This prequel to Eric Velasquez's biographical picture book Grandma's Records is the story of a Christmas holiday that young Eric spends with his grandmother. After they prepare their traditional Puerto Rican celebration, Eric and Grandma visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project, where he sees a painting by Diego Velasquez and realizes for the first time that he could be an artist when he grows up. Grandma witnesses his fascination, and presents Eric with the perfect Christmas gift-a sketchbook and colored pencils-to use in his first steps toward becoming an artist. A heartwarming story of self-discovery, Grandma's Gift is a celebration of the special bond between a grandparent and grandchild.
Eric Velásquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including several previous collaborations with Carole Boston Weatherford. He won the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award for his illustrations of The Piano Man, written by Debbi Chocolate. Eric Velásquez is also the author-illustrator of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award–winning Grandma’s Gift. Born in Harlem, he lives and works in Hartsdale, New York.
Text to World – This book works really well with the TED talk video of Chimanda Adichie. Ms. Adichie speaks about how she was inspired by authors from her home country. Her speech reminded me of this book because in the author’s note at the end of the book Velasquez states that he was inspired by a portrait of painter Juan de Pareja because he looked like him. The fact that he was an accomplished painter inspired him to dream of that possibility for himself.
Bloom’s Questions: 1. Who are the main characters in Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez? 2. Explain why the story has the title that it does? 3. Why do you think Eric’s teacher wanted him to go to the museum to see the new painting? 4. How would you compare Eric and his Grandmother? 5. How would you feel about going to the museum if you were like Grandma and didn’t often leave your neighborhood? 6. How would you rewrite the story from Grandma’s point of view?
When Eric's teacher gave his grandmother a note about the holiday project of visiting a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Art Museum, it brought a new adventure. Eric's grandmother never traveled from El Barrio, NY. Eric enjoyed being with her as she yearly took him to the local La Marqueta (fresh food market).
As they once again obtained ingredients for pasteles, a traditional Puerto Rican dish made primarily at Christmas time, the market was busy with sights and sounds of the season.
Traveling to the museum was yet another adventure. As they went up the huge flight of stairs to the second floor, they found the painting Eric's teacher recommended. The portrait of Juan de Pareja is one of the most prized collections of the museum. Paying a large sum of 5.5 million in 1971, set a record for the acquisition cost of a painting.
This famous painting by Diego Velazquez remains a prized portrait at the museum.
Researching the painting and observing it closely resonated with Eric and affirmed his love of art. For Christmas, Eric's grandmother gave him a set of colored artistry pencils and a large sketchbook, which started the opening of the door of recognition that Eric did indeed possess talent.
Filled with the holiday customs of Eric's Puerto Rican heritage, and the strong family bond, makes this a very special book.
1. Eric gets to spend Christmas with his Grandma. after they prepare a traditional Puerto Rican celebration Eric's grandmother takes him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project. It was here he saw a painting that made him want to grow up and become a painter. Eric's grandmother takes notice of the excitement she sees from Eric and gives him his first sketchbook and colored pencils for Christmas. 2. Grade 1-4 3. I could use this book in a number of ways when talking about dreams/careers or Culture or family. 4. I would think all kids would benefit from this book. 5. In small groups I would have kids tell about their favorite gift they have received. 6. As a class I would have the students write about their favorite outing that led to a new hobby. 7. Grandma's Record is the sequel to this book. 8. Their is the Authors web site but that is all for connections.
This book would be perfect for the holiday season. It is a great way for students to learn about other culture's Christmas traditions and customs, so I would read this book for pleasure and enrichment. It has strong language and varies in sentence structure. The book also has Spanish phrases that are followed by the English translation, which I loved. This would be a great read aloud to get Spanish speaking students involved with. I'm sure it would make them feel special if I asked them how to pronounce some of the words in the story. This is a great book for kindergarten to third grade kids, and ESL students.
Audience: Kindergarten to 3rd grade, boys, girls, ESL students Appeal: This is an uplifting Christmas story about a boy and his grandmother. Students will love this book around the holiday season. This book is mostly in English, but conversations had in the book are in Spanish, with the English translation following in parentheses. I think that students who have English as a second language might be able to benefit from this book, and those learning Spanish will surely be able to learn a lot too. This book won the Pura Belpre Award for Illustration in 2011.
This book is about a boy who is on Christmas break and spends it with her grandmother. The setting is in New York and after he visits the MET he gets inspired after seeing a painting of a Puerto Rican slave who become a painter. The book's pictures are very detailed and realistic, almost like a painting. I recommend this book for the theme, that talks about the boy's family traditions and the graphics in the book.
This book is a 2011 Pura Belpre medal winner for illustration. The audience this book is geared towards would include boys and girls in kindergarten through second grade. The book is appealing due to its story and colorful illustrations. It is an interesting story about the relationship between a grandmother and her grandson and the ways in which they help each other.
Grandma’s Gift is a wonderful story about a young boy, Eric, who is celebrating Christmas with his grandma. Together, alongside the rest of their family, they take part in their Puerto Rican celebration. Once they have prepared what is needed, they work on Eric’s assignment of going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and looking at a new painting. While at the museum, they see a painting by Diego Velasquez. The characters in the book are diverse. At the beginning, most of the characters are Puerto Rican like Eric. When Grandma and Eric get to the museum, they notice that no one is speaking Spanish and they don’t recognize anything. This shows that all areas have different groups of people who typically live and work there. Some students may have had similar experiences to Eric and Grandma. In addition, the story uses a variety of English and Spanish throughout. This shows how Eric translates for his grandma when they are out and about. When at La Marqueta, everyone feels like family because they know each other and have many similarities. This story can act as a mirror for some students, especially ELLs in a classroom. They can see that translating for another family member and having experiences and traditions different from other classmates simply makes them unique. I think this book will help students who struggle with embracing their culture and share that different cultures are exciting to students who have never been exposed to other cultures. The only downside I would give this book is that the story seemed to be missing something. The title is Grandma’s Gift and only one page truly talks about the grandmothers gift. While I understand that the relationship of the grandmother and grandson is what’s being displayed, some students may not connect the importance of their relationship to the significance of the grandmother’s gift. The overall message of the story is somewhat masked by the added details of the story. I think this is a wonderful read, but a well thought out extension activity is necessary to ensure all students gather a good understanding of the story’s message. An extension activity that I would consider is having students share what traditions they have for different holidays. This will help students see the similarities and differences within their class and see that being unique is a wonderful thing. At the end of the story, Grandma’s gift is Eric’s first very own sketchbook and first set of colored pencils. Eric decided to draw his first self-portrait because he saw at the museum that someone of the same culture was able to become and artist so one day he could too. Connecting to that, teachers could have students create their own self-portraits and compare them to self-portraits of artists who share similar cultures with them. Overall, this book is a great addition to a classroom library.
I can’t wait to share this book with my second graders. Grandma and grandson learn more about each other by spending time in El Barrio in New York and by going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an assignment for the grandson. There is a lot of Spanish in this book as the grandson needs to translate for his grandmother from Puerto Rico. Sweet story and great illustrations. Highly recommend.
Grandma's Gift by Eric Velasquez was a realistic fiction novel about a boy who spends his winter break with his grandmother. When with his grandmother he learns about her culture and together they go to the history museum to see a piece of Juan de Pareja. Grandmother automatically recognized him and tells her grandson all about the stories of his she was told when she was young. Looking at this painting inspired the boy to pursue his dreams as an artist. This book spoke to me because it reminds me of spending time with my beloved grandmother growing up. I think I would read this book to my 4-5graders because some parts are in Spanish so understanding the cross between the two languages will require the students to be paying attention as they read.
I would use this book in my classroom as part of a social studies/diversity lesson. We may have some students in our class from the same cultural decent as the author so it would give them something to relate to. The Spanish in the book would also give some of the Spanish speaking students a chance to show off a part of their language they do not normally get to use at school.
Educators could also use this book to CCR Anchor Standard RI.1 – Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. Students can read the book and use their evidence to talk about the characters throughout the story and how the events affected them.
This incredible realistic fiction picture book is great for any classroom. As a teacher of several English Language Learners, I love how the author captures the life of a student and his family, while also putting the reader into the shoes of a child who has to help his caregiver with language barriers. The author also weaves in an understanding of the Puerto Rican culture, making this text a great tool for teaching diversity. As a reading teacher, I would use this text to teach the components of a realistic fiction text. As a writing teacher, this is a great mentor text to teach writers how to make characters come alive in their stories. As an extension, I would ask my students to write about a holiday tradition that is in their family.
At the "Multicultural Children’s Literature for Joy and Justice" Meetup, after the children's librarian leading the session gave us a series of guidelines to be attentive to (illustrations: stereotypes, tokenism, who's powerful/active, invisibility; storyline: standards for success, resolution of problems, depiction of family; #ownvoices; etc.), we broke into small groups and the children's librarian passed out a mix of books -- some with good representation, some with less good.
This one is good.
The protagonist is the son of an Afro-Latinx Puerto Rican family living in NYC.
Review: The illustrations in this charming story about a young boy of Cuban and African decent are colorful and realistic. This book would be really fun to read before the winter holidays since it takes place just before Christmas. From the illustrations, it appears the setting is the mid 1970s in a Barrio in New York. The main character has an assignment over the holiday break to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and look for a specific painting. He stays with Grandma during the break and helps her make the traditional Cuban pasteles for Christmas gifts. Grandma, not able to read English, seems out of her element at the Museum until she sees the portrait of Juan de Pareja. Later she tells her grandson about the Cuban slave turned painter. On Christmas day there is a special present for her grandson.
Quote promoting visual imagery: “First, Grandma carefully laid out a sheet of parchment paper with a piece of banana leaf on top. Then she poured a little annatto oil on the leaf and added la masa (the dough) and la carne (the meat)—with a valley scooped out in the middle for la salsa (the sauce). For the finishing touch, she folded everything together to form a perfect rectangle and tied each one with string so it looked like an old-fashioned parcel.”
Rationale: I chose this passage because it is extremely visual and procedural. I can just picture the process of making the pasteles. It would be fun to pretend to assemble them as you read the story. Pause at this point in the book and “assemble” pasteles. Do it over and over until you have a pile of them. Ask students what color the different ingredients would be? Ask the students if they can imagine eating them after they have been boiled? Of course there are also vocabulary words to clarify in order to appreciate the images. Show them the picture of a finished pastele and ask them what they think it looks like. Then ask if they can give a synonym from the story (parcel). As an extension, I would make pasteles to share with the students.
It was fun to read this book with my son who is also Latino. We talked about how the main character had never seen a painting with someone who looked like him when he had been to the museum on other trips. We also talked about how pasteles sound like the Guatemalan tamales we make to celebrate my son’s heritage.
Personal Reaction: I thought this book was very lovely, and had great classroom potential behind it. I really loved the relationship between Eric and his grandmother, and how she supported his interests and dreams. It reminded me of my relationship with my grandparents! They love my art work, and have always encouraged me to continue it.
Purpose: Read aloud for grades 1-3 -enjoyment: students will be able to make connections through the relationship of Eric and his grandmother with their own family. It also brings in an element of interest, and in Eric's case it is art. Students may be able to connect with something they are passionate about or encourage them to find something they are truly passionate about. -the language used throughout the book. Since it is multicultural and it is based on a Puerto Rican family, there is a lot of Spanish throughout the text, which students would be eager to learn and speak. -the element of art that is present throughout the book.
Curriculum: Read aloud for students grades 1-3 -introducing students to a diverse and new culture of Puerto Rico and those from there and a potential discussion about their own cultures/heritages. -teaching them the new spanish words and vocabulary -introducing them to the artist Diego Velazquez and other artists from different cultures -facilitating a discussion about self-discovery and interests. What do you want to be when you grow up? How did you know? Was there a specific moment in time when you realized this? -a fun project for the students that relates to this book would be to bring something from their heritage/culture and teach the class why it is special and important. Also, bringing in something they are passionate about. If it is sports bring a ball, if it is art, bring a personal drawing or painting, if it is music, bring a CD or an instrument and play something. It would be engaging for students to learn about others' passions and how they came to realize they were passionate about it.
When I heard that this year's Belpre Illustrator award had gone to a book called Grandma's Gift, I groaned inwardly. It sounded treacly and overly sweet, a story about a toy from grandma that symbolized her love, the greatest gift of all... or something else really cheesy like that.
But the book isn't really about Grandm's gift. Not obviously anyway. It was actually a nice surprise because the main characters are of the African diaspora but Spanish-speaking (from Puerto Rico). Actually, this is a autobiographical tale of how Velasquez himself decided to become an artist (or at least how his interest was sparked) when he traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw a painting of Juan de Pareja (the first painting he had ever seen of a person who looked like him). Of course, I'm aware that a very large percentage of Spanish-speaking people in the world are black, and that the slave trade was prominent in Latin America and in Spain (from taking a slave literature class in college). But I think that this is the first children's picture book I've seen depicting that particular group of people. So that was pretty cool.
Grandma's Gift is great for teaching (or reinforcing) Spanish, since the grandma in the story doesn't speak English, and her Spanish sentences are translated. The illustrations aren't really anything new or innovative, but they are realistic (which is a style I like) and give you a good sense of what's going on.
I'm a little puzzled about who or what to recommend this book for. It wouldn't really be good for a storytime because there is a lot of text on each page; the kids would be a little bored and restless. The amount of text also poses a problem in terms of independent reading. I think that this would be a great read for older kids who are already reading chapter books. It could also be a good one-on-one read for parents and kids. A lovely story.
Grade/interest level: Later Primary (3rd grade) to Upper elementary (4th-5th grade) Reading level: None available Genre: Picture Book, Multicultural, Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Main Characters: Eric, Grandma Setting: New York City, New York on winter break from school POV: from Eric
This is a story about a young Puerto Rican boy who has just left school for winter break. He is going to stay with his grandma during the break so his parents can work. Before he leaves the school, the teacher hands grandma a note explaining the project Eric is supposed to do over break which is to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Throughout the story Eric must translate for his grandma because she does not read English. As soon as they leave the school on the bus, Eric translates the note for her. The grandma says she will take him if he helps her make her famous pasteles, a Puerto Rican traditional Christmas dish. Eric and grandma go to the market to get all of the ingredients and when they get home they make the dish. Grandma takes Eric to the museum even though she has never left the twenty blocks surrounding her home. Together they discover wonderful works of art and see a Puerto Rican self portrait of Juan de Pareja. That evening the family enjoyed dinner and grandma gifted Eric a sketchbook and colored pencils. This book can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. From family to community there are many themes that can be taken from this book. I think I would use it to have students realize that they can become whatever they want just like Juan de Pareja and the author of the book did. There is a strong sense of cultural pride that I would also like my students to witness and instill in themselves.
Grandma's Gift by Eric Velasquez is a biographical look at a crucial moment when the author/illustrator first realizes that he coiuld become an artist when he grows up. After preparing for their traditional Puerto Rican Christmas celebration, Eric and his grandma visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for a school project, where he sees a painting by Diego Velasquez. Grandma's Gift is a prequel to Eric Velasquez's biographical picture book Grandma's Records.
The text is evocative of the Puerto Rican grandmother's hispanic neighborhood, with a number of dialog sentences in Spanish. The book is also the story of Eric's special relationship with his grandmother, who responds to his experience by giving him a special Christmas gift. At times I wanted more details about the Grandmother and the family. The book could be extended in the classroom through research, writing, art, and cooking or tasting.
The main characters are of the African diaspora but Spanish-speaking (from Puerto Rico), and help make this a recommended book. The amount of text would make this more appropriate for family sharing or reading by students ready to read short chapter books.
The illustrations are rendered in oil on watercolor paper. They are realistic and show some famous paintings including that of Jaun de Pareja. The section showing La Marqueta were very appealing. Grandma's Gift earned Eric Velasquez the 2011 Pura Belpre Illustrator Award.
For ages 4 to 8, Puerto Rican culture, art, Christmas, grandparents, family, city themes, and fans of Eric Velasquez.
This story is more about the Hispanic culture, this boy who spends Christmas break with his grandma. For a class project for over winter break he has to go visit a museum. His grandma is making him help her with cooking and then she said she will take him. When they arrive to the museum, the grandma makes connections with a painting and her heritage. Personal Reaction - This book was different than any of the other picture books I have read. This book tells a story with nicely illustrated pictures. Actually a Caldecott winning book. Read aloud to 1-5 for children for purpose: enjoyment and understanding about a different cultures. Really well for students who have English as there second language or typically children in ESL. Some of the phrases the grandma says in Spanish are translated in English for everyone else to understand. This is a good way to engage not only people that speak English but students that speak Spanish as well. - discussion of reality - narrative structure: Great to use and demonstrating a strong bond between a grandma and her grandchild. Or even showing background of a different culture. -introduction or reinforcement of character: Although the story is told by the little boy and he never says his own name, the narrator is considered to be a flat character. Nothing much happens for him to change the way he acts. He is very helpful to his grandma, she buys him a sketch book, and he is really excited about being on Christmas break, going to the museum, and getting the sketch book.
Annotation: The author describes Christmas at his grandmother's apartment in Spanish Harlem the year she introduced him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Diego Velazquez's portrait of Juan de Pareja, which has had a profound and lasting effect on him.
Themes: Family, Christmas and Advent, Puerto Ricans, New York City, art
Ways to use the book:
Social Studies - Mark out on a map of New York City the city blocks that make up El Barrio. Put a pin on the map where the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located. Have the children count the blocks in El Barrio and how many blocks it takes to get to the museum. Have a class discussion about why the cultures are so different, even though the locations are close together. Mark and discuss other locations in El Barrio, such as El Museo del Barrio at 1230 Fifth Ave., and La Marqueta, a food market, at 1590 Park Ave.
Math/Ordering and Language - Grandma must follow a specific order to make pasteles. Ask students if they remember what order the pasteles are made in. Cut out sets of words or have the words in random order on a worksheet with blanks next to the words for filling in numbers. This activity could be done in pairs or individually. Have the children complete this activity in both English and Spanish. Ingredients in order are as follows: 1. hoja del banana/banana leaf 2. aceite de achiote/annatto oil 3. la masa/dough 4. la carne/meat 5. la salsa/sauce
Grandma's Gift Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary (4th to 7th) Reading level: Grade: 5.3 Genre: multicultural Main Characters: Eric Setting: Harlem POV: from narrator/author
Eric Velasquez shares the story of his relationship with his grandma. They live in Harlem. So for the holidays Eric and his grandma go out and see the some art in the Spanish neighborhood of Harlem They come across the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Diego Valzquez’s portrait comes up. It is about an African born slave and the painter was Juan de Pareja. They both relate to the subject of the portrait and Eric being a young boy actually enjoys that his grandma was sharing this art with him. The author mentions how this gift of art or this moment in particular has helped him grow as an artist.
When I first read the title, “Grandma’s Gift” I thought that the gift would be something tangible, but to my surprise it was the gift of art. It is a great way to think of a gift and I feel that we need to unpack this kind of definition of “gift” to our students. Because like myself, the first thing I think about when I hear gift is something tangible. So many kids would think the same way, but they need to understand that you can give a lot more than just tangible things, you can give the gift of art like Eric’s grandma, or something like knowledge, but something more significant that will last forever or an experience that can change someone’s way of life.
Comments:An endearing story, told from the point of view of a man when he was just a boy, spending the holidays in the barrio with his Grandma, “Grandma’s Gift” will easily become a favorite of many readers, young and mature. The illustrations are reminiscent of the kind of artwork you’d see at an exhibit and work well with the story’s appeal to the senses. This story was very much a nostalgic one that would be ideal just before naptime or even to start your child’s day. The kind of story that puts key aspects of one’s childhood into retrospective perfection, “Grandma’s Gift” is a story that gives freely, from beginning to end.
Age Suitability: 5 yrs+
Summary: An endearing story of a young boy's adventures with his Grandma, in Spanish Harlem. A unique expression of one's pride in one's cultural identity,as well as a celebration of tradition and family.A beautifully illustrated memory of the beginning of one man's childhood dream to create art and leave his mark on the world.
Quote:"As soon as she took off her coat, Grandma headed straight to the kitchen and went right to work peeling and grating the root vegetables by hand--never with a blender...'If you want to taste traditional, you must make it traditionally,'she always said."
Grandma's Gift is a book about a young boy who while on Christmas vacation is assigned a field trip homework assignment to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Since his parent's work, his Grandma is the one who takes him to the museum, despite her hesitations of venturing out of her neighborhood, El Barrio. While he understands his Grandma is not used to going out and taking the bus to the East Side of Manhattan where people don't look like her. he tries to find a common ground to make her feel at ease. With some effort, he finds a painting in a gallery that looks like his Grandma, and she begins to really like the museum. At the end of their trip, they go back home and start to make pasteles for the impending Christmas dinner, teaching everyone reading the book the secret to some delicious pasteles. This book is great for showing how people in Puerto Rican households (and also Hispanic ones) celebrate the Christmas holiday with their food and family gathering. It is a great example to draw parallels with other cultures to show how while the culture may be different, the main themes of holidays can be the same: spending time with family and enjoying authentic home-made foods.
A boy named Eric and his grandmother spend winter break together while his parents are working. Eric and his grandmother made an agreement that if he would help make food then she would take him to the museum to look at a portrait that was assigned as a task from the teacher. While at the museum, the grandmother notices a portrait of Juan de Pareja, a person she actually knows. Juan was a slave to a great painter by the name of Diego Velazquez who eventually set him free. The portrait made Eric realize that his people were part of history. This book really was a great way to show that every culture has a significance history. I really enjoyed reading it because I personally dealt with similar problems too. I would use this book in class by having the students read it and then have a project that has the children find out a little bit of the history of their family. This book is intended for students in kindergarten to first grade and I think its perfect for them. The vocabulary level is low and the length of the book isn't very long. The pages are mainly illustrations. I would highly suggest children in those grade levels to read this book!
Velasquez, Eric. (2010). Grandma’s Gift. New York, NY: Walker Books for Young Readers.
Grandmas’ Gift by Eric Velasquez. Copyright 2010 Genre: Fiction Kit Lit: Pura Belpre Award Winning Book Grandma’s gift is about a young boy who goes and visits his grandmother over his winter break. While being there, his grandmother and him went on some adventures. They went to the market so the grandmother could make the traditional Christmas dish for the family and they also went to the museum. While at the museum, the grandmother recognized a painting that hit home for her. During this time, the boy had learned more about where his family came from. The book ends with it being Christmas day and the little boy opening up gifts that he had received. This is such a cute book. The pictures are amazing that are on each page. Each one has so much detail in them. The thing I liked the most about this book was that there was Spanish throughout the entire reading; since the grandmother spoke mainly Spanish. I like how the author put the Spanish first then translated it into English in parentheses. I think this would be an excellent book for students who are learning about a different language and how it could affect a person when they go to a place that doesn’t have their language everywhere. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Eric spends every winter break with his Grandmother in El Barrio because his parents have to work. This holiday picture book describes Eric’s experience as he helps his Puerto Rican grandmother prepare for Christmas. The author describes in the detail the long list of ingredients his grandmother has to buy to make pasteles, a customary dish. After Eric is asked to visit a New York Museum for a school assignment, he and his Grandmother leave El Barrio and the comfort of their own neighborhood to discover an amazing painting that neither of them will ever forget. Vasquez does an artful job integrating Puerto Rican culture and Spanish phrases throughout the text. Through Eric’s story, the reader understands the special relationship that Eric and his grandmother have and her willingness to try something new for her grandson. The life like and detailed illustrations add to the realistic feel of this picture book. Grandma’s Gift would be an outstanding read aloud for young readers studying holiday traditions, Puerto Rican customs, or family relationships.
Grandma's Gift won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner in 2011.
Velasquez, E. (2010). Grandma's gift. New York, NY: Walker.
Belpre’ Illustrator Award/2011 ALSC Notable Children’s Book List
In this endearing story, the author, Eric Velasquez, describes a time when he spent Christmas at his grandmothers. During the holidays, he had a assignment to write a report on a famous painting that the Metropolitan Museum of Art had just purchased. His grandma promised that if he helped her to make the traditional Puerto Rican Christmas dish, pasteles, she would take him to the museum. While at the museum Eric discovered a painting of Juan de Pareja who was a great painter. Eric was mesmerized because Pareja was Puerto Rican just like his family. Eric's grandma ended up giving him a sketchpad and pencils for Christmas, to start his own journey as an artist. The colorful illustrations helped to tell the story and made it very realistic. This would be a nice book to read aloud to the class when students are discussing different holiday traditions with their families. I liked this book because it was a nice and simple story about a young boy spending time with his grandmother, which I think is so important.
The stories starts with when a school assignment requires Eric and his grandmother to make a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here Eric and his grandmother see many beautiful and amazing painting, but one in specific stood out. The painting of Juan de Pareja from famous painter Diego Velazquez inspired Eric to become a painter himself. This story brings back to a special day spent with his grandmother that changed his life forever. The illustrations brought the story to life, personalities and emotions were captured in each character. The author skillfully incorporates Spanish words and sentences. The combination of illustrations and Spanish words, makes reading this story an experience and journey. This book also demonstrates the beautiful bond between grandmother and child. This story would be great for a for a wide range of ages. Also this book can be great for multiple uses in the classroom, for introducing multiple different subjects.
Classroom activity: Because Juan de Pareja served as Eric role model become a painter himself, this book could be used as a great writing opportunity and have the young students write about the person who inspires them.
Grandma's Gift; Written and Illustrated by: Eric Velasquez; Copyright 2010; 29pg. *Belpre Illustrator Award 2011*
This picture book was a touching story of a boy and his grandmother. Because the boy is younger and in school he knows English, where his Puerto Rican grandmother does not and needs to translate for her. I think this initially shows the close relationship the grandmother and her grandson shares, and how close they hold their culture to them, which shows with the traditional food they make and having their family together for holidays.
This author received the Belpre Award for his illustrations, and I can see why! These illustrations have very intricate detail. I especially love the pages showing how they make the pasteles because it gives step-by-step instruction.
I recommend this book for those who may be doing projects on other cultures, or if you want to include this book in your classroom for a section on another culture. There are many words in here to learn, and it even shows traditions and foods that this culture holds important to them.
-This story depicts a close relationship between a young boy and his grandmother. Christmas is approaching and they are doing their best to prepare and run errands for the holidays. This Puerto Rican family shares their traditions and meals throughout the book.
-This book could be read aloud to a group of children between first and third grade. -The different cultures and traditions that are shared during this story could be new and exciting to students. While discussing diversity, a lesson could be made to learn different traditions. The teacher could bring in the necessary ingredients for the Puerto Rican dish and make it with the students. The teacher could then bring out a map and show students where Puerto Rico was, incorporating geography. Also, asking the students to share what their families traditions are around the holiday would be a good idea as well.
-The illustrations in this book were very nicely done and depicted every aspect of the story.