Monday, September 21, 2009

Books in the family--and how everybody leaves me behind

When my mother came to visit a few winters ago, I gave her a list of request: no sweeping my house, no doing my dishes, no trying to pick up my mess, to cook only if she wanted, and to, please, please, write down her childhood memories.
Against my request, she did all of the above.
With the diligence of an insect my mother sat at my computer and wrote down a hundred and so pages of the things she remember about growing up. At the end of her visit, and having only recounted half of her life, she wrapped up her writing with a "to be continued" and handed me her witting.

It took me about a year to revise and proof read, format the text and design a cover in my free time, until finally by next Christmas I was able to surprise her with copies of her printed memoir.

Earlier this year I received a notice from the printing house that informed me that now anyone can find it in Amazon, making my mother the first person in my family to released a book this year.

My mother visited us for a few weeks this summer too, and I saw it with my own eyes: she is nearly done writing her second installment.

Then there is my sister, Magaly. She is the youngest of us three sisters; I am the oldest. But very early Magaly grew taller than me, developed feet larger than mine, swam faster than I could attempt, could hold her breath longer too, and when she began drawing at an early age, everybody I knew, including me, were left in the dust.

So, of course, she has not one but two books published this year:

Here is an excerpt from a review of What Can You do With A Paleta, a book written by Carmen Tafolla:

“The lyrical prose is equally beautiful in both languages. Morales uses broad, curvy brushstrokes of contrasting bright and fruity colors to capture the look of Mexican folk art. The characters’ faces are round with slightly slanted eyes and rendered in golden shades of burnt sienna...this joyful celebration of barrio life is a must-have for children’s collections.”
--School Libray Journal

Magaly's colaboration with Pat Mora resulted in her second nook this year, A Piñata In A Pine Tree.

Here are some words from Kirkus review:

"Mora blends Latino holiday traditions of her native Southwest with some from Mexico. The gifts are ethnic dishes like pastelitos, ornaments like paper lanterns-luminarias-and spinning tops-trompos-and Mexican folk-art-styled figures. Morales's acrylic paintings complement the song, showing, in the background, family members engaged in activities that are revealed on the last page along with the identity of the amiga-a new little sister."

Just like I saw my mother's, I also witnessed these books of my sister develop. While Magaly worked on her illustrations, we constantly talked and looked at what she was creating.
Ever since then, I been trying to make my feet grow, and I have also been practicing holding my breath longer, because, you see, my family is leaving me behind and I don't know what else to do...

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