Pedro, the Angel of Olvera Street
Olvera Street is the oldest part of the city of Los Angeles, and
contains many historic buildings around a traditional plaza
with a fountain. When Leo Politi wrote Pedro, the Angel of
Olvera Street, he dedicated the story to the children of
Olvera Street, and reading this Caldecott Medal-winning book
takes you into an idyllic world where children play an important
role in local culture.
The story revolves around a little boy with a beautiful voice
who gets to lead the Christmastime procession called La Posada.
Wonderful detail is given about traditional songs and holiday
past times like breaking the pinata. Little Pedro gets his wish
of receiving a beautiful music box.
The illustrations in this book capture the vibrant atmosphere
of Olvera Street, which remains a hub of Mexican-American
culture to this day.
You and your children will also love these other books by Leo
is the story of a little girl who takes her dove to the Blessing of the
Animals ceremony, which is held before Easter on Olvera Street. The soft,
colorful illustrations of this book make for wonderful bedtime story
offers a further celebration of Mexican heritage. This is an extremely
rare book, and my link will take you to a list of used copies you can
purchase through Amazon.com.
Three Stalks of Corn
is one of my all-time favorite Leo Politi books. This book will teach
your children about the essential role corn has played in the history
of the Mexican people, and the fascinating mythical roots behind the
creation of the corn plant. A little girl and her grandmother, her
abuelita, attend a village festival and eat mouthwatering homemade
tortillas and hot chocolate. This endearing story will be one your
children want to read again and again.
As adults, it is our privilege and duty to help our children to develop
a strong appreciation for cultural diversity. Leo Politi spent his life
(1908-1996) creating heartwarming, beautifully illustrated books about
children of many cultures. As a child, I loved these books simply for their
appealing stories and artwork. But as an adult, I can see how Leo Politi's
work helped me to gain a sense of love and respect for people of all
lands. I so hope you will take a look at my short list of books, and
consider sharing such a precious gift with the young people in your life.