Maya’s Blanket/La Manta De Maya
Monica Brown, Author
David Diaz, Illustrator
Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, Fiction, Aug. 15, 2015
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Bilingual, Blanket, Creativity, Recycling, Family traditions and relationships, Love, Latino, Multicultural
Opening: “Little Maya Morales had a special manta that she loved very much. The blanket was blue and green, with purple butterflies that Abuelita had stitched with her own two hands when Maya was just a baby.”
Synopsis: Maya’s grandmother stitches a beautiful blanket for her as a baby and she loves her manta very much. The blanket becomes worn and Maya helps her Abuelita sew a new dress from the fabric. When Maya outgrows the dress, they make a skirt for her to wear. Over time the skirt is repurposed into a shawl, a scarf, and a bookmark. One day Maya loses her bookmark and finds a creative way to keep alive the memory of her beloved manta.
Why I like this book:
Monica Brown’s heartwarming story celebrates family traditions, love, creativity, and recycling. It is bilingual, written in both English and Spanish on double-spread pages. The English text is sprinkled with Spanish words.
Children will delight in the use of repetition each time the blanket is made into another item and will chime along as you read, “So with her own two hands and Abuelita’s help, Maya made her falda (skirt) that was her vestido (dress) that was her manta into a rebozo (shawl) that she loved very much.” They will also have fun predicting what happens next.
This beautiful Latino story is based on a traditional Yiddish folk song about a coat that is remade into something else. In writing the story, Monica Brown honors both her Jewish and Latino heritage in her lyrical and lively storytelling. The ending is so charming, I won’t give it away.
David Diaz’s illustrations are richly textured, colorful, and bold. Each double-page spread conveys an energy that jumps off the pages. Children will enjoy watching Maya’s magical journey unfold through his artwork.
Resources: There is a fun Author’s Note and Glossary of Spanish words in the back pages. Children usually have a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy at home. Ask them share stories about their item. Encourage them to think about how they could reuse or recycle their favorite item into something else. Older children may want to write a story or a poem.