This Pura Belpre Illustration Winner is a wonder to behold. López’ illustrations are nothing less than glorious and balance the line between elegance and grace as daintally as Teresa Carreño could play a glissando on the piano.
On a walk with her Grandfather, our young protagonist declares that she is not hungry. Undeterred (as most adults would be at such a declaration), her Grandfather assures her that by the time they reach home, she will have a ravenous appetite.
In this impeccable Spanish Language translation of Engle’s The Flying Girl, we learn the story of Aida de Acosta Breckenridge, an American socialite and the first woman to fly a powered aircraft, solo. De Acosta, of Cuban and Spanish descent, was taught to fly by Alberto Santos-Dumont, known in Brazil, his native country, as the father of aviation.
Guided by the gentle hand of her grandmother Bella comes to realize that accomplishment takes work and perseverance; even Bella’s siblings get in on the lessons!
From her vantage point on the roof, Anita watches the airplanes high overhead, and imagines they are dragons, that she, the princesa, will finally have to face. Anita and her family are leaving the Dominican Republic for a distant land where there will be baths with hot water, regular electricity, and a real dryer. But Anita’s abuela won’t be coming, and Anita will miss her beautiful island terribly. However, Anita is a valiant princesa, who conquers her fears, and meets the fearsome dragons who will fly her to her new life with courage and grace.
On the right, a Christmas tree. Old fashioned bubble lights mostly working, a couple of snowball lights already out, Hallmark ornaments galore. On the left, what can only be termed an eclectic Bethlehem. The nativity scene set up in the front, with an old school New England flower shop, a gasoline station, an observatory and a lighthouse surrounding it.
Asked by friends at the playground, at dance class, at dinner…she responds, “I’m from here, from today, same as everyone else.” That answer doesn’t seem to suffice so she asks her Abuelo and his answer is absolutely priceless.
It’s been well over 30 years since I experienced a Thanksgiving like that; a Thanksgiving with a large extended family, surrounded by those with whom I share a common ancestry, but really so much more. Whether through blood or marriage, those familial bonds, made often through strife laced with love (and not the other way around), are indelible. They are what put the “crazy,” in Crazy Glue. Yes, we have framily, but even those of us who roll our eyes at going home for the holidays, sometimes wish we had a home to go home to.
I want you to stop for a moment and imagine being a parent telling your eight-year-old that you’re about to send him on a journey that will take him to another country, mostly by foot, across hundreds of miles, across all sorts of terrains, in all sorts of weather, facing untold dangers, in search of a better life. Now imagine that you’re the eight-year-old.