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Rudolfo Anaya's The Farolitos of Christmas.

Rudolfo Anaya's The Farolitos of Christmas

Rudolfo Anaya, author

Amy Cordova, illustrator

Museum of New Mexico Press

PO Box 1087, Santa Fe, NM 87504

9780890136102, $24.95,

"Rudolfo Anaya's The Farolitos of Christmas, with "Season of Renewal and "A Child's Christmas in New Mexico, 1944" is a collection of three beloved Christmas stories from the writings of author Anaya, with a poignant introduction by the author in the Preface that ends with these inviting words: "These stories are primarily for children, but I'm sure they can touch the hearts of young and old, parents or grandparents. I describe what Christmas was like during my childhood, maybe because when we are children we most fully participate in the joy of Christmas. I invite you to be part of the Christmas traditions and customs of New Mexico, and let the child in you be touched by the spiritual message embodied in this season of renewal." Newly illustrated by award-winning artist Amy Cordova, these stories convey a warm sense of tradition, cultural values, and the colorful setting of new Mexico and the Southwest. Written primarily in English, the stories are studded with sayings and expressions in Spanish, so the reader and audience are continually in touch with the Hispanic roots of many Southwestern families.

The first story, "The Farolitos of Christmas," tells how a girl named Luz made many special farolitos, or special luminarias made of sand, candles, and paper bags. Luz created the special farolitos to help her Abuelo (grandfather) keep a special vow he made to Santo Nino that he would light the way for the pastores to sing and visit with his piles of pinon logs to make luminarias, or special small lanterns. This year Abuelo was too sick to cut the pinon wood to light the luminarias, so Luz decided to help him keep his vow by creating the farolitos, with the help of her family and friends. The farolitos are finished and hold the light of falling stars in the night, and they help to guide Luz's father, a soldier injured in World War II, home safely to his family. The happy family joined the procession to the church, calling, "Feliz Navidad!" A helpful glossary of Hispanic words used in the story are listed at the end, explaining many special vocabulary words and expressions in the story.

"Season of Renewal" and "A Child's Christmas in New Mexico, 1944" are more stories that celebrate special customs, foods, and songs of the season in the state of New Mexico. The final sentences of "A Child's Christmas in New Mexico, 1944" touches on some of the treasures enclosed: "For everyone the day was a journey to Bethlehem, a return home. That day I was born again in the mystery of sun, snow, earth, plumes of breath, icicles that dripped with the water of the moon as winter sun left its solstice home. That night, as I lay me down to sleep, I would think of the Santo Nino, falling asleep after his first day on earth, dreaming of us who would come later to be born on Christmas Day, as we are reborn cada dia (each day) until the world's end (p. 48)."

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Title Annotation:Rudolfo Anaya's The Farolitos of Christmas, with "Season of Renewal and "A Child's Christmas in New Mexico, 1944
Author:Lorraine, Nancy
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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