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The Night of Las Posadas

Last updated Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Author: Tomie dePaola
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0399234004
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2008

Synopsis: Another beautiful offering from dePaola, this one tells the story of a modern-day Las Posadas procession in Santa Fe, NM. An introduction explains the background and history of the old Spanish custom, and a glossary translates the few words of Spanish used in the text. Sister Angie, who recently celebrated her 50th anniversary as a nun, has always coordinated the preparations for her village's celebration. This year, she is especially proud as her niece, Lupe, and Lupe's new husband will portray Maria and Jose. The festivities are jeopardized when Sister Angie comes down with the flu and the young couple's car breaks down in a snowstorm. A miracle occurs when a beautiful carving of Mary and Joseph, given to Sister Angie to commemorate her Golden Jubilee, comes to life to lead the village's procession. The artist's distinctive acrylic artwork, done in the colors of the Southwest, illuminate the story and radiate its reverence and warmth.

Note to readers:
•  Please be sure to read the introduction in the beginning of the book and the note from the author at the end of the book to contextualize the cultural traditions found in this story.
•  Hear and see this book read aloud on YouTube

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a tradition?
•  What holiday traditions do you have in your family?
•  Who do you think the people are on the cover? What are they doing?
•  Have you ever seen people dress up that way? Have you seen a play?
•  What happens in the story?
•  Do you know what "Las Posadas" means? (Hint: it means "The Inns")
•  Have you ever been in a play?
•  Have you ever seen snow?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where were the Las Posadas held?
•  Would you be in nervous to be in a play?
•  Who is playing Mary and Joseph?
•  Who is in charge of the Las Posadas?
•  Will Sister Angie be at the Las Posadas this year? What happened to her?
•  What happened to Robertos pick-up?
•  Did the Las Posadas turn out to be good despite the absence of Roberto and Lupe?
•  Do you have friends that help you out during a tough time?
•  What do you think happened with Roberto and Lupe? How did he get help? How long do you think it would take to get back to the truck?
•  What do you think happened to the truck?
•  How do you suppose Lupe and Roberto got into town and found the procession?
•  Did she have a hard time walking?
•  Would you like to be in a show like "Las Posadas"?
•  Does your school have holiday plays?
•  Does your family take part in special holiday celebrations? What do you do to celebrate?

Craft ideas:
•  Make paper luminaries. Take a paper bag. With a sharp pencil, poke holes in the paper bag in a design. To assist, sketch your design on the bag before you poke the holes.
•  Make paper snowflake. Fold into four parts, cut into a circle and cut along the edges and interior to make a design.
•  Make a Paper Strip Ball Ornament. Take 3 strips of construction paper. Decorate and color the strips with string, cut outs etc ... Arrange the 3 strips across each other like the spokes of a wheel. Staple the strips together at the point where they cross. Bring the ends of the six strips up to form a ball. Staple the strips. Cut a String and attach to the top.
•  Draw a Las Posadas scene

*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!