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Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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Home » giveaways, headline

What The Farm Maiden Stirred (Giveaway)

Submitted by on March 1, 2011 – 9:38 am19 Comments

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred

Listen as Maria Reads The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred

My 7-year-old found, sitting on the kitchen table, the new book,The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred. It had just arrived in the mail.

A little haltingly, she read “The Cas-uh-eh-lah…”

“Cazuela, pot,’’ I said. “It’s a new book. Can you read it to me?’’

And she did, with the English words and the Spanish words bouncing off her tongue. Me stopping her a few times to correct her pronunciation of the Spanish. Simple words like tambor and campesino, but words we don’t get to use much. (Maybe because I prefer the words maraca and guajiro, but anyway.)

At the end of the book, she spent time sounding out the glossary of Spanish words.

My bilingual heart filled with pride and joy at her ability to read the Spanish words, and I rejoiced that she would still enjoy a book much simpler than the 500-page fantasy books she’s been reading. (I am not kidding.)

“You know the book we love Before You Were Here, Mi Amor? Well, the same woman wrote this book,’’ I told her.

“I can tell,’’ she said. “I think it is the pictures.’’

Samantha VamosI told Maria there is a different illustrator on The Cazuela, but I believe what she also recognized is the lyrical and simple beauty of Samantha R. Vamos’ books. They sing. Really. They do.

I had the pleasure of recording a free download Mp3 of Before You Were Here and it still is available over at Cody’s Cuentos blog, by the way.

Now, the Cazuela is Vamos’ second book and a take on the classic The House that Jack Built. But instead of a casa, this time they’re making arroz con leche. And everyone is helping: the vaca, the cabra, the pato, and they’re using crema and mantequilla and leche that they got at the mercado.

It all builds to a festive gathering, illustrated by the talented Rafael Lopez in a desert palette punctuated with gloriously vivid colors. Lopez designed the brand new U.S. postal stamps featuring Latin music legends on sale now.

The book is delightful, made even more so by the inclusion of a recipe for traditional arroz con leche (rice pudding), which now my girl wants to make.

Vamos, who is not of Latin background, somehow manages to capture the energy and joy of our culture. As the owner of her two books, I feel they’re necessary additions in homes like mine, especially — where we are trying to instill pride and teach customs that are not of the majority, where we are hungry to showcase the color and customs of our culture.

And, seriously, no matter what your family background, The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred is simply delicious. Watch the book trailer video for a taste.

For more about the book visit the publisher’s site, or Vamos’ site.


To enter to win a signed copy of The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred, leave a comment here about your favorite Spanish childhood story, or tell us why you want this book.

You also can learn more about the book, its author and illustrator at the four other sites listed below during this week’s Virtual Book Tour for The Cazuela. If you leave a comment on the other sites, you up your winning chances. Ex: five blogs, five comments, five chances.

Monday, February 28th – The Latin Baby Book Club
Wednesday, March 2nd – La Bloga
Thursday, March 3rd – Mama Latina Tips
Friday, March 4th – Spanglish Baby

Contest ends Sunday, March 6. The winners will be chosen at random and notified via email.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book.

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