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The Desert Is My Mother / El Desierto Es Mi Madre Hardcover – November 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 360L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (November 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558851216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558851214
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 11.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,366,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With the simplest of words, Mora (Listen to the Desert/Oye al desierto) invokes the grand powers of the desert. A girl with long, dark hair narrates: "I say feed me. She serves red prickly pear on a spiked cactus.... I say frighten me. She shouts thunder, flashes lightning." To underscore the dream-like quality of the narrator's thoughts about the desert, Lechon places the girl alternately outside or partially within the frames of paintings that float on a desert-like textured background. However, he seems capable of endowing her with only saccharine expressions, and her facial features change drastically from one spread to the next. His trite characterizations suppress the beauty of Mora's bilingual text, which, especially in Spanish, communicates quiet joy and reverence. Ages 3-7.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 4-8. With a playful, poetic text, this bilingual picture book celebrates a child's connection with her desert home. "I say feed me. / She serves red prickly pear on a spiked cactus." On each double-page spread the child makes a demand, and the pictures show how the desert satisfies her. The feelings are universal; the words are precise and physical. ("I say make me beautiful. / She offers turquoise for my fingers, a pink blossom for my hair"). There's some wry humor ("I say tease me"), and always there's the unexpected ("I say frighten me"). The illustrations extend the imagery to show a dreamy child with long, black hair: she watches the scary lightning storm in the desert night; she sees the particular flowers that bloom in the sun's glare and in the driest sand. This child is fostered by the joy and awe of lonely places. Hazel Rochman

More About the Author

Pat Mora, born in El Paso, Texas, is an award-winning poet and author of books for adults, teens, and children. Her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Golden Kite Award, American Library Association Notable Book Awards, and honorary doctorates. A former teacher and university administrator, she is the founder of the family literacy initiative El día de los niños / El día de los libros, Children's Day / Book Day (Día). The year-long commitment to linking all children to books, languages and cultures, and of sharing what Pat calls "bookjoy," culminates in celebrations across the country in April. Pat lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and invites you to visit her at www.patmora.com and http://sharebookjoy.blogspot.com.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dian Dean on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Desert Is My Mother is a simple to read, yet richly written poem celebrating the majesty of the desert by those who understand and love it. The verses are written in both Spanish and English by Pat Mora who also understands and loves both languages. For a classroom teacher, this book makes a perfect reader's theater for including both bilingual Spanish and English students and also creates a natural springboard for discussions of language, culture, and ecology. The beautiful illustrations support the text perfectly, giving important clues for readers to unlock the graceful language. If you are studying the desert, no matter what age, I highly recommend this book. If you are a parent who loves to read with your child this is a must have and if you are a bi-lingual Spanish-English parent, lucky is the child to have your two voices to bring this book to life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By N. Salazar on February 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What I liked from the book is that the author includes the bright flowers found in the desert, the tunas as a delicious fruit, the medical plants used from the natives such as chamomile, oregano and peppermint, the different weathers found in the desert. I have been in the desert, I have eaten tunas and other fruits found in the cactus and other desert plants. I think kids who like the typical green areas (woods and jungles) will also find in the desert a beautiful place to visit and enjoy.

This book deserves five stars. This is a beautiful, yet playful and exquisite poetic book, celebrating the richness of the desert written in both English and Spanish.
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