Childrens Book Review of Farolitos for Abuelo by Rudolfo Anaya: Sequel to The Farolitos of Christmas

by DerdriuMarriner

Farolitos are little candles anchored in sand-filled bags. They epitomize New Mexico’s traditional Christmas festivties. They honor beloved ancestors in “Farolitos for Abuelo.”

New Mexico holds within the United States of America titles as:
• Fifth biggest state, with 2,085,287 inhabitants estimated for 2013;
• Forty-seventh state, with territorial status officially ending on January 6, 1912;
• Thirty-sixth largest state, with 121,589 square miles (315,194 square kilometers) in area.

It is an enchanting land because of multi-cultural, multi-lingual settlements by:
• English-speakers (of British and German ancestries);
• Native American language-speakers (Apache, Comanche, Jocome, Jano, Navajo, Pueblo, Ute, Zuni);
• Spanish-speakers from Mexico and Spain.

The above-mentioned demographics merge or separate depending upon the rural or urban niche in question. For example, “Farolitos for Abuelo” offers readers aged 6 – 9+ and students first- through fourth-grade onward insights into one of New Mexico’s northernmost counties, Río Arriba.

"Farolitas for Abuelo" is set in San Juan, a census-designated place in southeastern Rio Arriba County, one of New Mexico's northernmost counties:

Truchas Peaks, Rio Arriba and Mora counties, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, northern New Mexico
view from Española, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, north central New Mexico
view from Española, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe counties, north central New Mexico

 

Luz enjoys village life in San Juan. She finds Abuelo (Grandfather) astute, cooperative, and fast about:

  • Getting homework done correctly and timely;
  • Juggling fun and responsibility;
  • Making room for customs, rituals, and traditions, particularly regarding his beloved granddaughter and his Catholic faith.

She gets to become an experienced fisher and expert gardener. She has fun-filled days year-round, indoors and outside. She nevertheless is most particularly a nature-lover of New Mexico’s:

  • Arid land forms;
  • Drought-tolerant edible, ornamental, wild, and woody plants;
  • Refreshing water bodies.

For example, Abuelo knows that Luz likes their springtime visits to the village’s stream. A turn of events in fact makes it automatic for Luz to associate the stream with Abuelo and vice versa.

 

Rio Arriba ("Upper River"), the north central county in which Luz lives in "Farolitos for Abuelo," derives its name from the Rio Grande, which courses from south central Colorado into New Mexico, serving as major water source for Luz's county:

Rio Grande by moonlight, Embudo, a census designated place about 15+ miles (24+ km) northeast of Luz's village of San Juan.
Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico
Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico

 

Abuelo and Luz appreciate the quiet beauty of a spring day spent fishing. But sparkling waters sometimes attract inexperienced swimmers. A young boy comes too close and falls in. Abuelo gets to the boy just in time. As in the tragic storm-drenching of first U.S. President George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799), water-logging nevertheless has its downside, with Abuelo:

  • Catching cold;
  • Getting pneumonia;
  • Perishing.

Luz is sufficiently inspired, loyal, and strong to honor Abuelo’s garden with:

  • Assiduous cultivation throughout summer;
  • Steady harvests in autumn.

But what links Abuelo with winter and vice versa? Luz memorializes Abuelo’s love and support for Catholic-conducted and Hispanic-influenced Christmas festivities by establishing year-end remembrances at the cemetery through:

  • Carols;
  • Lanterns.

 

In "Farolitos for Abuelo," Luz honors her Abuelo's love for Catholic Christmas festivities by visiting his gravesite during the Christmas season and placing farolitos in the cemetery:

cemetery in Truchas, an unincorporated community about 20 miles (32 km) east of Luz's village of San Juan
Truchas, unincorporated community, southeastern Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico
Truchas, unincorporated community, southeastern Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico

Conclusion

 

The story of Grandfather’s lanterns accommodates individual, parental, and pedagogical ventures into:

  • Educational entertainment;
  • Hispanic customs;
  • Literary analysis;
  • Local history;
  • Spanish language-learning.

The 1999-released publication attests to the conscientious commitments of:

  • Rudolfo Alfonso Anaya as storyteller;
  • Disney-Hyperion Books for Children as publisher;
  • Edward Gonzales as illustrator.

The book’s oil paintings in fact bespeak the same origins as those in its 1995-published prequel, The Farolitos of Christmas. They draw upon the real-life looks, movements, and reactions of people in the artist’s personal and professional life. The duet therefore emerges as a grateful prayer of thanks to:

  • Life-time impacts for the book’s expressionist, realist artist;
  • Old-time influences for the story’s narrator;
  • Real-time inspirations for the tale’s owners and readers.

 

In "Farolitos for Abuelo," Luz honors her Abuelo's memory through placement of farolitos during the Christmas season in the cemetery:

Christmas Eve display of paper bag lanterns (farolitos)
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, central New Mexico
Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, central New Mexico

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources. 

 

In "Farolitos for Abuelo," Luz and her family enjoy village life in San Juan, most of whose residents are members of nearby Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, dating from around 1200 AD. ~

Matachines (Spanish: matachín): sword dancers performing religious, ritualistic dances on Christmas Day in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.
southeastern Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico
southeastern Rio Arriba County, north central New Mexico

Sources Consulted

 

Anaya, Rudolfo. 1999. Farolitos for Abuelo. New York, NY: Disney-Hyperion.

Anaya, Rudolfo. 1995. The Farolitos of Christmas. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.

“Anaya, Rudolfo Alfonso.” Notable Biographies. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Available at: http://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-A-Bu-and-Obituaries/Anaya-Rudolfo-Alfonso.html

"Edward Gonzales." Chicano Artist.com. Bernalillo, NM: Edward Gonzales Art Gallery. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Available at: http://chicanoartist.com/edward-gonzales/

"Edward Gonzales Fine Art." Edward Gonzales.com. Bernalillo, NM: Edward Gonzales Art Gallery. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Available at: http://edwardgonzales.com/

“Rudolfo Anaya.” Children’s Literature: Meet Authors & Illustrators. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Available at: http://www.childrenslit.com/childrenslit/mai_anaya_rudolfo.html

“Rudolfo Anaya.” Cinco Puntos Press: Authors. El Paso, Texas. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Available at: http://www.cincopuntos.com/authors_detail.sstg?id=39

 

the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Farolitos for Abuelo by Rudolfo Anaya ~ illustrated by Edward Gonzales

When Luz's beloved grandfather dies, she places luminaria around his grave on Christmas Eve as a way of remembering him.
Christmas stories

Chimayo, New Mexico - Santuario de Chimayó lit up for Christmas: photo by Julien McRoberts ~ Lights and farolitos illuminate the historic Catholic chapel ~

Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas (El Santuario de Chimayó) is in Chimayo, census designated place about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Luz's village of San Juan.
Chimayo, New Mexico, Usa. Santurario De Chimayo Lit Up for Christmas

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 12/06/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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