Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Award-winning bilingual picture book - How Chile Came to New Mexico

No one really likes bland food, but how indeed did the renowned chile plant make its way north from the Valley of the Aztecs to New Mexico?

In "How Chile Came to New Mexico," the second book in his award-winning series, Rudolfo Anaya, considered the dean of Chicano literature, imagines a stirring tale replete with romance, adventure, and the influence of many cultures.

This bilingual picture book opens in a Pueblo village along the Rio Grande with an age-old dilemma: how can Young Eagle convince Sage’s father to let him marry her?

Sage’s father, who is tired of the bland corn and meat his people eat, offers Young Eagle a challenge: if the young brave will make the long, arduous journey south to the land of the Aztecs and return with the famed chile seeds that are said to transform the taste of food, he will permit his marriage to Sage.

Sage places a turquoise necklace around Young Eagle’s neck to protect him, and the young brave’s quest begins. Like all journeys, it contains many significant obstacles, including a whirlpool in a river, a giant vulture, a tumbling boulder, and an immense canyon. Buoyed by his love for Sage, Young Eagle is determined to meet each challenge and return home with the priceless fruit that makes bland food taste so good.

Translated by Nasario García with illustrations by Nicolás Otero, "How Chile Came to New Mexico" has received significant critical acclaim:
• It has been selected/purchased by the State of New Mexico’s Public Education Department for the Governor’s 1st Grade Initiative and has been given to first grade students throughout New Mexico
• It won Best Book Design, Best Bilingual Children’s Picture Book, and Over-All Best Book in the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards
• It received a gold medal from the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the category of Best Multicultural Picture Book

Media contact Paul Rhetts comments, "This book extols the importance of cultures working together. We are all bombarded on a daily basis with news of hate and bias against other religions, cultures, and lifestyles, but ‘How Chile Came to New Mexico’ gives a fresh look at the good that happens when people honor and respect each other’s differences. After all, America is a land of many cultures living together."

The book concludes with a glossary of New Mexico Spanish, standard use Spanish, and English translations.

"The charming, tasty tale, blending adventure and young love, credits the Pueblo people for introducing chile to what is now New Mexico." ~ David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal

Author: Rudolfo Anaya is considered the Father of Chicano Literature. His first book was "Bless Me Ultima," which won countless awards and was recently made into a critically acclaimed movie. The first book in his children’s series, "How Hollyhocks Came to New Mexico," won the Best Book in the New Mexico–Arizona Book Awards. "How Chile Came to New Mexico" has also been nominated, with awards presented in November. Rudy has written books for adults, children, and young adults as well as plays, poetry, and essays. He is a retired professor emeritus from the University of New Mexico and has received the National Medal of Arts among many other awards and honors; he lives in Albuquerque.

How Chile Came to New Mexico; Written by Rudolfo Anaya; Illustrations by Nicolás Otero; Translation by Nasario García; Publisher: Rio Grande Books; Category: Juvenile Fiction, Children’s Picture Books; Hard Cover: 978-1-936744-20-6, $24.95; Availability: Ingram, Baker & Taylor,,,

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