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16 December 2011

Seasons Readings: The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola

For many families in Mexico, Guatemala, the American Southwest and other parts of the US, the tradition of Las Posadas is celebrated every December 16-24th.  Las Posadas is a tradition with origins in Spain, but has been a tradition in Mexico for more than 400 years.  It is a 9 day processional celebrating the journey of Mary and Joseph and their struggle to find lodging.  Traditionally, families in a neighborhood schedule a night to host the procession, acting as the innkeepers, the other neighborhood children and adults come in a procession, singing songs and carrying candles.  They ask for "lodging" for the night, but are denied, and the "weary" travelers head to the site of the party for the night where they are "recognized" and allowed to enter.  Once there, they say prayers, sing Christmas carols, break pinatas, and have a feast.  The doors for lodging are only opened on the last night of Las Posadas.  For more information, you can click here

All of my students are Hispanic and many celebrate Las Posadas here in Virginia, I decided to read and review The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola for my Seasons Readings for today.
 Here is the summary from Goodreads:
Sister Angie has organized the celebration of Las Posadas for many years, in which the people of Santa Fe re-enact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter on the night Jesus was born. This year's performance promises to be very special. Sister Angie's niece Lupe and Lupe's husband, Roberto, are to play the parts of Mary and Joseph. But on the night of the celebration, a snowstorm hits and Lupe and Roberto's car breaks down on their way into town. And to make matters worse, Sister Angie is home sick with the flu. It seems that only a miracle will be able to save Las Posadas.

As with any Tomie dePaola book, the story tugs at your heartstrings and the illustrations add depth and emotion to his story.  You can't have one without the other, and with Tomie dePaola, the illustrations tell as much of a story as the actual words.

The story itself was simple, yet you could fell Sister Angie's love of the celebration (and town), her sadness at being sick, her pride in Lupe and Roberto, and her faith.  Yes, once I read that Lupe and Roberto's car broke down on the way and mysterious strangers showed up to help in the procession, I kind of figured out the story, but it was still sweet.  

Make sure you check out the author's note for more information about Las Posadas, especially how its celebrated in Santa Fe (one of my favorite places!)
Don't forget to head over to the Seasons Readings page and check out the other reviews/books and add your own to the linky!

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