I am so excited to welcome my best friend and children’s literary agent, Jen Rofe, to Bump Life today. I think you’ll enjoy her post and she is giving away 2 copies of Samantha Vamos’s book; THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED to 2 lucky readers! Enter the contest at the bottom of the post! And look forward to Jen’s review and a new giveaway every month!
Having a Cuban mother meant this for me when growing up: Loud, fiery conversation in Spanish between family members; sometimes correcting my mother’s funny pronunciation of English words; my mom singing the Spanish version of oldies playing on the car radio; stories about my mother’s life in Havana and how her family fled the country; and food. Always food.
Jars of my abuela’s (grandma’s) homemade black beans in the freezer, which are thick and rich like a stew, not liquid-y like from a can; white rice and a perfectly fried egg for my comfort food, or sometimes in a pinch, or especially when life felt rough; the sweet and oily smell of platanos (fried plantains) that would send me barreling down the stairs and into the kitchen, where I would eat them right off the paper towels that soaked up the oil; watching sugar turn into lightly browned caramel in a pan when my mom would make her flan, the only flan I ever eat because it’s the best I’ve ever had. Then there’s my grandma’s picadillo – made with ground turkey, green olives, and raisins; papas rellenas — fried potato balls with a meat filling; and pastelitos de guayaba – a puff pastry with a sticky guava jelly inside.
It is no wonder then that, as a literary agent for authors of children’s literature, I would come to represent Samantha Vamos, author of the award-winning, bilingual picture book THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED. This joyous and colorful book celebrates Latino culture, the value of community, and food.
Written in the format of The House that Jack Built, THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED tells the story of a young farm girl who, with the help of her animal friends, makes arroz con leche, or rice pudding. The goat helps churn the butter, the donkey plucks the lime from a tree, the hen provides the eggs, and while the ingredients boil and bubble, the farm girl and her friends dance and stir the pot. As the delightful story builds, Vamos cleverly introduces Spanish words by replacing a previous English word, exposing young readers to Spanish vocabulary. Butter becomes mantequilla, sugar becomes azúcar, eggs become huevos, and so on. The back pages even include a recipe for arroz con leche and a glossary of Spanish words. Rafael López’s illustrations are vibrant and accessible, and they earned him the distinguished Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor this year, an award that pays tribute to Latino/Latina authors and illustrators whose work best celebrates the Latino experience in outstanding children’s literature.
Along with the Pura Belpré Honor, THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and is a New York Public Library “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing” (2011) selection.
Today, I’m excited to offer a give-away of Samantha Vamos’ THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED. For the chance to win, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway below. Two winners will be chosen and announced next Wednesday!
For more on Samantha Vamos, and her first book BEFORE YOU WERE HERE, MI AMOR, visit her website at www.samanthavamos.com.
Jen Rofé is a literary agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. You can follow her on Twitter at @jenrofe.