Click to order now!La Mariposa

LaMariposaBy Francisco Jimenez

Francisco sits in first grade without understanding a word in this English-only school. His has such a strong desire to learn, he begins to focus on a caterpillar in the jar next to his desk: How does it transform into a butterfly?

Based on the author’s actual experience as the child of illegal migrant farm workers in central California, Francisco Jimenez portrays the challenge still faced by many children today. In an interview found in its entirety in The Complete Guide to Service Learning, Francisco states, “The inspiration for this book comes from the community of my childhood and my teachers. When I think of the migrant families that I grew up with, I recall how hard they worked, and how they carried courage and hope.

“In writing the children’s book La Mariposa, I retold the story ‘Inside Out’ found in a

longer book I wrote, The Circuit. I realized that not knowing a word of English and the frustration and alienation I felt might be common to many children who enter our school system. The responses I receive from teachers and children indicate I was right.

“In La Mariposa, the child is prohibited from speaking Spanish. When the teacher has Francisco open the jar and the butterfly emerges, Francisco says, ‘Hermosa,’ in a low voice. The teacher translates, saying, ‘How beautiful.’ In that moment I used my imagination so the teacher would value the child’s language; both are transformed. The child becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the student.”

A thoughtful story about tolerance and the love of learning.

Service Learning Ideas: Literacy, Immigrants  Developing an understanding of the needs of people who enter a culture with a different dominant language helps us live our everyday lives. And, with this understanding, we can learn in partnership how to mitigate challenges and support the love of learning. A helpful book when involved in tutoring or developing language based programs and partnering with immigrant populations.

Picture Book, All Ages

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