Abuela’s visits from Mexico are always full of excitement for young Sabrina. She can’t wait to see what’s in her grandmother’s yellow suitcase covered in stickers from all the places she has visited. Opening it is like opening a treasure chest, and this year is no different. Inside are a host of riches: colorful ribbons, a clay whistle shaped like a bird, a drum, and the strong smell of chocolate.
“Abuelita, do you want to play a game? Let’s pretend that I’m a princess,” Sabrina says. “Okay, Sabrina,” Abuela says, “but a Mayan princess should wear a beautiful dress called a huipil.” And she pulls the traditional garment worn by Mayan and Aztec women from her suitcase.
Sabrina has lots of questions about her ancestors. Did Mayan princesses have money? Did they go to school? Did they eat chocolate ice cream? With her grandmother’s help, Sabrina learns all about the cacao tree, which was first cultivated by Mexico’s indigenous tribes. Today, seeds from the cacao tree give us chocolate, but years ago the seeds were so valuable they were used as money. And Moctezuma, the Aztec emperor, liked to eat chocolate poured over bowls of snow brought from the mountains!
Sabrina discovers that “chocolate is perfect for a Mayan princess.” And children ages 4-8 are sure to agree as they curl up with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and this charming bilingual picture book that depicts a loving relationship between grandmother and granddaughter and shares the history and customs of the native peoples of Mexico.