Tamalitos

Tamalitos

Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem

Written by: Argueta, Jorge
Illustrated by: Domi
Translated by: Amado, Elisa
ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2

In this bilingual cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks.

The book opens with an homage to corn — white, yellow, blue, purple, red and black. In Maya mythology the first men and women are even said to be made of corn. It has been an important food for people in Central America for centuries, and one of the most delicious things you can make using corn masa and husks are tamalitos, or little tamales.

In simple poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, including beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn masa … And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.”

Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.

Key Text Features
procedural text
recipe

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

In this bilingual cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks.

The book opens with an homage to corn — white, yellow, blue, purple, red and black. In Maya mythology the first men and women are even said to be made of corn. It has been an important food for people in Central America for centuries, and one of the most delicious things you can make using corn masa and husks are tamalitos, or little tamales.

In simple poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, including beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn masa … And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.”

Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.

Key Text Features
procedural text
recipe

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7
With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Oct 1, 2017
Specifications 32 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
Supporting Resources
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Teacher's Guide
Written By

JORGE ARGUETA is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children. He has won the International Latino Book Award, the Américas Book Award, the NAPPA Gold Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Juveniles. His books have also been named to the Américas Award Commended List, the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, illustrated by Alfonso Ruano, won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, was a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature honor book and an ALA Notable book, and received many other honors. A native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian, Jorge Argueta has returned to El Salvador and built a library in his backyard in San Salvador so that children can learn to love books.

Illustrated by

DOMI is a well-known Mazateca artist, whose vivid illustrations appear in many children’s books, including The Story of Colors by Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos, The Night the Moon Fell (La noche que se cayó la luna) and The Race of Toad and Deer (La carrera del sapo y el venado), both by Pat Mora. She has also illustrated The Girl from Chimel and The Honey Jar, by Rigoberta Menchú and Dante Liano. She lives in Tlaquepaque, Mexico.

Audience ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2
Reading Levels Fountas & Pinnel Text Level O
Guided Reading O
Lexile NP
Key Text Features procedural text; recipe
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7

“Even for novice chefs (and readers) the ‘Ummmm’s are easily attainable.” Kirkus Reviews

“Domi’s paintings communicate plenty of enthusiasm, and readers may feel the pull to ‘Baila la danza del maíz.’” Publishers Weekly

“Argueta’s latest cooking poem, essentially a recipe, serves up playful prose in both Spanish and English, and is complemented by Domi’s broadly stroked, saturated watercolors.” Booklist

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