This blog is a continuation of a class assignment for the TWU course 5603, Literature for Children and Young Adults. Subsequent entries are for TWU course 5653, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. The new entries are for TWU course 5663, Poetry for Children and Young Adults.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yum! MmMm! Que Rico!

Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué rico!
America’s Sproutings
Haiku by Pat Mora
Pictures by Rafael López

cover image retrieved 10/11/12 from

Mora, Pat, and Rafael Lopez. Yum ! MmMm ! Que'rico ! Americas' Sprouting. New York: Lee & Low Books, Inc, 2007.  ISBN 978-1584302711

A menagerie of foods native to the Americas parades through the pages of this engaging book of poetry.  Well-known natives, such as pumpkin, corn and tomatoes, are each featured in a haiku connecting them lyrically to their roots. Foods not as well-known as original to the Americas also make their way on to the pages of this book, such as blueberries and pecans. Each haiku extols a certain feature of the food item, and is accompanied by the delightful illustrations of Rafael López. Each food highlighted also has a brief history of the discovery and uses of it by natives to the Americas. 

Critical Analysis
This collection of haiku about foods native to the Americas is both descriptively and visually appealing. Ms. Mora takes great care to select just the right words to convey the essence of the food she describes in just seventeen syllables. The haiku Ms. Mora about each food is captivating in its simplicity; each poem zeros in on a particular quality that is readily relatable for readers.

Not only does this collection of poetry capture the spirit of the food item, but a succinct history of how that food relates to Hispanic/Latino cultural history is included. The short histories pinpoint where on the American continents the food is thought to have been first used, how it was used by early inhabitants, and connections to current uses of the food. Readers are provided with real-world connections that make this book so much more than fanciful poetry.

Throughout both the historical synopsis on each page and the poetry itself, tastes of Spanish vocabulary flavor the writing. Context clues, illustrations, and direct definitions help the reader understand possibly unfamiliar words. From the opening line of the haiku “Pumpkin”, “Under round luna”, to the historical explanation of the pumpkin, which includes, “The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word pepon, which means ‘large melon’,” the reader is submersed in a interlinguistic feast.  Ms. Mora tells the reader in her author’s note that she loves variety, and readers have the advantage of a smorgasbord of language and cultural tidbits in Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico!.

Rafael López provides illustrations rich in detail and allure. Full-page illustrations are both fanciful and relevant. For instance, on the Chocolate page, a young girl with soft caramel skin savors a chocolate chip cookie, with chocolate dripping down her chin, while children in the background with varying darker skin tones chase after delectable chocolate desserts floating on clouds. The variety of skin tones reflects the diverse population that has roots in the Hispanic/Latino culture. Mr. López captures many details characteristic of Hispanics: clothing, hairstyles, familial relationships, and activities appear throughout the book. All of these enhance the poetry, careful to convey the importance of Hispanic heritage while enriching the text.

Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico! is a wonderful representation of Hispanic history and culture, presented in the context of foods readers will relate to. I would recommend it to readers of any age who are interested in learning more about food history, interlingual poetry, or Hispanic cultural heritage.

Book Reviews
Julie Cummins (Booklist, Dec. 1, 2007 (Vol. 104, No. 7))
Starred Review* This inventive stew of food haiku celebrates the indigenous foods of the Americas. Each of the 13 poems appears on a gloriously colorful double-page spread, accompanied by a sidebar that presents information about the origin of the food. An author’s note, which addresses lingering scientific debate about the geographical origins of some of the featured foods, also includes a warm celebration of diversity.

Ruie Chehak (Library Media Connection, February 2008)
If you love food, this book will appeal to you. Pat Mora offers a sumptuous feast of Native American foods in haiku, a seventeen-syllable poem written with 3 lines in a 5-7-5 syllable format. With the sparkling words and the alluring illustrations, the reader will crave something to eat. Mora has captured just the right combination of fun, flavor, and information. This is sure to be a hit with almost every reader. Teachers and media specialists will love having this book in their collections. Recommended.

Awards; Best Book Lists
Amérias Award for Children’s Literature, 2008, Consortium of Latin American Programs 

Texas Bluebonnet Award (TBA) Master List, 2008-2009

Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Books, 2008

Great Lakes Great Books Award master list, 2008/2009
Notable Children's Books, 2008 ; ALSC American Library Association; United States
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2008 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Booklist Book Review Stars , Dec. 1, 2007 ; American Library Association; United States
Lasting Connections, Book Links, 2007

·      Students will read samplings of other poems about food, such as those found at , , or Food Hates You, Too and Other Poems by Robert
Weinstock (ISBN  978-1423113911) Students will compose their own food poem, and illustrate it.
·      Students will take one of the haiku in Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico!  and write an original 5 line poem about the same food. Both poems will be shared with the class. Students will compare and contrast the formats, identifying the amount of description in each.
·      Students will write a concrete poem about one of the foods in Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico!  or one of their own favorite foods.
·      Learn more about Pat Mora and Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico!  at her website View webcasts, find curriculum connections, and view a clip of Ms. Mora reading this book!

Social Studies:
·      Students will locate the places listed as the original growth zone of the foods identified in Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico! on a map. Students will create their own map, color coding the foods and creating a corresponding map legend.
·      Students will research other foods that originated in the Americas. Students will create a presentation using PoiwerPoint, Prezi, or another presentation tool to share their findings with the class.
·      Older students (5th grade-middle school) will learn about the Columbian Exchange at Students will write a three paragraph paper detailing how the Columbian Exchange changed the world.

·      Students will create a mosaic depicting their favorite food. Students will use items such as wrapping paper or wallpaper samples, tissue paper, construction paper scraps, or fabric scraps to construct the mosaic.
·      Students will design a placemat of a meal they would like to eat, using the foods mentioned in Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Que rico! . Illustrate and display on bulletin board “Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡ Let’s Eat!”.

Other books by Pat Mora
Young Adult Books Poetry
                Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love (2010)
                My Own True Name: New and Selected Poems for Young Adults (2000)

Children’s Books Rhymes and Poetry
                This Big Sky
                Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day, Book Day/Celebremos el Día de los niños, el Día de los libros (bilingual)
                Confetti: Poems for Children
                Confeti: Poemas para niños (Spanish edition)
                Delicious Hullabaloo: Pachanga deliciosa (bilingual)
                The Desert Is My Mother/El desierto es mi madre(bilingual)
                Join Hands: The Way We Celebrate
                Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers
                ¡Marimba! Animales A-Z
                The Song of St. Francis and the Animals
                Uno, dos, tres: One, Two, Three
                Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America’s Sproutings
                Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! Brotes de las Américas(Spanish edition)

                Abuelos (Spanish edition)
                Agua Agua Agua
                Agua Agua Agua (Spanish edition)
                The Bakery Lady/La señora de la panaderia (bilingual)
                A Birthday Basket for Tía
                Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman With a Great Big Heart
                Doña Flor: Un Cuento de una Mujer Gigante con un Grande Corazón (Spanish edition)
                The Gift of the Poinsettia: El regalo de la flor de nochebuena (bilingual)
                A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Inés
                Una Biblioteca para Juana: El Mundo de Sor Juana Inés (Spanish edition)
                Listen to the Desert: Oye al desierto
                Maria Paints the Hills
                My Family/Mi Familia series: Here Kitty, Kitty/¡Ven gatita, ven! (bilingual)
                My Family/Mi Familia series: Let’s Eat ¡A comer! (bilingual)
                My Family/Mi Familia series: Sweet Dreams ¡Dulces sueños! (bilingual)
                My Family/Mi Familia series: Wiggling Pockets/Los bolsillos saltarines (bilingual)
                The Night the Moon Fell
                La noche que se cayó la luna (Spanish edition)
                Pablo’s Tree
                A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas
                The Race of Toad and Deer
                La carrera del sapo y el venado (Spanish edition)
                The Rainbow Tulip
                Tomás and the Library Lady
                Tomás y la señora de la biblioteca (Spanish edition)

Adult Books Poetry
                Adobe Odes
                Agua Santa/Holy Water
                Aunt Carmen’s Book of Practical Saints

                House of Houses

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