Picture Book Travelin'

I was floating about Instagram yesterday when I popped onto Ramona Recommends' IG page.  She had the cutest idea for a link party that I HAD to jump in.  Yes I know I teach Middle School Math.  Yes I know I do not have any other pages dedicated to picture books.  Yes I know that is about to change!

I am so excited about this and it validates my collection that I have had for the last 15 years.  EVERY time I go somewhere, or have someone pick me up something from somewhere it is a picture book.  I have seriously been doing it for about 15 years.  I have books from almost all of the continents and about 40 of the 50 states.  My boyfriend thinks I am crazy and I really could care less. 

I am very excited about this link for a few reasons:
1. I am taking 3 vacations this summer
2. I have enough "other" trip books to fill in the weeks.
3. It gives me a reason to re-read these gems!

So for my first link up I am going to talk about this book:
Roughly translated with my decent spanish speaking abilities:
"Child, Guess What This Is"
Written by Fidencio Briceno Chel
Illustrations by Marcelo Jimenez Santos
Coordinated by Jose Antonio Flores Farfan

I got this book on my most recent trip to Rivera Maya region of Mexico.  I spent a day in Tulum. Tulum is the site of a ancient Mayan walled city that was once a major port for Coba.  It was one of the last cities to be built and inhabited by the Mayan and was at its economical peak between the 13th and 15th century.   We spent the day here and then went to snorkel with some sea turtles (that is a story for another day!!!!!!)

Ok back to this amazing book.   For my friends wedding we were "stuck" at an all inclusive resort.  (me-personally I do not know if I would ever do a resort again.  I like to explore the terrane, meet some locals, eat some local food...It was beautiful and fun, but not my thing.) I was really bummed that the gift shop at the resort did not have any books and thought that I was doomed.  We did our "excursion" on the second to the last day we were there.  When we got done walking around the ruins it started to rain pretty hard, so we stopped at this little bar that had a gift shop next to it.  My friend and her new husband were getting this horoscope of their wedding day from the Mayan Calendar made and I went to see what was up.  Here it was.  This book!  I was so happy and did not care that it was 32 American dollars.  I NEEDED THIS BOOK!  There are sooooo many reasons why this was a stellar find <---regardless of my desperation.

In my former life I was an art history minor.  So let me first talk of the illustrations. 

They are beautiful. Jimenez-Santos made all of the original illustrations on huun paper made ​​from banana leaf and beef tongue (ew).  He used the Pre-Hispanic Mayan hammering method of using local flora to create pigments and dyes to hammer into the paper.  Its product looks very similar to oil pastel on parchment paper.  The colors are bright and playful.  There is a definite line from the illustration to the paper.  The paper to me looks a bit like "chip board."  In any case they are absolutely beautiful. 

Now lets talk culture and this book.  One of the neatest things about this book is it is in 5 languages.  Spanish, Mayan, English, Txotxil (a local tongue) and French. Clearly I read the English version but I could see so many of my students who are native Spanish speakers getting very excited to see this in a classroom library someday.  I love that it is in also Txotxil and Mayan.  

I was speaking to our host for the day about the language of the Mayan.  He was saying that many of the new children can speak Mayan but they can not read or write it.  I see that a lot with my ELL students.  They are capable of being fluent in sometimes 3 languages but they can only read and write in English.  I watched one of my students write a letter to her mother in Spanish the other day and there were no dialect markings and she was phonetically spelling the words in English.  It made me a little sad. 

So what is this book about?  It is a book of riddles.  You are supposed to read the clues then guess what the elder is talking about!  How fun is this book! 

"Sent away with nothing to eat, it comes back with its belly replete."

Guess what it is...

Did you guess a bucket!?!?!?!?!?!

So Fun!

Do you know what is even more fun!  I found the PDF version of the book so you can read it too! Click the link below to be whisked away to reading and viewing pleasure!

Then when you are done with that, head on over to 
For more books, books, books!


  1. OMG! I love your post! First off, can you please take a picture of all those books! 15 years!!! So exciting. My parents are going to Europe this summer so I can't wait to see what they bring back :) Thanks for linking up!


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