The bright magenta cover with the bright-eyed mother and child hugging in the center says it all. Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers is a book that celebrates, in pictures and poetry, the bonds of love between mothers and their children and grandchildren. The artwork and the poetry by Latino poets speaks to the joy, and occasional poignancy, such bonds create.
The reader is swept up in the love of Abuela (Grandmother), the richness of a home where both Spanish and English are spoken, and the color and lushness of experiences that come into children's lives when family stories, food, and love are shared.
Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers was published by Lee & Low Books in 2001. It is an excellent read aloud for children eight and older. The Spanish glossary at the back is helpful, as many of the poems are exuberantly sprinkled with Spanish words. Love to Mamá celebrates both a particular culture in all of its variety and the universal bond of love between mother and child.
Pat Mora, the editor of Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers, is a Mexican American author who has written a number of books for both adults and children. These include Tomas and the Library Lady and Confetti: Poems for Children. In addition to Mora's poem, "Song to Mothers," there are poems by twelve other Latino writers. Several are by award-winning authors, including Mora, Francisco X. Alarcón, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. The youngest contributor is 15-year-old poet Cristina Muñiz Mutchler. The backgrounds of the thirteen poets include Mexican American, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Venezuelan.
The hardcover edition of Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers was published in 2001. A bilingual paperback edition was released in 2004. The book is 32 pages long and was published by Lee & Low Books.
Paula S. Barragán M. was born in Quito, Ecuador and presently lives there. The artist received her art education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She is a painter, printmaker, and carpet designer. Her vibrant and distinctive illustrations for Love to Mamá were created with pencil, cut paper, and gouache. The artist then scanned them into her computer and did further design work with Adobe Illustrator.
As Pat Mora points out on her Web site, "Latinos are projected to be the largest 'minority' by 2020. More than 60% of Latinos are of Mexican descent. 1 in 5 children will soon come from homes in which the family heritage may be from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America, Cuba, etc. Do our libraries, book stores, schools, and conferences, reflect these statistics?" The answer is, "no." However, thanks to publishers like Lee & Low Books, which specializes in multicultural literature for children, that is changing, although slowly. Make a point of looking for books that will help your children learn about various cultures and traditions, including their own. It can be very exciting to learn about how different, and how similar, we all are.