Sunday, September 03, 2006

New: Reissues of two favorites by Mora and Soto

Two of my favorite collections of poetry for young people have been reissued this year in slightly new formats. Pat Mora’s collection, Confeti (with one t), has now been published in Spanish. I loved this picture book collection of poems with its lively orange-hued illustrations when it first appeared 10 years ago. Living in Texas, I look for poetry that has particular relevance here in my backyard and many of Mora’s poems capture life in the southwest with such freshness. In addition, she often naturally integrates Spanish words into her poems which is inviting for Spanish speaking children and instructional for children not fluent in Spanish. In the previous edition of Confetti (with two t’s), she included a glossary of the Spanish words. In this new edition, ALL the poems are in Spanish. It’s a bit of a shock to realize it has taken 10 years for this Spanish edition to emerge, but thank goodness it’s finally here! Same format, same illustrations, but a new translation just right for Spanish speakers and readers.

Gary Soto’s collection, A Fire in My Hands, has also been one that I’ve often promoted widely since its original publication in 1992. I like its rich, descriptive poems as well as the short author insights that are offered at the beginning of each poem. As a former teacher, I’m always looking for books that include information for aspiring writers. Soto does that here. In this new reissue, there are also 10 new poems (with a paragraph on where the idea for each of these poems came from, too), as well as an introduction by Soto and a Q&A interview with Soto at the end. Like Mora, Soto conveys many details about growing up Mexican American, but this time in California. He also uses a handful of Spanish words here and there in his poems which I enjoy. The context provides meaning, and the words provide flavor.

Don’t miss these two old gems made new again!

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