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Growing Up with Tamales = Los tamales de Ana

by Gwendolyn Zepeda
Illustrated by April Ward
Translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura (from the English)

Published by Piñata Books / Arte Público Press, 2008
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-55885-493-2

Ages 6-9

Six-year-old Ana helps out when her family makes tamales at Christmas by mixing the dough. But her older sister, Lidia, is eight, “so she gets to spread the dough on the corn husk leaves. I wish I was eight, so that my hands would be big enough to spread the dough just right.” Ana begins imagining what she will be able to do when she is older. Thinking about being eight, then ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and eighteen, she considers the many new things to look forward to at each age, from riding her bike to school at ten to not being scared of anything at twelve to driving at sixteen. And at each age she thinks about “when Christmas comes around” and what new role she will have in making tamales. Still, Lidia will always be two ears older and, it seems, always have the more coveted role in tamale making. So when Ana images herself eighteen, she decides she will open her own tamale factory. “Lidia will be twenty. If she wants to, she can come and work for me.” Gwendolyn Zepeda’s original, highly appealing bilingual (English/Spanish) story is filled with familiar longing and child-centered details, and features warm, colorful paintings by April Ward. Highly Commended, 2009 Charlotte Zolotow Award (MS)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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