Cover image for A gift for Abuelita : celebrating the Day of the Dead
A gift for Abuelita : celebrating the Day of the Dead
Luenn, Nancy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Flagstaff, AZ : Rising Moon, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) ; color illustrations ; 29 cm
After her beloved grandmother dies, Rosita hopes to be reunited with Abuelita as she prepares a gift to give her when her family celebrates the Day of the Dead.
General Note:
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 21840.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J SPANISH PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Foreign Language

On Order



This affectionate picture book reveals Rosita's sense of loss when her grandmother dies and how the family works together on the Day of the Dead to restore the healing power of remembrance. Full color.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Rosita loves Abuelita because her grandmother always has time for her, teaching her how to make tortillas and how to braid and promising to teach Rosita to make salsa. But then Abuelita dies and goes to heaven with the angels. As the family works on gifts for the Day of the Dead altar that will welcome back their loved ones, Rosita wonders whether her grandmother will return and weaves a long and beautiful braid to show her how much she is missed. When Rosita places the braid across Abuelita's grave on the Day of the Dead, she remembers all that her grandmother had taught her and realizes "that, like the braid, the cord of their love is too strong to be broken." Composed of wet paper pulp cast into shapes, pieced together like a mosaic, and then encrusted with added objects, Chapman's gorgeous illustrations are rich with eye-catching details and dimension, expressive with colors and textures. This beautiful bilingual story about the special relationship between a grandparent and child, and the acceptance of both love and grief, offers gifts of gentle warmth, kind understanding, and healing comfort. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)0873586883Annie Ayres

Publisher's Weekly Review

First-time illustrator Chapman's inventive full-page collagelike tableaux distinguish this otherwise flat bilingual story. Luenn's (Squish! A Wetland Walk) narrative conveys only a glimmer of the relationship between young Rosita and her grandmother, Abuelita, before the woman dies; she relies on the metaphor of braiding to carry readers through the explanation of customs for the Mexican celebration of the dead. The story opens with Abuelita teaching Rosita that "one strand alone can be broken, but when they are woven together, they make a cord that is strong. Like my love for you and your love for me." The tale suffers from a number of awkward transitions and clumsy sentences (e.g., one page begins with "Abuelita scolded the day she discovered Rosita pulling up plants in the garden" and ends with Abuelita's death). The illustrations create the warmth between characters absent from the text; Chapman casts wet paper pulp in molds then glues numerous layers into a wooden frame, giving the compositions the feel of embroidered quilts. Beads, twine and wooden figurines complete these intriguing, complex creations, apt for a story of handcrafted gifts. A brief author's note explains some of the particulars of the Day of the Dead, yet a few phrases will remain a mystery to children (as when Rosita's family buys "bread of the dead" at market). The artwork is the real gift here. Ages 5-8. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A lovingly told story about a child's grappling with death and the redemptive quality of rituals and memories. When Abuelita dies, Rosita is bereft of her most loving companion. As the rest of her family gets ready for the upcoming Day of the Dead, preparing gifts and cooking food to take to the cemetery, the girl wonders what she can make to show her grandmother how much she misses her. Finally, the girl weaves a braid that she fills with memories: "the scent of her grandmother's dress, the pla-pla-pla of her hands on the tortillas, her songs and her scolding...." This bilingual picture book provides a look at a special day celebrated in many Mexican-American communities. The extraordinary, mixed-media illustrations are made out of handmade cast paper. Filled with images touched on in the text and containing real objects, these collages appear to be three-dimensional. With their folk-art look and earthy colors, they reflect the quiet mood of the story.-Selene S. Vasquez, Orange Brook Elementary School, Hollywood, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.