CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 29. . . .March 30, 2012
Latin Americans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations. (We Thought of It).
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2012.
48 pp., pbk. & hc., $11.95 (pbk.), $21.95 (hc.)
ISBN 978-1-55451-376-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-377-2 (hc.).
Inventions-Latin America-History-Juvenile literature.
Latin America-Intellectual life-Juvenile literature.
Latin America-Civilization-Juvenile literature.
Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.
Review by Sherry Faller.
There was a time when Latin America was the only place to find maize, also known as corn. Some experts say that farmers first began to grow it more than 5000 years ago in Mexico. Maize was already an important food in Latin America when the Spanish arrived. They took maize back with them to Spain and soon farmers across Europe were growing it. Eventually, maize became an important crop around the world. It provides food for farm animals as well as humans, and it grows well in many different places. Maize kernels are ground into a flour that is used to make many popular Latin American foods, such as tortillas, tamales, and corn chips.
The fifth book in the 'We Thought of It' series, Latin Americans Thought of It is of the same high caliber and interest level as the preceding titles. Eva Salinas, a Canadian with Chilean ancestry, lends a personal touch to the writing that demonstrates her love for her rich heritage. Students studying the ancient Aztecs or Mayans or even the modern countries of the region will find this book a exciting and useful resource. The book is organized by topics, such a clothing, farming, architecture, and communication.
The pages explode with colour. Photographs illustrate the information, showing the clothing, art, musical instruments and foods of the culture. Architecture that has survived centuries and earthquakes proves the excellent engineering of the past peoples. Everyday inventions, like hammocks, cigars and rubber-soled shoes, are attributed to the Latin Americans. Did you know that hot chocolate originated in the time of the Mayans, and they even used cocoa beans as money? Tomatoes also originated high in the Andes mountains. Piñatas and salsa dancing are explained as well as a form of soccer called Futsal.
Latin Americans Thought of It has a table of contents and an extensive index. A glossary is not needed because Spanish words are explained in context and often include a pronunciation guide. Further reading sources are listed, and the author's biography is of interest in that Eva Salinas was in attendance at the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners.
Latin Americans Thought of It is an excellent resource and is a must-buy for any school library.
Sherry Faller is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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