Arts & Culture, Book, Celebrations, Hispanic & Latino, Multicultural


By: George Ancona 
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English
ISBN: 0-15-201793-3 (hardcover), 0-15-201792-5 (paperback)


For weeks the people of the town of Olinda in Brazil have been sewing costumes, painting masks, creating giant puppets, and learning dances. They are preparing for carnaval. 

Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, carnaval is a five-day festival of parades, dancing, and singing. But unlike the more commercial Mardi Gras, Olinda’s carnaval still celebrates the traditions and folklore of the people, and of the shared cultures—indigenous, European, and African—that make up Brazil.




  • Commended title by Americas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, 1999


“A vibrant photographic journey that takes the reader through Olinda a city in northeast Brazil. The odyssey begins by highlighting the weeks of preparation leading up to the five day celebration, and follows information about the unique traditions of this region. The prose is superb—scenes and traditions are clearly presented in a language rich with description and imagery. Stunning photographs capture the spirit of the festival with pictures of revelers dressed in a dazzling array of colorful costumes. An excellent introduction in an inviting and visually pleasing format.”
School Library Journal

“The appealing picture-book format and accessible lively text make it suitable for use with younger students as well as older ones investigating the traditions and customs of Brazil for reports. Ancona’s artfully arranged, riotously full-color photographs, often superimposed on one another, fairly dance across the pages, perfectly communicating the noise, crowds, pageantry, color, and riotous fun of the five day festival. A wonderful introduction to a traditional celebration and a good example of fine non-fiction for middle-grade readers.”