VIVA MEXICO: The Folk Arts

Craftsman use a variety of materials to create images and forms that express the artistry of a people. Stone carvings have decorated the ancient pyramids and the baroque cathedrals. Wood has been carved into utilitarian utensils, carvings, masks and furniture. Metal has been shaped into statues and filigree jewelry. Weaving has produced fabric, hammocks, and rugs. Embroidery decorates clothing. Clay become tiles, pottery and figurines. Straw is woven into utilitarian baskets and toys. And paper becomes skeletons, puppets, and piñatas. 

VIVA MEXICO: The Fiestas

Regional celebrations take various forms. Music, dance, fireworks, bullfights, parades, rodeos, contests, the bird-men, folk plays, historic battles are recreated with costumes and masks. Each town and region proclaims their own Saint’s Days which are celebrated with reenactments of events. Some are somber, others comical and wild, but all are very Mexican. 


Harvest By: George Ancona Publisher: Marshall Cavendish, 2001 Age Level: 9-12 Language: English ISBN: 0-7614-5086-6 BUY THE BOOK Campesinos are migrant farm laborers who come to the Unites States in search of a better life. They come to pick lettuce in California or pears in […]

Cuban Kids

George Ancona first went to Cuba in 1957 when the revolution by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara was already under way. Forty years later he returns to capture on film the ways in which Cuba has changed since his last visit. What results is a timely and remarkable photo-study of the children of Cuba.

Charro: The Mexican Cowboy

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.


The people in the small Colonial town of Olinda, Brazil, prepare for the annual five day festivities of carnival. Then music, dancing, and merrymaking burst out to fill the narrow streets with visitors and townsfolk, young and old alike.

Our Adobe House

After producing the book, Spanish Pioneers of the Southwest, George and Helga Ancona decided to move to New Mexico. After two years they found the land they liked and decided to build a house with traditional adobe walls. The book follows the construction process from blue prints to the finished building.

Fiesta Fireworks

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.

Let’s Dance

If you can speak, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance. All you have to do is kick, step, turn, hop, jump, reach, leap, and wiggle.

Barrio: José’s Neighborhood

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. 

Mayeros: A Yucatec Maya Family

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. 

Make a Piñata

A small simple book with one-line texts beneath the pictures showing George Ancona making a piñata with a boy and girl. Then of course the breaking of the piñata by a group of children who then scramble for the goodies.