Books

A Latino Santa Claus takes the reigns to deliver toys to Texas-Mexico border children

A Latino Santa Claus takes the reigns to deliver toys to Texas-Mexico border children

LatinaLista — Stories about Santa Claus are always sure to be kid-pleasers. What child doesn't like to hear how Santa Claus and his team of reindeer will battle the clock and blizzards to make children's wishes come true?

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Yet, while these stories always excite the imaginations of children, it's stories about the holiday icon that attempt to create a personal bond with those children who may speak another language, have different family traditions or live in untraditional storybook settings that create a greater sense of awe and belief that Santa is real and will not forget them on December 25.

Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid (Cinco Puntos Press 2008) by South Texas author Xavier Garza takes the traditional tale of Santa Claus and moves him out of the North Pole and down to the Texas-Mexico border. Children learn that Santa not only needs help this year delivering toys but that he hands over the "reins" to his Mexican American primo Pancho.

Adding such elements as a magically transformed mariachi suit, a flying wagon, a golden guitar and a team of luche libre masked burros named Rigo, Jaime, Freddie and Little Joe, Garza turns the tale of Santa delivering toys in a new direction.

What makes this story especially special for a select group of children is how Garza personalizes the story for the children along the border region by specifically naming border towns that sit just on the north side of the Rio Grande River.

An added bonus is that the book is in a bilingual format. While the story can be enjoyed in two languages, it also make a great learning tool for those parents and children who would like to brush up on their Spanish.

In addition to writing the text, Garza is also an accomplished artist and illustrated the story using vibrant colors. From his illustrations, it's easy to see that this Latino storyteller/artist draws his inspiration from familiar sites and memories that combine together into a charming story that should delight children wherever they may live.

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