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Abuela



Last updated Friday, February 17, 2012

Author: Arthur Dorros
Illustrator: Elisa Kleven
Date of Publication: 1991
ISBN: 0525447504
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2012

Synopsis: Publishers Weekly:
In this tasty trip, Rosalba is "always going places" with her grandmother--abuela . During one of their bird-feeding outings to the park, Rosalba wonders aloud, "What if I could fly?" Thus begins an excursion through the girl's imagination as she soars high above the tall buildings and buses of Manhattan, over the docks and around the Statue of Liberty with Abuela in tow. Each stop of the glorious journey evokes a vivid memory for Rosalba's grandmother and reveals a new glimpse of the woman's colorful ethnic origins. Dorros's text seamlessly weaves Spanish words and phrases into the English narrative, retaining a dramatic quality rarely found in bilingual picture books. Rosalba's language is simple and melodic, suggesting the graceful images of flight found on each page. Kleven's ( Ernst ) mixed-media collages are vibrantly hued and intricately detailed, the various blended textures reminiscent of folk art forms. Those searching for solid multicultural material would be well advised to embark: Vamos!

Note to readers:
•  Glossary in the back

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the end papers and have them point out the people in the clouds.
•  Do they ever see shapes in the clouds?
•  Do you ride the bus?
•  Do you spend time with your grandmother or someone else in your family?
•  What city does this take place in?
•  Do you speak Spanish?

Vocabulary
•  soar: fly really high
•  glide: fly smoothly
•  adventure: exciting journey
•  factories: building where things are made
•  docked: tied a boat to the boardwalk

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have them point out interesting things in the pictures
•  Have you ever flown (in a plane), been on a train?
•  Where do you think Abuela is from?
•  Can you sit in the clouds?

Craft ideas:
•  Use cottonballs to make cloud shapes on paper.
•  Cut out bird shapes on different color paper and get kids to color them.
•  Draw your neighborhood from above.

Special activities:
•  "Fly" over the classroom

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!