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Song of the Swallows Hardcover – September 9, 2009
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About the Author
Leo Politi wrote and illustrated dozens of children's books, many of which are set in the Latino communities of Southern California.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is about a young boy, Juan, who meets a gardener and bell-ringer at the Mission, Julian, and asks questions about Capistrano. He tells Juan the story of the swallows and how they always come to Capistrano during the warm spring and summer months, and how the Mission is a significant part of California and Native American history. Most importantly, the story emphasizes the kindness to nature and animals.
Leo Politi wrote and illustrated the book. And the unique aspect of his narrative is how he tells the story in English, but there is also a little bit of Spanish. The story is further enriched when Politi complements the book with a colorful array of drawings and the words to two of the songs about the swallows.
Overall, The Song of the Swallows reveals that a part of history does indeed exist in the stories that are told. And for Juan, he happened to find it just down the road from where he lived. Cleverly, Politi may have been suggesting that in any city or town, the history of the past is closer than you think.
Politi loved Los Angeles, and it makes no difference that picture books this old definitely feature a style of writing that would be frowned upon today, Politi's stories come from the heart. Song of the Swallows, to me, is an important story, because though one reviewer referred to its minor detours into political incorrectness, I feel that those were the true feelings of that time, and it is important for children to understand that people's attitudes change over time.
I believe that Politi's Song of the Swallows is one of the most compelling reads for fourth grade students who must learn about the mission system, as it is told from the eyes of a child. It was awarded a Caldecott Medal in 1950, and it is clear to me why it is still in print in paperback form today. It captures a brilliant little piece of California history. For those that sing or play the piano, there is even a song about "Las Golondrinas" to learn.
After reading this book, children are begging to go to the Mission San Juan Capistrano on that special day to see if the swallows really come. If you ever happen to visit on any given March 19th, you will see that they really do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every Californian needs to read this version of early California history, and Spain's settlement of our state. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Eileen Casanova
Wondrous book about the Mission and the Swallows of San Jaun Capistrano.
They use to build their nests in the mission eaves and were a wondrous tourist
attraction when I... Read more
B ook kfor March, when swallows do return, if not to San Juan Cap , but to areas with water, mud....and we need them as they eat the insects that bother us soPublished 19 months ago by Stephanie
I enjoyed looking at the illustrations but thought the story line would not capture the attention of most children over the age of three.Published on October 17, 2013 by Bronwyn
I remember this lovely book from when I was a child. It is peaceful goodness, quiet observation, and cheerful contentedness. Read morePublished on August 7, 2013 by M. Heiss
We were getting tired of chapter books, and I saw this at our local library. It was an inspiring, simple book, but still good for an 8 year old reading level. Read morePublished on October 9, 2012 by gilbert-az-mom