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Summary: A young boy asks his grandfather to tell him the story of Juan Quezada, a famous potter. Quezada comes across some clay pots. Curious, he wants to learn how they were made and he begins to experiment. Eventually he figures out how to replicate the process. The entire village helps make the pots, and Quezada becomes a famous artist, and his pots are displayed in museums. This bilingual picture book biography introduces kids to primary sources, as Juan Quezada tells his life story.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; rad yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 4.8
Age of Child: Read by an older child with a group of children ages 6 to 14; supervised by a teacher.
Young Reader Reaction: I did not like this book. It was frustrating with all the words I couldn't pronounce. I had to keep looking them up to see what they meant. I did like the pictures.
Adult Reader Reaction: The beautiful watercolor illustrations carry this story. The story introduces Mexican culture, and the Spanish words add context as well.
Pros: Beautiful illustrations complement this tell-me-again story about Juan Quezada and Mexican culture.
Cons: There is a lot of Spanish vocabulary in the story. Those uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the language will lose interest in the story.
Borrow or Buy: Skip or borrow. Interest in this book will be largely driven by the reader's ability to pronounce Spanish.
Educational Themes: Use this book as a starting point to talk about Mexican culture in general and Juan Quezada in particular. There is a lot of Spanish (including a glossary), which also makes it valuable as a vocabulary lesson. Given Quezada's efforts to rediscover a "lost art," there are opportunities to talk about the importance and challenges of preserving history. It also offers opportunities to talk about biography, original sources, storytelling/oral history, and cultural traditions.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. July 2009 publisher notes: this book is recommended by several states for meeting standards in History, Social Sciences, Visual Arts and ESL standards.