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Making tamales a family tradition that lives on and on

LatinaLista — One longstanding tradition among Mexican-American families at Christmastime is making tamales. Usually a day-long event, each member of the family, from the youngest to the oldest, is assigned a special job to help make the process go faster and more fun.

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Growing Up with Tamales, by Gwendolyn Zepeda is a bilingual tale published through Piñata Books and republished through Lorito Books. It is about one little girl’s love of making tamales, if it weren’t for one thing.

Six-year-old Ana loves helping her mother and big sister Lidia make tamales every Christmas. The only problem is that Ana wishes she was Lidia’s age because it seems to Ana that Lidia always gets the better jobs.

As Ana imagines herself being as old as Lidia, she realizes that Lidia will always be older and have more responsibility when it comes to making tamales — until they reach a certain age. Then things change and Ana has her own idea of how tamales will be made and who will have which jobs.

Growing Up with Tamales is a charming story that illustrates how a family tradition, like making tamales, lives on with family members growing either into new duties or making new traditions of their own.

A nice bonus feature of the book is the included CD. Denver stage actress Gabriela Cavallero’s voice brings the rhythmic prose to life with her reading in English and Spanish.

“This book features bilingual tracks with page turn signals for emerging readers and without page turn signals for independent readers. It also includes English-only and Spanish-only tracks for 2nd language learners.”


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