Charro is the Mexican term for horseman, but for Mexicans a charro is much more than a cowboy. He is a skilled rider of horses, bulls and bucking broncos, true—but he is also an artist with a lariat, a model of gentlemanly dress and behavior, and a living symbol of Mexico’s patriotic past.
We meet Caren whose family makes the fireworks that the town explodes to celebrate their patron saint. At their workshop on the outskirts of town her father, uncle, and grandfather build toritos, bulls that are made of Papier-mâché and painted. Then they are covered with fireworks. Castles of fireworks are built in the town plaza and that night after the procession the fireworks light up the town as rockets are shot into the night sky exploding with color flowers of fire.
José’s neighborhood is the Mission District in San Francisco. The book shows the blending of cultures such as Halloween becoming the Day of the Dead which is celebrated in schools, stores, and homes. It is a community that sings out it’s cultures and histories with murals, festivals. gardens, foods, holidays and birthday parties.
Armando and Gasper live in Teabo, a small town in Yucatan, Mexico. The peninsula is the region where the Maya have lived for four thousand years. The boys live in the traditional thatched roof house with their family; their father, don Victor, doña Satulina, their mother, Leidi, their older sister and Rosa, their baby sister.
In Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, little Alicia Histia follows in the footsteps of her parents and pueblo ancestors. Working alongside her mother she is creates pots and clay animals. She joins her grandmother to make bread that she bakes in an outdoor oven. On feast days she dons her traditional dress and dances behind her mother.
Don Ricardo, or Tío Rico as the children call him, is the piñata maker of a village in southern Mexico. Now seventy-seven years old, Tío Rico has been making elaborate and beautiful piñatas for fifteen years. He brings great joy to children with his magical puppets, masks and piñatas–and of course, he gets invited to nearly all the parties.
Throughout the year in cities and towns and on reservations across the United States and Canada, Native Americans gather to celebrate their heritage and culture. Suits and ties, jeans and tennis shoes give way to breastplates and bustles, leggings and moccasins. In a kaleidoscope of color and movement, men, women, and children step and spin to the driving beat of a drum.
On October 30, people everywhere in Mexico are busy preparing for the three-day fiesta of El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Bakers are baking the traditional pan de muertos, the bread of the dead. Candy makers are making sugar skulls. Children are cutting out cardboard skeletons. Farmers are harvesting marigolds, flowers of the dead. Families are building and decorating alters to honor loved ones who have died.