This oversize anthology, with vibrant and original illustrations, includes poetry from the oral tradition and honors poets from various Spanish-speaking countries or regions.
Each section opens with a poem to the country or region. This is followed with a poem about a poet –as a way of making children aware that poetry is the product of poets which we respect and honor. Selections from the specific poet completes the section. The countries and poets included are:
Puerto Rico is represented by poems by
- Isabel Freire de Matos
México is represented by poems by
- Amado Nervo
Guatemala is represented by poems by
- Humberto Ak’abal
Cuba is represented by poems by
- Dora Alonso
Latinos are celebrated through poems by
- Ernesto Galarza
I like to say that “poetry is the skin of beauty”, “La poesía es la piel de la belleza” and I try to find the words to inspire children to see poetry, feel it, and fall in love with it. When I was growing up in Spain, I attended a school (The Teresianas Sisters) in which during the classes devoted to sewing, drawing and anything else that didn’t require silence, the teacher would ask a student to come in front of the class and read a story, poetry or a play. This, she said, would help the mind to concentrate in a manual work.
Because I had a good voice and I liked to be involved in theatre, I was frequently chosen to be that “reader”. Most of the time I was given the text to read, but sometimes, the techer was so busy (we used to be 45 to 50 students per class) that she would just say: “read what you like” –and so I did. I fell in love with Federico García Lorca, because my father introduced me to his poetry at home, and I used to bring my father’s poetry Anthology to school, in case I had the chance to read from them…which it was the case many times. That book “The 100 Best Poems in Spanish Language” has since travelled with me everywhere, and now, lives on my shelves at home in San Francisco.
Alma Flor Ada and I have published a series of seven anthologies of poetry in Spanish as part of the Cielo abierto Series: Gorrión gorrión, La rama azul, El Verde limón, Dulce es la sal, Nuevo día, Huertos de Coral and Ríos de lava. We are delighted to have included there poetry from the best poets from the Spanish-speaking world.
Recently we have published a series of books of rhymes from the oral tradition in bilingual editions, in order that English speakers can also get to know and enjoy our folklore: ¡Pío Peep! and MuuMoo are collections of rhymes. Merry Navidad is a collection of villancicos or Christmas carols, and Ten Little Puppies/Diez perritos a book inspired on a traditional popular rhyme.
The four poetry anthologies of Gateways to the Sun / Puertas al sol, in parallel editions in English and Spanish are another contribution in the effort to make poetry accessible to all children. The beautiful presentation of these books, where the artistic illustrations are a worthy companion to the poems gives both Alma Flor and myself immense satisfaction.