Welcome to the family! It's just like yours: father, mother, sister, brother, abuelita, gato, even a great-great grandmother. Well, but there's something just a little bit different about this particular family. Maybe it's those clothes they wear . . . just a little bit fashion backward. And the colors! So vibrant and . . . lively. Maybe that's what it is. They are just so full of life while looking almost other worldly.
Cynthia Weill's latest bilingual book for young readers teaches basic information about relationships, while also celebrating the colorful tradition of Mexico's Day of the Dead. Artist Jesus Canseco Zarate long-limbed sculptures are a playful twist on traditional Mexican iconography of the skeleton that stretches back through the country's art history to José Gualdalupe Posada's engravings and Aztec sculpture.
Chosen as one of the Best Children's Books Of The Year by the Children's Book Committee and by the Cooperative Children's Book Center
Cynthia Weill holds a doctorate in education from Teachers College Columbia University. She is on the board of the Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art which seeks to promote and preserve the artists and artisanal work of that Mexican state. La Familia is her fifth book featuring the folk art of Oaxaca.
Jesus Canseco Zarate is a young Oaxacan folk artist whose medium of choice is paper mâché. In 2008 he won first prize in the Friends of Oaxacan Folk Art completion for young artists.
Oaxacan folk artist Z rate creates papier-m ch sculptures of Day of the Dead style skeletons that grin widely as a young skeleton named Anita introduces her family. In brief sentences that appear in English and Spanish, Anita discusses her younger brothers Miguel ("He's a brat") and Juanito ("He's so cute!"), as well as her parents and other older relatives. The, well, skeletal sentences make it easy for readers to draw connections between the English and Spanish words, and Z rate's sculptures exude personality, whether it's baby Juanito smiling in a stroller, wearing a powder-blue onesie, or the children's "beautiful mother," decked out in a pink dress and pearls. Ages 1 6.