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'Twas Nochebuena
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'Twas Nochebuena

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  40 reviews
’Twas Nochebuena and all through our casa, every creature was kneading tamale masa...

It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipp
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 16th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  227 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Jehan Jones-Radgowski
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am always looking for good bilingual books. And a week before Christmas I stumbled upon this book in my local library. I love that the Spanish words are interspersed with the English text. Some bilingual books have the English and Spanish text on the page which ever makes a super long book or a confused page. Other books have just certain characters speaking Spanish (Think Dora Explorer style), this book has Spanish words thrown in the text flow like a natural Spanglish speak. If you don't spe ...more
Ben Truong
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
'Twas Nochebuena is a children's picture book written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Sara Palacios. It is a book of a family preparing for a Nochebuena celebration. As today is Christmas Eve, when Nochebuena are traditionally celebrated, I thought it would be apropos to read this book.

Thong's text is simplistic and lyrical. It is written in the style of "The Night Before Christmas". The poem was written especially well and follows the rhythm and style of the original poem rather well too –
Ann Cox
A Spanish language spin on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas that explains how children in a Spanish speaking country spend Christmas Eve. I thought the new spin, that keeps the original's poetic form and rhyme scheme, was very well done. It does a good job at introducing children to another culture as well as teaching them new Spanish words. The illustrations were cute. I would recommend this as a read aloud for preschoolers and early elementary aged children. Some early elementary aged children ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
WONDERFUL & ADORABLE! Even though I'm Caucasian, I've grown up in the Southwest & this book was rich w/cultural traditions & images that give me a little sense of home and wanderlust at the same time. Very positive, very encouraging - I want to buy it for my niece & other children right away! Maybe even keep a copy for myself... & great pictures - the text & images are spaced out nicely for reading along w/a child on your lap or reading to a group around a fireplace. <3
Also - it's great for teac
Sandie, Teen Lit Rocks
I don't usually review all the picture books I read, but since I reviewed this one for Common Sense Media I figured it was worth adding: Such a great read for me to share with my kids. I'm not Mexican American, but since I am Latina and my family celebrated Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day, I loved reading this book with my younger kids. ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great book for a bilingual audience! It's the Night Before Christmas told with Spanish words sprinkled throughout. The meter and rhyme was perfect! A glossary is a the back for translating the words. You don't have o know very much Spanish to make this work as a read-aloud. A family celebrates Christmas with lots of traditions from Mexico and Guatemala, including Midnight Mass, fireworks and posadas. Great illustrations also lend a warm and joyful feeling to the book. ...more
Jillian Heise
A lovely "fractured" retelling of The Night Before Christmas told from a Latino perspective filled with pinatas, midnight mass, and tamales. The rhyming text includes numerous Spanish words, with a glossary at the end, and note from the author on what sparked the idea for this story. A great picture book to share at Christmas time to look at how various cultures celebrate the holiday. ...more
Natalie Houston
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lively colorful illustrations with a peppering of Spanish words in a mostly English text, introduce Hispanic Christmas traditions including caroling and traditional foods.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Authentic feel to this Hispanic family Christmas. I fondly remember making tamales with friends. Love to watch for the pets in the pictures. Not perfect, nice rhythm and rhyme.
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: valerie-s-shelf
I love how this book is in English and Spanish and the Spanish words are in italics and the translation is in the back of the book. I also enjoy reading about other cultures. I have celebrated Noche Bueno before with an old high school friend. There were a lot of tamales and I remember her family singing songs in Spanish and they would pass around a baby Jesus doll and everyone would give Jesus a kiss. And they had goody bags of Mexican pastries passed around to everyone - gifts from baby Jesus. ...more
Lynn  Davidson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful adaptation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. It centers around a family who share their traditional festivities with friends on Christmas Eve. It's a lovely rhyming story, very interesting to learn how they celebrate, and written in English with Spanish words inserted in context so the reader can learn some of the language. A glossary of Spanish words is in the back. Fabulous illustrations. ...more
Bee (BacchusVines)
I do not know Spanish, but this bilingual book was so good. There's keywords in Spanish, but enough context clues to help non-Spanish speaking readers to get what the narrator is saying.

I do love the illustrations. There's enough busy-ness to have my eye go from all directions but not too much to make it feel clutter.

A perfect Christmas tale, especially for immigrant families from Mexico.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I learned Spanish easily with this darling book about a Hispanic Christmas. It follows the rhythm of ‘Twas the night before Christmas, but gives lots of information about the cultural holiday. I used this for a social studies lesson.
Kris Dersch
This was so cool! Definitions of the Spanish words are in the back but the context clues for figuring them out are very good and the vibrant celebration of posadas will make kids want to join in. One or two tortured rhymes but mostly gets the rhythm of the original down no problem.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great Spanglish Christmas story!
Kristen Luppino
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this and it bringing to life another Christmas tradition.
Cindy Gerwin
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun short story about how Christmas is celebrated in the Mexican culture. The kids loved the book and several kids were really excited to hear and talk about their culture.
Mama Suzi Moses
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great retelling of the original poem with new multi-cultural details. Primarily English with a good mix of easy to understand Spanish.
A contemporary, Spanish version of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Thong keeps true to the rhythm and feel of the poem, but adds Spanish customs, traditions, and words. Lovely.
Sweet :)
Tammi Peterman
1. Text to World: people all over the world have Christmas Traditions. This book allows readers to see traditions from the perspective of a child in Guatemala. The piece shows that while many traditions are very similar there are other interesting and exciting traditions to explore around the world.

2. The characters and setting of the book are true to the Guatemalan culture. The piece shows how different Christmas Eve celebrations are from traditional American celebrations. It describes the spe
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
A reimagining of the classic tale - 'Twas a Night Before Christmas - with a bilingual twist. For native English speakers, this offers the perfect blend of English and Spanish, very similar to watching an episode of children's favorite little explorer, with a helpful glossary in the back for the Spanish vocabulary used. The original tale is familiar enough that most readers should be able to follow the story with very little effort, and the text itself includes a message of cultural acceptance th ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multi-cultural
A great book that shows a different spin on a classic tale. Similar to the familiar poem 'Night Before Christmas', Ms. Thong tells the tale of a Latin family on the night before Christmas as they make tamales, decorate, greet friends and celebrate. Rather than just replace some of the words from the familiar Clement's poem, the author creates her own story with the verse. Sprinkled in among the tale are words completely in Spanish with a glossary included. The only thing lacking was a phonetic g ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
We super enjoyed this one in story time today. The mix of mostly English with some Spanish thrown in was kind of fun for a former Spanish teacher. It was spot on in terms of culture ... the music, food, family, decorations, and Mass were all well done. The illustrations so fun and colorful and showcasing Latinos but really examples of other ethnicities joining in as well.

(Know your clientele. It does mention going to Mass but nothing specific beyond that so I felt like it was ok since there was
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a Mexican-American, I get skeptical when I encounter supposedly multicultural books- they often get it so wrong! But this book is wonderful (and accurate)!!!

I love the festive Spanish vocab, colorful illustrations, and fun story.
This is the perfect book for multicultural families: kids who can relate will love seeing their unique holiday traditions in a storybook for once; others will be educated, inspired, and feel good about whatever unique holiday traditions your family has!
Everyone's spec
This twist on the classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas reimagines the poem with Spanish words and celebration.

A glossary of Spanish terms is included along with an author's note that helps readers understand the inspiration for this book.

Highly recommended seasonal read aloud with PreK-2.
I like exploring various illustrated versions of Moore's poem, but seldom care for variations of the words. The multicultural characters in the story seem to be telling us to share the holidays with those of other backgrounds.
The cover is extremely inviting, and I wonder if this would be popular in Spanish-speaking communities.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cultural-kids
Roseanne Greenfield Thong's "'Twas Nochebuena" is such a treasure. This simple story provides a glimpse into the lives of Hispanic families as they prepare to celebrate Christmas. Tamales, champurrado (hot chocolate), and piñatas are staples, as people gather to remember the humble beginnings of Christ. ...more
Dec 10, 2014 added it
Shelves: children
The narrative describes the tradition well and the illustrations are colorful and good, but I would not say it is a story in English and Spanish. There are Spanish words sprinkled in in italics with a glossary at the end. (No pronunciation key)
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
A sweet holiday book that sprinkles Spanish words amongst this rhyming book that seems similar to The Night Before Christmas. The illustrations are charming and colorful.
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Also writes as Roseanne Greenfield Thong.

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