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From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other summer poems/Del ombligo de la luna y otros poemas de verano Hardcover – July 3, 1998

4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-With precise language and vivid paintings, this collection of 22 English and Spanish poems celebrates the simple joys of summertime in Mexico. As in Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates risue?os y otros poemas de primavera (Children's Book Pr., 1997), Alarcon exhibits a tremendous talent for imbuing quotidian objects and concepts with dignity and jubilation. For example, in "Island," he writes that "every island/dreams/of being/a continent," and in "Ode to My Shoes," he describes a little boy's sneakers that "...fall asleep/and dream/of walking...." Gonzalez's folk paintings are equally fine, exhibiting a generous use of contrasting colors and wide, bold brush strokes. A charming book with even more direct language and more evocative art than that in Laughing Tomatoes.
Denise E. Agosto, formerly at Midland County Public Library, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 5-10. Following their award-winning collaboration on Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems (1997), poet Alarcon and artist Gonzalez have produced a new picture-book collection of 22 bilingual poems inspired by the poet's memories of childhood summers spent in Mexico. Short, imagistic poems like "Summer Sun" ("luminous / orange / hanging / from the tree / of noontime") given in both English and Spanish, are mixed with some slightly longer and more personally resonant selections, such as "From the Bellybutton of the Moon," which traces the poet's childhood response to Mexico and the understanding of his own origins. Responding to and expanding on the poetry, Gonzalez's happy paintings weave rich waves of color in an exuberant dance between text and design. This seasonal collection is welcomed for the sweet summertime caress of its sunny sensations, tangy tastes, and warm memories of a loving Latino family life. Annie Ayres

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Series: The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Children's Book Press; Bilingual edition (July 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892391537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892391530
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a young person, Maya Christina Gonzalez grew up under the hot pink sunsets of the Mojave Desert. It was in the brilliant hot pinks of the sunset that she finally found her reflection in her environment. At a very young age Maya understood the importance of seeing one's self reflected in one's world. When working with children, she often recalls her favorite page of any book as a child: those empty pages at the back. It was there that she used to draw in her round, Chicana face!

She has now created art for upwards of 20 award-winning, multicultural children's books. The first book she ever wrote, My Colors, My World was given the Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Award.

What reviews are saying:

Animals of the Iquazu by Francisco Alarcon and illustrated by Maya

"The simple words--often playfully integrated into the illustrations as shaped poems--stress the natural balance of the Iguazú... The multimedia illustrations feature lush, glowing paints that depict the animals (including humans) set against a backdrop of cut-paper strips that comprise the rainforest's verdant growth. Stunning." --Kirkus Starred Review

My Colors, My World by Maya

"The exaggerated facial features of both Maya and her feathered friend capture the contentment they find through enjoying the beauty of their world . . . Recommended for public libraries and bookstores." --Criticas Magazine

I Know the River Loves Me by Maya

"The author's love and respect for the natural beauty and rhythm of the river and how it sustains her through quiet and vibrant moods is vividly portrayed in both her words and paintings. . . Inspiring and peacefully thought-provoking." --Kirkus Reviews

Nana's Big Surprise by Amada Irma Perez and illustrated by Maya

"...fantastically engaging... a treasure hunt for found objects... a wonderful book about the love and support of a family. " --ForeWord

Maya currently plays and plays in San Francisco. She wants to share the important lessons she has learned from her only and deeply loved teacher Creativity. In this spirit she has created a small press to share her lessons to support educators, fellow artists and especially children.

She loves to share her 3 rules:

1. Everyone is an artist.

2. There is never a right or a wrong way to make art.

3. Art is always an act of courage.

To learn more about her curriculum, philosophies and much more...please feel free to visit her here:

To see prints from her children's books...please visit her here:

And to see more about her fine art and her work in the Contemporary Chicano/a Art Movement...feel free to go here:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on January 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems" is an excellent collaboration between two artists: poet Francisco X. Alarcon and illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez. Although marketed as a children's book, this bilingual collection should appeal to readers of all ages.
Each of Alarcon's poems is presented both in English and Spanish versions, making this book an added bonus for English speakers who are learning Spanish (or the other way around). The poetry in this book is a populist literature in the tradition of Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda, and some of Alarcon's whimsical reflections on the natural world also reminded me of Emily Dickinson. And while being part of a great tradition, Alarcon has his own strong poetic voice which stands apart.
Alarcon is a United States poet, and, as he explains in the afterword (which also appears in both English and Spanish), these poems were inspired by childhood trips to visit his rural relatives in Mexico. This book is thus a multicultural celebration of family, of ethnic roots, of childhood memories, and of the beauty of nature. Alarcon writes of being taught the alphabet by his grandfather, of walking barefoot on the grass, of befriending a cow name Mariposa ("butterfly" in Spanish), and of other delightful things.
Gonzalez' illustrations, which grace every page, perfectly complement Alarcon's celebratory verses. Bursting with color and energy, Gonzalez' work is a stunning blend of realistic and fantastic images. Her best illustrations are rich in details that invite the eye to linger in pleasure.
In the poem "We Are Trees," Alarcon compares human beings to trees, and notes that while "our roots / connect," our branches also "reach out / to other branches.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By America Reads Spanish on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Using his childhood in Mexico as inspiration Alarcón presents twenty-two thoughtful, down-to-earth poems in his second collaboration with illustrator Maya González. The bold brushstrokes of González's art perfectly highlight the bilingual text of each stanza and Alarcón gifts the reader with a slice of insight into his family and childhood. Children will relate to the subject matter and art work making this an excellent choice for introducing poetry as storytelling." This work is thus described in the definitive guide to Spanish reading "The New Essential Guide to Spanish Reading" which is published by America Reads Spanish: a campaign aimed to increase the use and reading of the Spanish language through the thousands of libraries, schools and book stores in the US.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect for my little niece! She is learning Spanish and loves poetry! The illustrations are beautiful! The poetry was is to understand and learning Spanish will be easier with the pictures and words in English and Spanish!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
wonderful illustrations, poems in Spanish and English, my kids loved this book. Price was right, fast shipping and book in perfect condition
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