cover image Abuela's Weave

Abuela's Weave

Omar S. Castaneda, Omar S. Castaaneda. Lee & Low Books, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-880000-00-7

In the Guatemalan countryside, Esperanza and her abuela --grandmother--work all day, weaving brilliantly colored clothing and tapestries on hand-held, backstrap looms. They plan to sell their goods at an outdoor market during the fiesta, though both are nervous that there will be no buyers. Since Abuela does not want to jeopardize Esperanza's chances of attracting customers (a facial birthmark has led some to believe she is a witch), she pretends not to know her granddaughter on their journey to the city. Setting out her handiwork (a marked contrast to the other vendors' machine-made products), the girl is surprised when crowds gather to admire her vibrant, intricately patterned fabrics. She sells everything and returns home happily--this time proudly sharing a bus seat with Abuela. Born in Guatemala, Castaneda affectingly portrays the loving rapport between a child and her grandmother, as well as the beauty of his homeland's cultural traditions. Sanchez's bright, richly grained acrylic-on-canvas paintings bring dimension to the characters and authenticity to the setting. Fabric-like horizontal borders below each page of text add a comely dimension to this promising debut for both author and illustrator. Ages 3-9. (Mar.) )