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Featured books by Pat Mora

Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Pat Mora.

A Birthday Basket for Tía

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Cecily Lang
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Cecilia and her cat, Chica, create a special birthday present for her great-aunt's 90th birthday — a basket filled with things Cecilia and her tía have shared. This affectionate autobiographical story is illustrated with warm colors, suggestive of Mexican American traditions.

A Library for Juana

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Beatriz Vidal
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This picture book biography introduces Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of Mexico's most beloved scholars and poets. At the age of three, Juana promised her sister's teacher that she was "quiet like a turtle" so that she could stay at the school and learn to read. Later, Juana would become a nun and produce poetry that is still learned by children in Mexico today. Handsome, detailed paintings evoke Mexican folk art and tell the story of Juana's life.

A Piñata in a Pine Tree

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In this festive holiday book, Pat Mora blends traditions by setting her own Spanish lyrics to the popular Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Each verse describes a Latino custom, often related to the celebration of Three Kings Day: "On the second day of Christmas my amiga gave to me / dos pastelitos / and a piñata in a pine tree." Vibrant acrylic illustrations of guitarritas, luminarias, and piñatas dance with joy on the colorful pages.

Agua, Agua, Agua

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Jose Ortega
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Crow knows where to find water amid rocks and how to get it even though it's below the reach of his beak. The predictable patterns and repetition of words in this simple retelling of a fable invites participation. Bold illustrations use broad shapes and confident line in strong borders contained in a small format ideal for a new reader or to share on a lap.

Book Fiesta!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Even though there's a special day called Children's Day/Book Day, children and books can be celebrated everyday and in any place as is demonstrated in this vibrant book. Energetic illustrations show a wide range of children and animals playing, reading, and just plain having fun with each other and with books.

Confetti: Poems for Children

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Enrique Sanchez
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Spanish words are incorporated naturally into this bright collection of poems that depict a day's activities in the Southwest. Vivid illustrations complement the verse to evoke the author's Mexican American background.

Delicious Hullabaloo

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Andy Mora
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On a starry night, a group of lizards and their friends gather for music, food, and fun — a delicious hullabaloo! Whether it's the mangos, cerezas dules (sweet cherries), or the sassy salsa, everyone is sure to find a treat that they enjoy in this delightful poem illustrated with colorful, whimsical depictions of a desert setting.

Doña Flor

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Dona Flor has gigantic proportions and unusual skills such as understanding the language of plants. Eventually, her talents are appreciated by the villagers in this attractively illustrated, richly told original tale. Winner of Pura Belpré Award. Also available in Spanish.

Gracias/Thanks

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: John Parra
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From the sun that wakens him to the cricket that serenades him to sleep, a young boy gives thanks for the many kinds of friends who help him throughout the day. Pat Mora's reflection on gratitude is filled with kindness and humor, brought to life by John Parra's heartwarming illustrations. Pat concludes the book with an author's note about the things she for which she feels grateful. Bilingual text.

Let's Eat!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Maribel Suarez
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A Hispanic family's preparation for dinner is presented in easy words in both Spanish and English. Warm illustrations depict an affectionate family enjoying their daily routine. This is the first book in Pat Mora's My Family/Mi Familia series, a four-book collection of easy-read bilingual books.

Listen to the Desert/Oye al desierto

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Francisco Mora
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Meet desert animals and hear the sounds they make, presented both in English and Spanish. Repetition is used to highlight the similarity and subtle differences of sounds and to play with alliteration. Stylized, brightly colored illustrations complement this breezy, lively book.

Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Paula Barragan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Thirteen poems rejoice in Latina women, their diversity, and their roles. This short, illustrated collection celebrates Spanish-speaking countries as well as bilingualism in the United States. Illustrations swirl across each page, combining computer generated and traditional art with energetic results.

Love, Amalia

By: Pat Mora
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Amalia's best friend Martha is moving away, and Amalia is feeling sad and angry. And yet, even when life seems unfair, the loving, wise words of Amalia's abuelita have a way of making everything a little bit brighter. But when another loss racks Amalia's life, nothing makes sense anymore. In her sorrow, will Amalia realize just how special she is, even when the ones she loves are no longer near?

Maria Paints the Hills

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Maria Hesch
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A simple, poetic narrative provides a frame for lush paintings of the New Mexico landscape. A young girl describes her day, what she sees, where she goes and provides a focus for the handsome, well-produced paintings by early 20th century artist, Maria Hesch. Combined, art and text convey the simple pleasures in a child's day.

Pablo's Tree

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Cecily Lang
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Pablo can't wait to visit his abeulito for his birthday. His grandfather decorates Pablo's special tree, planted when he was adopted. Pablo's special tree and its surprises are presented in rich illustrations and gentle text.

Sweet Dreams (My Family/Mi Familia series)

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Maribel Suarez
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

It's bedtime, and Grandma has come to tuck everyone in. One by one, she kisses her grandchildren good-night in a loving refrain that reminds them of all the other friends who are closing their eyes and falling asleep. The soothing text and gentle drawings make this the perfect way to end a busy day. Bilingual text.

The Bakery Lady

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Pablo Torecilla
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Monica enjoys spending time at her grandparents' bakery not only because of sweet treats but because they have a special relationship. The story, told in both Spanish and English, is imbued with details about Mexican traditions.

The Desert Is My Mother

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Daniel Lechón
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl with long, dark hair appreciates the surprisingly lush and colorful desert: "I say feed me,/She serves red prickly pears…" The poetic text in both Spanish and English is placed on different colors on one side of the page; crisp, full-color illustrations appear on the opposing page to celebrate this beautiful setting.

The Rainbow Tulip

By: Pat Mora, Elizabeth Sayles
Illustrated by: Elizabeth Sayles
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stella and her brothers speak Spanish at home but English at school. Being different is both scary and exciting. Stella learns this when she prepares for the school's celebration of May Day. She finds a way to honor her Mexican background by wearing a special skirt that is both alike yet different from the other girls'. Stella, like many children, can take pride in being part of two cultures. (In English sprinkled with Spanish).

Tomás and the Library Lady

By: Pat Mora, Raul Colón
Illustrated by: Raul Colón
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tomás, child of migrant workers, visits the town library to find stories like the ones told by his grandfather. There he meets a librarian who provides him with a cool place, stories and books, and friendship before Tomás and his family move on to the next place. Handsomely illustrated in earth tones, this touching story was inspired by the real life of writer and educator, Tomás Rivera. Also available in Spanish.

Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Barbara Lavallee
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two girls go to a Mexican market to prepare for the celebration of their mother's birthday. As they gather what they need from one to ten, their excitement mounts. The rhyming, bilingual text combines with colorful, highly stylized illustrations to present a treat for eyes and ears.

¡Marimba!: Animales from A to Z

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Doug Cushman
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Find out what the animals in the zoo do once it's closed for the night in this lively, rhyming alphabet book. Jaunty illustrations add humor and meaning to words presented in two languages.

¡Yum! & ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Celebrate the native foods of the Americas — peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more — through haiku poetry and stunning artwork from award-winning illustrator Rafael López.

Interested in wonderful interviews with tween and teen authors? Hop on over to our sister site, AdLit.org, and browse the library.

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