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The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems & Stories…

by Naomi Shihab Nye

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1213166,662 (3.67)None
This extraordinary anthology features the work of 64 Mexican writers and artists, among them Octavio Paz, Rodolfo Morales, and Leticia Tarrago, as well as those having their work published in the U.S. for the first time. The 102 poems and stories are presented in the original Spanish and in translation. Full color.… (more)

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In this collection the poems are all about the Mexican culture. The poems have themes pertaining to nature, dreams, education, community, the body, and even Mexican toys.
  mendi009 | Jun 6, 2016 |
5Q, 4P (my VOYA codes). I gave this collection of poetry a 5 for quality as all of the poems flowed smoothly and the images of Mexican paintings really added nicely to the overall presentation of the book. I gave this book a 4 for popularity as I think it would resonate with many teenagers, especially Mexican teens or Mexican-American teens and YAs.

It has been a long time since I have read poetry, and even longer since I used to write poetry, but reading this collection of poems really reminded me how much I love the rhythm and flow of poetry. I had a hard time finding any professional reviews of this book, but one of the reviews I found on goodreads.com said "The poems in this collection use word play and vivid imagery to imagine and explore new elements of the world. Many of the poems feature a number of sensory descriptors that will draw children in and encourage their imagination" I wholeheartedly agree with this review and the poems in this book could be read by children and teens of any age - as everyone will likely find different meanings in the poems. I love that the book was written in both Spanish and English and, in the case of one poem, even written in Tzotzil - which I had never seen written before.

As a Mexican-American myself, I would have loved to have found a book like this when I was a teenager as it speaks to the heart of what Mexico means to me. I think, most beautiful of all, is the introduction written by Naomi Shihab Nye in which she says "Now I live in one of the most Mexican of U.S. cities, in an inner-city neighborhood where no dinner table feels complete without a dish of salsa for gravity, and the soft air hums its double tongue. For some, this may not qualify me to gather writings of a culture not in my blood. I suggest that blood be bigger than what we're born with, that blood keep growing and growing as we live; otherwise how will we become true citizens of the world?"

This book would be a great addition to any collection for teens - especially to bring some diversity to a library collection. Additionally, the fact that the poems are in both Spanish and English would appeal to teens who are ESL students and wishing to expand their learning through some beautiful never-before-published-in-the-U.S. poetry. ( )
  LaPrieta2 | May 10, 2014 |
Summary:
A bilingual gathering of poems and stories from Mexico. Also includes paintings by Mexican artists. Each poem and story is written in Spanish and then is translated into English.

Personal Reaction:
The paintings are interesting and the colors are vibrant, inviting, and colorful. Thought it was neat to see the writings in Spanish and then translated into English. I don't ever recall seeing poems such as these.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Shared writing- I will write a one line rhyme on large chart paper. Students will read aloud using different voices and clap out the words.
2. Shared reading- read a phrase and must be able to identify the rhyming words.
  MissSuzieQ | Apr 22, 2014 |
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This extraordinary anthology features the work of 64 Mexican writers and artists, among them Octavio Paz, Rodolfo Morales, and Leticia Tarrago, as well as those having their work published in the U.S. for the first time. The 102 poems and stories are presented in the original Spanish and in translation. Full color.

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