Written by Jorge Argueta
Illustrated by Domi
Translated by Elisa Amado
In this bilingual cooking poem for young children, Jorge Argueta encourages more creativity and fun in the kitchen as he describes how to make tamalitos from corn masa and cheese, wrapped in cornhusks.
The book opens with an homage to corn — white, yellow, blue, purple, red and black. In Maya mythology the first men and women are even said to be made of corn. It has been an important food for people in Central America for centuries, and one of the most delicious things you can make using corn masa and husks are tamalitos, or little tamales.
In simple poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He once again makes cooking a full sensory experience, including beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn masa … And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.”
Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.
Jorge Argueta is an award-winning author of picture books and poetry for young children. He has won the International Latino Book Award, the Américas Book Award, the NAPPA Gold Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Juveniles. His books have also been named to the Américas Award Commended List, the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List, Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. A native Salvadoran and Pipil Nahua Indian, Jorge spent much of his life in rural El Salvador. He now lives in San Francisco, California.
Domi’s wonderful illustrations appear in many children’s books, including the Napí titles by Antonio Ramírez; The Night the Moon Fell (La noche que se cayó la luna) and The Race of Toad and Deer (La carrera del sapo y el venado) by Pat Mora; The Girl from Chimel, The Honey Jar and The Secret Legacy by Rigoberta Menchú; and The Story of Colors by Zapatista hero Sub-Comandante Marcos. Domi is Mazateca and grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Elisa Amado is a Guatemalan-born author and translator. She has written Barrilete: A Kite for the Day of the Dead / Un barrilete para el Día de los muertos, Cousins (Primas) and Tricycle (El triciclo), which is on the Américas Award Commended List and is a USBBY Outstanding International Book. She is also the author of Why Are You Doing That?. She lives in Toronto.