Before National Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close, I want to share a recently published book of poetry that bridges languages and celebrates the power of words to bring joy to all.
Title: Bookjoy Wordjoy
Written By: Pat Mora
Illustrated By: Raul Colón
Publisher/Date: Lee & Low Books Inc./2018
Suitable for Ages: 6-12 (or younger)
Themes/Topics: reading; writing; poetry; multicultural
Books and Me
We belong/ together,/ books and me,/ like toast and jelly/ o queso y tortillas./ Delicious! ¡Delicioso!/ Like flowers and bees,/ birds and trees,/ books and me.
Brief Synopsis: In a series of 14 poems, Mora explores the joys of reading and writing.
Links to Resources:
- Mora defines “bookjoy” as the “fun of reading” in her “Welcome” to Bookjoy Wordjoy; share a book you enjoy with a friend or family member;
- Wordjoy is the “fun of listening to words, combining words, and playing with words – the fun of writing”, Mora explains in the “Welcome”. Think of the words you enjoy hearing or speaking aloud. Try to combine them in a fun, silly or serious poem;
- Mora is a founder of a literacy initiative called “Children’s Day, Book Day, in Spanish, El día de los niños, el día de los libros, [which] is a year-long commitment to celebrating all our children and to motivating them and their families to be readers, essential in our democracy”; check out the Día resources;
- Discover Mora’s tips to create a bookjoy family.
Why I Like this Book:
This is a fun book to read aloud and share in the home, library or classroom. As Mora reveals in an acrostic poem entitled “Wordjoy”, it’s “música” she hears when she reads and writes. And it’s her love of words, reading and writing that fill this book with the joy that leaps from each page.
In a poem entitled “Writing Secrets”, Mora shares tips to encourage children of all ages and abilities to think about their own unique experiences, write and revise what they’ve written, and then share their stories with “family and friends.” In “Jazzy Duet/Dueto de jazz”, she follows each English line with its Spanish translation, which, I think, will help English or Spanish speakers learn the other language and find beauty in it: Play/ Juega/ with sounds./ con sonidos.
Most of the poems appear opposite Colón’s full-page, watercolor and Prismacolor pencil illustrations that capture the exuberant joy of Mora’s poetry.
A Note about Craft:
Bookjoy Wordjoy is a compilation of 14 poems about the joys of reading and writing. I love how the poems differ but follow this theme. As readers and creators, I think it’s important to consider how reading and creating inform each other.
Mora is a Latina of Mexican heritage and Colón was born and lived as a child in Puerto Rico. From Spanish words sprinkled through the poetry to Colón’s inspiration from “the works of some Central American artists, including Rufino Tamayo”, Latinx heritage flows through the pages.
Visit Mora’s website to see more of her many books. Read a recent interview with Colón in Publishers Weekly and see a recent interview with Mora and Colón about Bookjoy Wordjoy.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!
What a wonderful choice! I’m adding this to my list of books to look for. I’ve been teaching poetry once a week as a guest teacher this year (giving back to my community) and this looks like a fabulous book to add.
How wonderful that you are guest teaching poetry! If you’re looking for picture books, this is a wonderful choice & encourages kids (and adults) to write, too.
My own picture book is releasing 2/19/2019 and I’m planning to share my first draft and a few in between after they see the final book to help them understand how many changes writing goes through before it is “done.”
This sounds like such a beautiful book. I like how she combines Spanish with English!
I agree – these poems are beautiful.
Love that title. And that it is bilingual.
It’s a really engaging book that I think would be wonderful in the classroom & library!
I am looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
You’re welcome! It’s a joyful read!
This is the perfect book to highlight during National Hispanic Heritage Month. I’ve already placed it on hold at my library, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the poems in this book alongside a cup of tea and Max, my warm dog.
I read to my dogs, too! Now, to get them to help with the writing;)
Sounds magical and I so admire the art of Colon and the moods he can conjure!
His work is gorgeous! I agree.
Just suggested this title to the San Francisco Public Library. They have other books by Pat Mora, so I don’t know why this one isn’t on their radar. Thanks!
Thank you, Jilanne! I’m shocked that they didn’t have it. I found it in our northern NJ library system.
Especially considering she’s an author that should be on their radar. I’ll check back with them in a couple of days to make sure the request gets processed.
Lovely choice! I haven’t read Mora’s books before. That cover is a charmer.
I’d heard about Bookjoy Wordjoy – and now realize that I really really MUST get a copy into my hands!
Hope you can find it soon! I had trouble at first but my library system finally got it. So glad they did!
Interesting the combination of languages. Love the colourful cover.