Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English
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Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  43 reviews
In simple words and sun-drenched paintings, Alma Flor Ada and Simón Silva take us into the fields and orchards, and into the lives of the people who work them. Simple poems in Spanish and English, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet, describe the wonder of the vegetable and fruit farms. Together, the poems and the rich illustrations celebrate the glory of nature an...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Rayo (first published January 1st 1997)
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Sep 08, 2013 Gundula rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking for great dual-language alphabet books
A wonderful collection of simple and evocative poems, one for every letter of the Spanish alphabet, this dual-language, lushly and brilliantly illustrated picture book not only captures the sun, the meadows, the fields of Mexico and the Southern United States, it is also an homage to migrant farm workers, to people like César Chavez, to those who work hard in the fields so that we can buy and enjoy fresh produce.

The poetical text selections are simple, but rich, full of flavour and nuances, capt...more
An alphabet book with poems in Spanish and English, Gathering the Sun, by Alma Flor Ada, focuses on the lives of migrant workers and offers short but meaningful and inspiring poems for every letter of the alphabet. The word for the letter O is Oregullo, Pride. The poem that follows describes how every child in our schools should feel, regardless of their heritage:

Proud of my family
Proud of my language
Proud of my culture
Proud of my people
Proud of being who I am.

Simón Silva’s illustrations ar...more
Lisa Vegan
Jul 28, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spanish readers learning ESL and vice versa; fans of lovely poetry & illustrations & farm workers
Recommended to Lisa by: Gundula
This book is absolutely stunning!

As soon as I read the description I thought of César Chávez and lo and behold, he’s C, and also the book is (fittingly) dedicated to him. As it’s about the contributions of farm workers, this felt perfect to me. Also wonderful is that the illustrator grew up in a family who were migrant farm workers and he worked the fields as a young child. How special that he could turn such hardship into such vibrant and beautiful paintings. They’re really amazing. They’re bol...more
Beautiful illustrations. An alphabet book like I have never seen before.
Wind and sky, rain and sun,
cloud and shade, field and flower.
Thank you, Earth,
for all of your delicious fruits.

Lovely poems for every letter of the alphabet and illustrated in vibrant colors that are as colorful as Mexico itself.

Sep 11, 2013 LauraW rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teachers of young children
Recommended to LauraW by: Gundula
I have been thinking lately that we do not honor the people who work hard doing manual labor. Things like repainting our house, replacing the roof (damaged by hail), landscaping and green area maintenance, even child care. In fact, it seems that we reserve our honor more for people who make a lot of money, rather than people who do good, honest work, day in and day out, not just manual labor, but work that simply isn't paid well. This book may not remedy that, but it does honor, and beautifully,...more
Cindy Benabderrahman
Here is a collection of poems—one for every letter of the Spanish alphabet—that represent the heart and soul of the sun-drenched central Mexican countryside. We explore, both through poems represented in Spanish and English, and in the illustrations in the style of Diego Rivera, the orchards, fields, meadows, homes, and families of the farm workers, as well as César Chávez. The poetry is clean and colorful, the paintings are warm and full of wonder, from A “(Árboles) Z (Zanahoria).

Author, Alma Flor Ada created a dynamic Spanish alphabet book that traces the lives of migrant farm workers. Each page features a letter and a descriptive poem alongside an English translation by Rosa Zubizarreta. Included are the Spanish letters Ch and Ll which the author notes that while these two letters are no longer separate letters in the Spanish alphabet, they are preserved in this text in respect for tradition and the love of the language. Illustrator, Simon Silva, draws upon his own rec...more
Kathleen Heroux
This translated alphabet book of poetry presents an authentic picture of hard working, loving families. Two themes appear throughout and are enforced by the illustrations; field workers and family. These are supplimented with both historical and geographical information for a child to experience. The illustrations for Gathering the Sun almost exude the heat that might be experienced from the sun on a hot summer day. The poetry and illustrations bring to mind another book, Esperanza Rising, a sto...more
Never before have I wanted so desperately to be able to read Spanish as when I read this book. Beautiful.

A wondering, though. Nearly all the Latino/Latina children's books I've encountered follow migrant families. None of the Mexican families in my school are migrant workers, although I'd be willing to assume some of their family/friends are. I'm just concerned that we're just creating a new stereotype to replace any old stereotypes? Or does the value of having more Mexican representation in lit...more
Eileen Goedert
Gathering the Sun successfully describes the lives of field workers with English and Spanish versions of poems. The content is mature for my preschoolers, but the languages side by side are quite effective for introducing the concept of how we are all the same and how we can respect the differences. Many alphabet books are available for early learners. This one presents painting and poem art work that provides a contrasting family view. Rather than focus on the plight of the families, I would us...more
Genre: Alphabet Book
Age: Elementary
Summary: This book goes through the Spanish alphabet giving a word or phrase for each letter, and then a short stanza about the topic. Most of the words and phrases are related to life on a farm.
Curriculum Connection:This book would be perfect for teaching the Spanish alphabet. Each page is given in English and Spanish, so the children would understand, even if they don't speak Spanish.
Personal Reaction:I liked the book, especially the pictures. This book used...more
Heather Summers
Every teacher should have an alphabet bookshelf! In this alphabet book, each letter is matched with a Spanish word (for example, "Arboles" for "A") and accompanied by a poem in both Spanish and English that describes how the plant, fruit, vegetable, person, or feeling had a place on the farm. This book represents the Spanish culture and i also love the poetry.
This book is very colorful and interesting! The book contains words and short explanations about working in the fields. It is fun and engaging to read to students because they learn the alphabet.
Deeply grounded in the cultural products, practices, and perspectives of Mexico. Beautiful illustrations, short poems on each page make it an excellent option for reviewing vocabulary.
Caroline Barnett
Gathering the Sun is a great book to have because it is an alphabet book in spanish and english. It is great for ELL's.
Nevada State
Mar 09, 2010 Nevada State added it
Shelves: childrens
The art work and bilingualism makes this book visually pleasing and mutually educational.
Nicole Disilvestro
1. This book is an alphabet book.
2. This book is about the Spanish and English alphabet and it has poems for each of the different letters and relates it to nature and different fruits and vegetables.
3. (a) I think this is a very accurate alphabet book. It helps the reader connect the different letters of the alphabet with different objects.
(b) I think this is a very appropriate alphabet book. It has beautiful illustrations that help connect the reader with the alphabet. I also think it is ve...more
Mary Harris
Citation: Gathering the sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English, by Alma Flor Ada. (Harper Collins, 1997). 38 p. Alphabet.

Genre: Picture Book - Alphabet

Summary: A wonderful alphabet book that uses Spanish definitions with English translations. It also familiarizes students with what it is like to grow up on a farm. It is a great book for Spanish speaking students as well as English speaking students.

A. There were two outstanding aspects of this book. First the Spanish and English translations fo...more
This book works together absolutely beautifully. Each letter of the alphabet is given a poem in Spanish, which is then translated into English, and all of the poems work together to create a positive portrayal of a family of traveling farmworkers from Mexico. The poems are free form, so rhyme is not an issue, and they vary from vegetables to family relationships to the concept of honor and pride. The illustrations are vibrant, bold, and joyous. On the whole, I was very impressed by this book, an...more
Ms Threlkeld
This is an alphabet book full of lovely illustrations. It centers around the work done by the narrator's family and the pride and love she has for her family. The info/poem on each page is written in both Spanish and English, providing a wonderful opportunity to compare the two languages and learn some new vocabulary.
Ellen Shackley
Genre: Alphabet Book

Summary: Every letter of the alphabet is presented in both Spanish and English. The focus of the alphabet seems to be a day in the life of a Mexican-American family.

A. Area of Focus: Style

B. The author has created a short poem for the word highlighted by each letter which help the reader to feel closer to the topics the author is talking about.

C. For example, on page 5, Duraznos or peaches are described as, "Juicy, golden peaches, honey-sweet, like a gentle caress in the palm...more
Amy Whitmer
This Spanish/English alphabet book illustrates the alphabet in Spanish with an English translation. For example, for the letter "A" the book uses the Spanish word "Arboles", which translates to "trees" in English. Then there is a short poem about the word.

In a classroom, this would be excellent for beginning Spanish learners or even Spanish-speaking ESL students. For teaching the alphabet, it's a better choice for Spanish speakers since the English translation doesn't necessarily follow the alp...more
Silva's illustrations are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen in children's books- absolutely breathtaking. I hope that if I ever have children, I am conscientious enough to introduce them to non-English languages very early.
This ABC book goes by Spanish words. It would be best to have this book in a classroom where the majority of the students do speak Spanish. The words relate to farm workers and Hispanic culture. The beautiful illustrations show many crops and other vegetation that is harvested by these farm workers and also talks about the people and their tasks. The book show appreciation to the farm workers and would hopefully instill that in the students. Although it is an ABC book, I believe it would be best...more
This is an alphabet book in Spanish and English. It talks about the farm workers in California and Cesar Chavez. The poems on each page are written in both English and Spanish. This would be great for a bilingual child who is getting to know their history and alphabet at once. The images are lovely and the text is touching.
This book is loaded with culture and inspiration. The poems are great, and are in both English and Spanish. I think this book is a great way to connect the language gap in a classroom and spark a sense of community. I also love the Pride poem in this book and will post it in my classroom. Great book to have!
Estrellas o Flores was my favorite poem because it reminded me of the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, who said: "Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." The short poems are distilled like haiku, and the art is lovely.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm all for books that are in English and in Spanish and I love alphabet books, but it seems a little strange to me that they should make an alphabet book in more than one language. Most of the time the first letter of a word changes in translation.
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Dr. Ada was the founder and First Editor in Chief of :
NABE, Journal of the National Association for Bilingual Education

She has been active for many years in various professional associations including : IRA, International Reading Association
CRA, California Reading Association
CABE, California Association for Bilingual Education
USIBBY, US Branch of the International...more
More about Alma Flor Ada...
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