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Fiesta! Hardcover – December 16, 2008
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After celebrating numbers (Cool Cats Counting, 2005) and colors (Spicy Hot Colors, 2004), this creative team turns to the concept of months, using each one to explore how Latin American countries mark various festive occasions. Each full-page spread combines vibrant art with a short poem and a prose paragraph that tells more about the customs surrounding each special day. Other than Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos, many holidays will be new to American children. Mexico’s Fiesta de San Antonio Abad in January, the Incan Inti Raymi in June, and Brazil’s Águas de Oxalá each September are all featured. The only bilingual element is each month’s name, and while there is additional information on each event at the back of the book, that’s often the only place where specific geography is referenced. Still, this offers a good introduction to Latin America’s many diverse cultures, and it will partner well with Fiestas: Holiday Songs from Latin America (2002). Grades 1-3. --Andrew Medlar
About the Author
Sherry Shahan Bio:
Sherry Shahan has authored over 30 children's books. She is also a seasoned world traveler and adventurer. As a photojournalist, Ms. Shahan has ridden horseback in Africa's Masailand, hiked a leech-infested rain forest in Australia, and ridden in a dogsled for the first part of the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. A serious dance student, she has traveled to Cuba to study Latin-African styles of movement. When not on an exciting assignment, Ms. Shahan frequently visits schools and libraries around the country. Her first August House work, Spicy Hot Colors explodes off the page to introduce young readers to colors in Spanish, employing similes rooted in the Latin American culture. Kirkus praised the picture book in their review, "Successful both as an introduction to Latin American culture for children unfamiliar with it and as a celebration for those who call it their own." Her award winning picture book was also animated and appeared on the popular PBS series, “Between the Lions” produced by WGBH. Following the success of Spicy Hot Colors, she once again collaborated with Paula Barrigan to create Cool Cats Counting, a picture book that bursts off the page with vibrant colors and rhythm to introduce young readers to animals and numbers in both English and Spanish. Then she published her third LittleFolk picture book with Paula, Fiesta, using the same rich visual style to celebrate Latin American holidays. Shahan is also a popular speaker and has been featured at professional conferences, such as California Reading Assn., California School Library Assn., California Teachers of English, and has taught workshops in writing for children at Palm Springs Writers Conference, Cuesta College Writers Conference, WIN-WIN Writer's Conference, California Writers Club, Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators among others.
Paula Barragan Bio:
Paula Barrágan was born in Quito, Ecuador. Though Paula's parents are native to both Ecuador and New Zealand, and her studies have carried her from The School of Visual Arts in Paris to the San Francisco Art Institute to the Pratt Institute in New York, she draws her inspiration primarily from the vibrant culture of her birth country. Echoes of the highly detailed and earthy artwork native to Ecuador can be seen in Barrágan's wide range of work: in her design, paintings, etchings, textiles, carpets, silkscreens, and jewelry. Barrágan's accomplishments encompass international solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and the United States. She has completed numerous commissions for diverse projects in etching, carpet and mural design. Barrágan has also been a design teacher at the Universidad Católica in Quito, and a representative of Ecuador for the “Painting with Children” program with Hillary Clinton. In recent years she has flourished in illustration, creating unique lively and colorful images for children's books. Her capacities are vast, and speak not only of her creative talent, but also of her tireless discipline and drive for creative exploration. In Barrágan's oil paintings, simplicity and intricacy are woven together with harmony. Her palate is broad: fiery reds, sea blues, and mossy greens are nestled together in multi-hued shimmering pools or smooth opaque fields. Within these fields of color, Barrágan carves into the surface of the paint; close inspection of the painting reveals figures, churches, spiny creatures, words and numbers, even eyes gazing back at us. The overall impact is magnificent. From across a room the paintings captivate one's eye with their boldness. At the same time, one wants to explore the sensual matte glow of the surface, and decode the minute carvings each painting holds.
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