Tag archives for Mexico
BOOK NAME: Esperanza Rising
AUTHOR: Pam Munoz Ryan
I was a little skeptical about this book when they gave it to me to read in school, but once I opened it, I couldn’t put it down. This is a very inspiring and unique book set in the 1930s about a girl named Esperanza. She initially lives in Mexico and through a series of tragic events, goes from riches to rags. This includes her beloved father being killed by bandits hired by Esperanza’s evil uncle, and a terrifying house fire that she almost takes her life. The family is left with a terrible decision to either give into the uncle’s wretched demands or to leave the land they know and love.
Esperanza goes on the road with her mother to America to escape her uncle. Though devastating, this experience helps her appreciate what she still has–family and love. This appreciation is strengthened when she finds herself actually having to work not only for herself, but also for her now ill mother. She settles into a work camp located miles away from the land she knew all her life as home, and soon learns all too well what hard work is really like.
This is a wonderful book that I recommend for kids in middle school. Spanish words, Mexican culture, and traditions are woven in throughout the story, making it even more fun to root for Esperanza. Esperanza means “hope” in Spanish, so the title literally means Hope Rising. The author actually modeled this story around her grandmother’s life, and I enjoyed being able to share in her adventure.
BOOK NAME: Tortilla Sun
AUTHOR: Jennifer Cervantes
Tortured by the mystery of her father’s death, Izzy struggles to live without understanding how her father died. When looking through some boxes she found a baseball with the words, “because…magic” written on it. Determined to find out what the missing words are, she asks her mother who offers no information. All her thoughts simmer in her head until she goes to spend the summer with her grandmother. Slowly, her grandmother opens up, sharing information about her father Izzy never knew. After a few days, she feels she is getting to know her father better than she might have if he was still alive. Izzy continues to look for answers and slowly unravels the mysteries.
Almost all the characters in the book had Spanish names so it took a while to catch on to who was who in the storyline. The characters were fairly predictable–each one had a different background story, but the author wove all the stories together so they all related somehow throughout the book.
Honestly, even though the author obviously put time into sharing details of how each of the characters felt, the overall story line was somewhat dull for me. I didn’t really enjoy this book at all, but I think it may have been written for a younger crowd.
Photograph by Robert L. Curry
Did you know that there are more than 40,000 species of spiders, but only one species is known to be vegetarian? The jumping spider is named Bagheera kiplingi after the character of Bagheera the panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Bagheera kiplingi lives in Mexico and Costa Rica and eats the buds that grow on acacia plants. Ferocious acacia ants live in the acacia’s hollow thorns and defend the plants from intruders such as Bagheera kiplingi. The spider must leap from thorn to thorn to collect its food while avoiding the ants, according to Christopher Meehan the biologist who led the study. “It is utterly surreal to see a spider use such effective hunting strategies to hunt a plant,” he added.
Read more about this plant-loving spider on National Geographic News.
Put together puzzles featuring spiders on National Geographic Kids.
Watch a video of a jumping spider on National Geographic Kids.