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<< Back to Don't Say A Word, Mama / No digas nada, mama

Don't Say A Word, Mama / No digas nada, mama

The New York Times

On the cover of “Don’t Say a Word, Mamá,” the illustrator Esau Andrade Valencia paints a mysterious scene: a dark-haired, almond-eyed woman puts her index finger to her lips to signal a secret, while chilies, corn and tomatoes float through the air around her head. A midnight-blue sky glitters with gold stars like a chapel ceiling. Inside, the Southwestern storyteller Joe Hayes recounts a tale of two sisters “who loved each other very much.” “If their mother sent Rosa to the store to buy flour for tortillas, Blanca would say: ‘Wait, Rosa. I’ll go with you.’ If their mother told Blanca to sweep the sidewalk in front of the house, Rosa would say: ‘Wait, Blanca. I’ll help you sweep.’”
As the years pass, the girls settle in houses on the same block as their mother, Rosa with her own family; Blanca, alone. Each plants a garden, and in addition to sharing her vegetables with their mother, each, worried about her sister having enough, secretly puts some of her harvest in the other’s kitchen — until one night, their mother reveals their well-meaning deception. The English text is followed paragraph by paragraph in Spanish; perfect for readers of either language, or for language learners. Hayes balances humor with sentiment, and abundance with a concern for privation in a way that imbues the notion of harvest with a sense of real value.
- Sarah Harrison Smith, September 25, 2013  Visit Website

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