Juanita’s main concern is not being able to take a gift to church to give to el Niño Jesús (Baby Jesus). On Christmas Eve – Nochebuena – she decides to stay outside the church as the entire town goes in for la Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass). She’s sad about what’s going on in her family, but she’s also embarrassed.
Outside she hears a voice tell her to grab some weeds and take them inside the church and not to worry about how they look. Confused, Juanita follows the instructions and walks into the church with the weeds. By the time she gets to the altar, they have transformed into beautiful red flowers or poinsettias. Juanita learns that the best gifts are those given from the heart.
As the author explains at the end of the book, there are many version of this same story explaining the miracle of the first poinsettia and she was hooked as soon as she found out about it the first time.
I love that the story not only gives me an opportunity to talk about Christmas traditions – such as Nochebuena and Misa de Gallo – with Vanessa, but also about giving and how the size or the price of the gift has little importance. Not to mention that it’s great to remind my daughter what we’re really celebrating on Christmas.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner: Cindy Lou!
We’re giving away one copy of “El milagro de la primera flor the Nochebuena” to one lucky winner.
To enter, all you have to do is leave us a comment telling us how you explain the meaning of Christmas (or the holiday you celebrate) to your little ones.
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This giveaway ends Sunday, December 11 at 11:59 p.m. EST and is open to everyone with a U.S. mailing address over 18 years of age. Check out the Giveaway Rules.