Saturday, December 18, 2010


We love our local library! Sarah puts together a great weekly program that engages preschoolers and keeps them coming back. Now you may be wondering what that has to do with tamales?

On one recent visit we found the wonderful story of Too Many TAMALES by Gary Soto & illustrated by Ed Martinez. This story is about a little girl, Maria, who is proud to help her mother with the tradition of making Christmas tamales. When her mother steps out to answer the phone Maria tries on her mother's diamond ring which falls off in the masa. They get distracted and Maria forgets about the ring in the excitement of the arrival of cousins. You can probably imagine the excitement this caused later that evening!

This story coupled with our new tradition of having books under our Christmas tree until Christmas morning gave me the idea for a fun evening. This Fall a new Mexican take-out restaurant became a wonderful addition to our community and they have tamales! We ordered up a bunch and gathered around the table to eat them.
As expected we heard the routine dinner chant of, "I don't like these!" Expecting this, I also made rice and had a can of black beans to keep with the Mexican theme and round out the meal. Elli wanted a tamales and immediately started munching. Nate was satisfied with his beans and rice until he saw everyone else enjoying tamales. I think he initially wanted one so he could tear off the wrapper like they did in the story! Anyways he tried it and announced that he now likes tamales! Nate and Elli decided that the thin strips of corn husk that were tied around the tamales would make great additions to our eclectic Christmas ornaments and, after washing them, put them on the tree.

Later that evening before bed we all snuggled on the couch, next to the lit Christmas tree, and read Too Many TAMALES again.

This Christmas season we have enjoyed reading about holidays (Hanukkah & Kwanzaa) and customs different from ours as well as reading some of our traditional favorites:
  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
  • Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall
  • Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
  • Favor Johnson, A Christmas Story by Willem Lange
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Jan Brett
Leave a comment! What's on your holiday reading list? Do you incorporate diversity into your holidays? How?

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I'd love to hear about your adventures!