In preparation for the holiday giving, Mother Reader has posted her 105 ways to give a book, and I am very, very inspired with her ideas. A book has always seemed to me a present good enough to be given on its own, but matching a book with something that relates to that particular book's experience, seems to me the ultimate gift. And, so, in preparation for my own holiday giving, and inspired by Mother Reader's ideas, here I am offering some ideas for giving books. These books are among my recent favorites. They are also particular to what I know; my own cultural experience. I would love to hear your own ideas for your favorite books.
1.Give Chavela and the Magic Bubble with some pieces of Mexican bubble gum. I went to my local Mexican produces store and I found a few choices, but I ultimately decided to order online a bag of Chicles Motita, which were the classic gum I chewed when I was a child. They were not easy to find, but here is where you can order them too.
Now, here is a second idea for giving Chavela and the Magic Bubble; pair it with a hand made doll in a blue dress, like the one that is featured and shared by the protagonist of this book. I am a firm believer and practitioner of handmade gifts and here are some places and tutorials to make a doll:
You can learn how to make a cloth and paper clay doll at Jane Desrosier's online group for a yearly fee of $10 (I am a member of this group).
A tutorial for making a felt doll can be found here at The Purl Bee.
Or perhaps even a corn husk doll. The skirt can be dyed blue following these instructions.
2. Me, Frida.
This gorgeous book can be paired with a handmade portfolio and easel. Tutorial at the Giver's Log.
Or with a Frida paper doll by Donal Hendricks.
3. Diego, Bigger than life is one of my favorite books ever.
This poetic exploration of the life and artwork of the Mexican Muralist Diego Rivera can be given along a set of homemade stripey sidewalk chalk like this one:
Once more find the tutorial for this fabulous chunky clacks at the Giver's Log.
4. Playing Loteria/El Juego de la Loteria book can be wrapped together with a Loteria Game set. Then have a family day of playing loteria. A traditional set can be purchased here, and here, as well as a Day of the Dead Loteria here. But you can also make your own loteria. Here is a tutorial from Maison Celeste. In need of inspiration? Look at this Space Loteria by Chepo Peña!
5. P is for Piñata: A Mexican Alphabet, is a book full of riches. Every time I read this book I find myself traveling trough the Mexican landscape of the paintings of John Parra. It is a nostalgic book for me and I plan to give it to people I love so that they themselves discover the tomb of the Mayan king Pakal, and learn how the Aztecs used to drink chocolate cold, bitter, and mixed with flowers. This book is so packed with information that the choices of what to pair it with are endless. But here I am going with a piñata.
From Simply Modern Mom, here are instructions for a beautiful ice cream piñata.
Except making piñatas can prove laborious. Here is a tutorial for an easy star piñata. And here one to make a piñata from a paper bag.
Now, my mother, who worked for many years as an elementary school teacher in Mexico, also knew that piñatas can be dangerous. So here is a safe piñata version like the ones she used to make for her students. This one from Ikatbag is to be pulled by hanging ribbons rather than hit with a stick.
6.The Dreamer. This novel based in the childhood of the poet Pablo Neruda can be given together with a magnetic poetry kit.
Even better, how about pairing it with these poetry kit cookies? I found the instructions at The Decorated Cookie blog.
7. Since seven is my favorite number, here is (for now) my last book to give away. The Lacuna surprised me, delighted me, infuriated me too! It is a book to provoke many emotions. More than anything else I was surprised at how I believed that the author had been there, at every moment of the story, in a country that is mine, with characters that are part of my history, and yet showing me something new and unexpected.
I would give this book to any adult friend (and also to some big kids I know) along with a box of pan dulce.
Freshly backed Mexican pan dulce can be found at your local Mexican bakery or store. But, if you are adventurous enough to make the beard yourself, here is a recipe from Joy the Baker.