My first book was a story I wrote for my mother and gave to her as a Christmas present. I continued to write her stories, great leaps of fantasy from a nugget of real life. I loved J.R.R. Tolkein's Father Christmas Letters about the antics of elves at the North Pole. One year I wrote my mother a story about the elves of Cushing Academy in Massachusetts where she went to school. Here it is December again, and I want to make a handmade book to give as a gift.
This desire comes at the same time as a December trip my daughter and I are taking to Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico. This led me to Susan Gaylord's Multicultural Books to Make and Share where I found a small accordian book called a curandero book. It was made by healers of the Otomi Indians of Mexico. I loved the idea that I could fold an acccordian book in this ancient tradition of healers to hold my story. So that is my goal this December, to give a story in a curandero book.
I've also started to find children's books about the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca and other areas of Mexico. Pictured is La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration by Nancy Van Laan, illus. by Andrea Arroyo about a Zapotec Indian wedding in Oaxaca. Here are two excellent reading lists that include books set in Mexico: University of North Carolina and Duke University run a Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and offer a Children's Book List.
Colorin colorado, a Spanish/English bilingual site for families and educators, offers a list of recommended children's books. Please pass on your recommendations from your corner of the world.