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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

Edible Baja Arizona

If children’s books are to teach a lesson, the moral of “Don’t Say a Word/No Digas Nada, Mamá” is on the virtue of sharing. A spin on the Gift of the Magi, it is the story of two sisters named Rosa and Blanca. As children, they were always helping each other perform the tasks assigned by their mother.

As adults, Rosa got married and had three children, while Blanca remained single and lived on her own. One year, the two of them planted gardens, and each helped the other pick her bountiful produce. Rosa reasoned that Blanca did not have a husband and children to help her out, and told her mother that she would give half of her tomatoes, chiles and corn to Blanca. When giving some produce to her mother, Rosa told her of this plan, but asked her to keep it a surprise: “No digas nada, Mama.”

On the other hand, Blanca decided that Rosa had more mouths to feed, and she set out to secretly give half of her produce to her sister. Likewise, she asked her mother to keep it a secret. The two crossed paths in the dark of night, stowing into each other’s kitchens to deliver their edibles.

Each sister, in response to the inexplicable proliferation of tomatoes and corn on her kitchen counter, gave even more produce to Mamá. At first, Mamá kept the secrets of her daughters from each other, until the day she ended up with mountains of hot chiles—which is when she decided to reveal what each sister had been up to.

Hayes grew up in southern Arizona, and his stories are inspired by the storytelling tradition of the American Southwest. Esau Andrade Valencia’s illustrations are lovely, with soft expressive faces as the central theme. Valencia is originally from Tepic Nayarit, Mexico, and his folk art style echoes Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. Visual beauty, humor, storyline, and a moral come together in this excellent book for kids.
- Molly Kincaid, September 13, 2015  Visit Website

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