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on December 8, 2014
One of my favorite children's books these days - full of delicious foods, rich language, and - best of all - rich, saturated color. A wonderful picture book for all ages.
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on April 14, 2015
Beware: This book will make you feel hungry!

Through Pat Mora’s wonderful haikus (a traditional and very popular form of Japanese poetry) and Rafael López’s vivid illustrations, we are introduced to a wide variety of foods from the Americas. From blueberries and papaya, to pumpkin and vanilla, readers will have the opportunity to discover and learn about crops that have been growing in our lands for centuries.

Mora uses this opportunity to present us with 14 different types of foods accompanied by a haiku, an illustration, and an informational paragraph for each. This combination effectively makes this book a fun, poetic, and informational read. Mora’s short poems strive to capture the various feelings and sensory experiences we encounter when we eat and enjoy these foods. The informational paragraph provides us with the etymology, origin and uses for each food, and some of them even include national holidays across the region that celebrate them.

Even though food is the main character of the book, children and nature are presented throughout each page, as they interact with the food that is being discussed. Through cheerful and colorful illustrations, López supports Mora’s words with lively anthropomorphic foods, suns and moons, friendly animals, and picturesque landscapes. The book also embraces the real diversity of the Americas, giving us multiethnic and multiracial children and their families enjoying and being part of this magic realism journey of foods and words.

Among the food, colors, and haikus there is an important aspect that is constant throughout Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué rico!, although featured discreetly: a strong sense of how vital sharing is–sharing the land with nature, humans, and animals, as well as sharing the products of our land with others. It stresses the need to understand the importance of a non-exploitative relationship with nature and our role in taking care of our land. We can see this aspect clearly with López’s constant use of images of children and families, seen either eating or preparing food together, planting seeds, and picking crops, as well as images of nature watering our soil. There’s no doubt that this book will encourage children to eat fruit, vegetables, and other natural foods. At the same time, it will help them to recognize the work that needs to happen to enjoy those foods.

Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America’s Sproutings was the first collaboration between Pat Mora and Rafael López. Published in 2007, the book won several awards such as Bank Street Children’s Books of the Year (2008), Américas Award (2007) and American Library Association (ALA) Notable Books (2008). It was also included in the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List (2008-2009), Great Lakes Great Books Award Master List (2008-2009) and ALA’s Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
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on June 22, 2016
I recently checked out children's books of haiku from the library. I was initially excited at the thought of bilingual haiku - based on the library's catalog description and on the publisher’s other offerings. However, it contained only a few Spanish words. (Note: I recently found out there’s a separate Spanish version of the book; perhaps it has sprinkles of English?)
Fourteen foods native to the Americas are featured. Each comes with a haiku, an illustration, and a paragraph about its origin and how different cultures prepare it. The haiku weren’t especially memorable, but here's the one for pumpkin, which we liked a lot:

“Under round luna,/ scattered tumblings down the rows,/ autumn’s orange face.”

This is not to say that it's a poor book. Quite the contrary! The illustrations by Rafael López are delightful – colorful and full of action. I especially liked the cheerful dancing fruit. If I were teaching an elementary class in Spanish, I could use the haiku and illustration to show how blueberries, potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables have spread around the world. In addition, the accompanying prose contained many interesting details suitable even for older children. I especially appreciated the way Mora addressed pre-Columbian culture and the effects of colonialism.
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on October 13, 2013
My 6-year-old son and I have loved this book for years! It's a special bonding experience to read this. He knows most of the poems by heart now-- he loves the sound of them. He never tires of looking at the vibrant photos, too. He's adopted from Guatemala, and this book has been such a wonderful link to his culture. The other day, he asked to make tortillas with me, inspired by the "Corn" poem in the book. I keep the book on a picture frame ledge, open to different pages, so that we can enjoy the cheerful illustrations as artwork every day. Now that he is older, we can also enjoy the interesting explanations of the various native foods that accompany the poems. He's learning Spanish, and this book inspires him to explore the language more, too. Beautiful book!
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on August 15, 2008
Already beginning in Kindergarten, content standards across the nation include economics, and the topic of natural resources is usually one of the first that students learn. What better way to introduce children to natural resources than this delightful book, with its interesting discussions, vivid illustrations, multicultural characters, and illuminating facts. The reader learns how chocolate is made, how to harvest pecans, the importance of potatoes as an international food source, the reason why tomatoes are considered a vegetable, where papayas come from, and why the United States is the world's largest consumer of vanilla. While older children may be more drawn to the fact-filled backgrounds of these food items, readers of all ages will appreciate the accompanying haiku poetry. At first glance this book appears to be about food, but lurking within are valuable economics lessons about natural resources, consumers, producers, and international trade.
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on August 3, 2009
This book is a great addition to the Language Arts classroom! Very bright and colorful and appealing to kiddos. Traditional 5-7-5 haikus about grown products from the Americas. Great information about each product. Kids will definitely appreciate a new, fun way to read non-fiction.

Use to teach main idea, author's purpose, text structure. Cross-curricular - natural resources, Americas, culture, fruits and vegetables.

Bluebonnet nominee 2009-2010.
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on January 30, 2011
linguists everywhere disagree with mixing languages while speaking or reading to a child. This book does just that. I ended up donating it to the library.
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