12 Nov / Don’t Say a Word, Mamá | No digas nada, Mamá by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia
Two sisters are always so kind, helpful, and nurturing that they make their Mamá feel like she’s “‘the luckiest mother in the whole wide world!'” Rosa grows up to marry and have three children; she lives just down the street from Mamá. Blanca chooses the single life, and lives just up the street from them both.
One year, each sister plants a garden. Of course, each sister plans to share her bounty with the other. In the dark of night, one sister delivers tomatoes to the other, while the other sister does the same. Neither notices the other. Both sisters naturally stop to share with their mother, each asking that Mamá keep the deliveries a secret: “.. it will be a surprise. Don’t say a word, Mamá.'”
When each sister discovers her undiminished bounty in the morning, each decides to share more with Mamá. For awhile, Mamá appreciates all the plump tomatoes, and then later the golden ripe corn. But when she receives an overabundance of chiles, she decides it’s high time to reveal her thoughtful daughters’ secret exchanges. Banging her posole pot one evening, Mamá declares, “‘I promised you both I wouldn’t say a word, but I had to do something … [W]hat was I going to do with all those hot chiles!'” Sharing laughter and goodness, she rejoices once again that she’s “‘the luckiest mama in the whole wide world!'”
Joe Hayes, best known as a storyteller of American Southwest folklore who has sold over a million copies of his books (!), adds to his long list of bilingual titles from Texas boutique publisher, Cinco Puntos Press [” … we specialize in publishing bilingual children’s books. We love bilingual books because they mirror the incredible place where we live”]. Mamá is Hayes’ first collaboration with Mexican artist Esau Andrade Valencia, who works in saturated, rich hues that emphasize and enhance the depth of love, caring, and commitment the sisters have to each other and to their Mamá. His brush presents tomatoes so tantalizing, corn so sweet, and chiles so peppery, as to make the taste buds salivate from memories of a perfect Sinaloan posole! Join Hayes and Valencia for this delicious fare that’s both nourishing for the grumbling belly … and the hungry soul.