By Kelli Drummer-Avendano
This summer, imagine taking a road trip with your family through Latin America without having jetlag or, perhaps, without even getting out of bed. It might sound unthinkable, but with the help of a book, travel it’s entirely possible. A book has the ability to transport us to far-away destinations by simply opening up its pages.
The thoughtfully crafted series A lomo de cuento is exceptional in that it entices young readers to explore various Spanish-speaking countries through their oral traditions. Make the journey with your kids or students by reading this series along with them. You’ll visit the fascinating countries of Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico all while learning about their unique geography and culture.
Each book focuses on one of the countries and opens with a selection from their rich oral tradition. For example, you’ll open your adventure to Argentina with the folktale El Coquena, explore the Andean mountains of Peru by reading about El abuelo de la quena, and your excursion to Mexico starts with the Mixteco legend called El pájaro verde. Furthermore, you’ll discover the folktale El güije de la charca while in Cuba and the El huerto de los viejitos through your travels in Puerto Rico. Included in your tour of each country is a beautifully illustrated map and other fun facts and information.
Of course, no trip would be complete without a scrumptious sampling of the cuisine. Create authentic food by following the easy-to-make recipes found in each volume. You and your young reader can transport your tastebuds to each country through just one bite. With the A lomo de cuento series there’s no excuse to not travel this summer. Here are three activities to get you on your way, ¡Buen viaje!
Travel Activity #1
Many folktales and legends attempt to explain a natural phenomenon. Taking inspiration from the traditional stories you read in this series, create your own folktale. Is there a unique animal or environmental landmark you would like to write about? What are the native flora and fauna in your area that would make an interesting story?
Research another country in Latin America you’d like to visit. Make a map similar to the ones found in the A lomo de cuento books. Be sure to indicate the location of important cities and include picture icons that represent cultural emblems, animals, and terrain. Why did you choose this country? What are some of the cities and historical landmarks you would like to visit if you travel there?
Pick two or more recipes from the series to make for your family and friends. Before inviting your guests to taste the dishes, explain their origins but don’t reveal which dish comes from which destination. Explain a little about each country while everyone enjoys the food; you may also want to share the illustrated maps with them. Once your guests have tasted each dish, see if they can correctly guess where the recipes come from.
For more information about this series, visit dostomatillos.com.
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