Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling
Publication Date October 01, 2008
International Latino Book Award for Best English Picture Book
In this delightful story two young children, Ray and Amelia, discover the old New Mexican tradition of "los abuelos" for the first time. Long ago, in the cold midwinter of northern New Mexico, village men would go up into the mountains, disguise themselves as scary old men and then go down to the village to see who had been good and who had been bad. The abuelos — wearing masks and covered with soot — would tease the children and then have them sing or dance around the fire.
This midwinter masquerade, which contains elements of Spanish and indigenous Pueblo culture, as well as sharing features common to solstice celebrations in other parts of the world, died out in New Mexico for a time, but has been occasionally revived in recent years.
Winner of the International Latino Book Awards - Best Picture Book - English 2009
Selected for the Library Media Connection (LMC) Editor's Choice Awards - Multicultural 2008
Pat Mora is one of the most important American writers for children to have come from the Latino tradition. She is the award-winning author of numerous children's books, including 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 illustrated by Domi. Founder of Día (El día de los niños / El día de los libros — Children's Day / Book Day), Pat is an honorary member of the American Library Association. She lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Amelia Lau Carling
Amelia Lau Carling is an accomplished author, illustrator and graphic designer. Her previous book with Pat Mora, Abuelos, won the International Latino Book Award for Best English Picture Book, a Library Media Connection Editor’s Choice Award, and it was named a Críticas Magazine Best Children’s Book. Amelia has also written and illustrated the Américas Award winner Mama and Papa Have a Store / La tienda de Mamá y Papá and Sawdust Carpets / Alfombras de aserrín, which describe events from her childhood in Guatemala. She lives in Westchester County, New York.
"An amusing cautionary tale, rich with Pueblo and Hispanic traditions and a feeling of strong community ties." Library Media Connection
"Lovely watercolors contribute to the charm of this story about a wintertime tradition in northern New Mexico...Perfect for those who want a gently scary story embedded in a fascinating and little-know 'bogeyman' tradition from Hispanic New Mexico. The author's note provides additional information, and places the story in the context of universal cautionary tales." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] master storyteller. In her hands the framing story of Amelia's family and the retelling of the folktale blend seamlessly...This story will be welcomed in libraries across the southwest. Abuelos will be fun to add to traditional winter stories." School Library Journal
"Mora introduces the intriguing midwinter New Mexican festival of los abuelos in this playful tale...watercolor and pastel illustrations impart Amelia's apprehension as well as family togetherness." Publishers Weekly
"Scary shivery fun...cultural details...framed by warm family images...[Abuelos is] a great choice for Halloween sharing." Booklist
"Vibrant illustrations celebrate the traditional elements of the story...Recommended for all Spanish-language collections." Criticas Magazine