Archive for February, 2010

Salta, saltarín

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Book Description

This anthology of original poems for young children by Alma Flor and Isabel includes some of their favorites.

Award winning illustrator Claudia Legnazzi complements this book with her vibrant and delightful creations.

Author’s Note

Poetry is a child’s best friend. A poem is a treasure that can remain with us forever. New words, new structures, new images, ideas, values and reflections can be part of the poem’s gift. Rhyme, rhythm or cadence will facilitate remembering it.

A poem a day is an infallible prescription for an engaging classroom and happy children.

Facilitating access of children to poetry has been one of my life quests.

Many years ago, in what now seems as another life time, when my children were growing up in Perú I was able to publish in Lima four poetry anthologies Poesía Menuda, Poesía Pequeña, Poesía Infantil, Poesía Niña.

Later I was able to incorporate wonderful poetry in the Hagamos caminos reading program.

Publishing Días y días de poesía, an anthology with a poem for each day of the year, has been one of my greatest satisfactions in life. I know many classrooms have incorporated the idea of “a poem a day” thanks to that anthology. Collaborating with Lee Bennet Hopkins and Violet Harris to create the English companion to Días y días de poesía, the multicultural anthology A Chorus of Cultures was an equally joyful experience.

Isabel Campoy and I have published a series of seven anthologies of poetry in Spanish as part of the Cielo abierto Series: Gorrión gorrión, La rama azul, Verde limón, Dulce es la sal, Nuevo día, Huertos de Coral and Ríos de lava. We are delighted to have included there poetry from the best poets from the Spanish-speaking world. As well as the poetry series of Gateways to the Sun / Puertas al sol which includes four volumes, in separate editions in English and in Spanish: Dreaming Fish / Pimpón, Laughing Crocodlies / Mambrú, Singing Horse / Mambrú, Flying Dragon / Chuchurumbé. The beautiful presentation of these books, where the artistic illustrations are a worthy companion to the poems gives both Isabel and myself immense satisfaction.

Recently we have published a series of books of rhymes from the oral tradition in bilingual editions, in order that English speakers can also get to know and enjoy our folklore: ¡Pío Peep! and MuuMoo are collections of rhymes. Merry Navidad is a collection of villancicos or Christmas carols, and Ten Little Puppies / Diez perritos a book inspired on a traditional popular rhyme.

Salta, saltarín is a new addition to this world of poetry all children should have access to.

Other works by the same illustrator

Claudia Legnazzi has been the illustrator of two other of my recent books published by Frog Street. The new edition of The rooster who went to his uncle’s wedding / El gallo que fue a la boda de su tío and Cristina y la rana / Cristina and the Frog.

Claudia was also one of the illustrators of the collection Gateways to the Sun / Puertas al sol. Among her work there she did outstanding illustrations for my play Serafina’s Birthday / El cumpleaños de Serafina included in the book Roll ’N’ Role / Teatrín de Don Crispín.


If you have enjoyed reading or sharing this book, I would very much like to hear from you. Please click here to send your comments.


Monday, February 1st, 2010

Book Description

In this whimsical ABC book in Spanish each letter is represented by an animal which in turn introduces the next.

This book represents the playful rhymes that young children thoroughly enjoy. It will be a delightful way of making young children aware of initial letter/sound correlation, of individual letters, of the ABC, and of the names of many animals.

The excellent illustration by María de Jesús Álvarez, and the clever rhymes, makes this a book to be enjoyed by all.

Author’s Note

Animals were a very important part of my life and of my children’s lives. This is why it is not surprising that so many of my books are populated by animals.

I enjoy clever rhymes and delight when I see how much children appreciate them.

This playful book will invite them to anticipate which can be the next animal and a word that rhymes with the animal’s name is always the clue.

It always give me great satisfaction when I can have a book published that gives children joy while allowing them to enrich their vocabulary, acquire new concepts, and become stronger readers.

I hope this playful book will do just that.

And what a joy that it would have such beautiful illustrations by María Jesús Álvarez, who had already illustrated Celebra un PowWow con Sandy Starbright / Celebrate a Pow Wow with Sandy Starbright, one of the books from the Cuentos para celebrar / Stories to Celebrate series.


This book can correlate to my other ABC books: Abecedario de los animales, Coral y espuma: Abecedario del mar, and Gathering the Sun.

Other books with rhymes are: Me gustaría tener / How Happy I Would Be and Una extraña visita / Strange Visitors.

A book that also offers prediction supported by the rhyme is ¿Quién nacerá aquí? / Who’s Hatching Here?


If you have enjoyed reading or sharing this book, I would very much like to hear from you. Please click here to send your comments.

Once Upon A Time in Dragonland

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Available also in Big Book format


Life is pleasant and orderly in Dragonland, where a family of dragons live. The most surprising feature of these huge and amazing creatures is their voracious appetite which they can only satisfy eating vehicles. The father’s favorite meals are trains, particularly when their engines are very hot. The mother is always in a diet, so she limits herself to station wagons and an occasional bicycle. When an unsuspecting small plane appears in Dragonland, Baby Dragon believes he has found a tasty snack. The plane quickly flies away and Baby Dragon follows it. Noticing the baby gone the parents fly on pursuit.

This fantasy story is a por quoi pas story, that is, a story that pretends to explain the reason for something unusual, in this case, the reason for thunder and lightening –the huge dragons still flying in the sky.


This story is of particular meaning to me, because it was the first original story I ever created. I had published many books before I wrote Había una vez en Dragolandia, but all of them were retelling of previously existing stories, adaptation of stories into plays, or anthology of poetry written by other poets.

This story came to me unexpectedly. I was teaching a summer course of Children’s Literature in Spanish, probably one of the firsts to ever be taught in this country, at UTEP, the University of Texas in El Paso. It was a very hot day, and as I was returning after dinner to the dorm where I was staying I was carrying on a silent conversation with myself, more of a reprimand, by having broken my diet one more time.

As I walked in the heat it seemed as if vapor was coming out my mouth. And at that moment I became “la señora Dragoneta” this oversized dragon incapable of keeping a diet. I rushed into the dorm and before I knew it, the whole story in verse, had been written.

Había una vez en Dragolandia was published as part of my reading series Hagamos caminos, with whimsical illustrations by Ulises Wensell. I always dreamed to see it published, both in English and Spanish, as a books. It is a dream that took more than 30 years to become true. But now it has, proving once more that we must hold on to our dreams and never give up until seeing them become reality.


Feel free to download and reproduce the two pages of activities in Spanish to accompany the reading of this story.

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Cristina and the Frog

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Information coming soon

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