“My name is Earth / but people call me Little Earth.” In the fourth installment of their award-winning Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series of trilingual picture books about the natural world, Jorge Argueta and Felipe Ugalde Alcántara collaborate again to introduce Mother Earth, who is “full of all the colors / and all the flavors.”
She is the mother of water, fire, wind and earth. Some call her planet, others nature or creation. “I am Mother Earth / a globe spinning around the sun, / creating sunrises, sunsets and nights.” She is the song of all the plants and animals, she is “dew, snow, heat,” she is life.
A Junior Library Guild selection, this book about Mother Earth reflects Argueta’s indigenous roots and his appreciation for the natural world. Felipe Ugalde Alcántara’s stunning illustrations depict streams, mountains and wildlife in their habitat. Containing the English and Spanish text on each page, the entire poem appears at the end in Nahuat, the language of Argueta’s Pipil-Nahua ancestors. This is an excellent choice to encourage children to write their own poems about nature and to begin conversations about the interconnected web of life.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
“As in the author’s previous three books in this series, an artful resonance flows through the verse. The message is clear: Respect for all life is imperative for our continued existence. Readers will be left stirred; educators and caregivers will find plenty of opportunities to spark discussion about the natural world. A welcome invitation to ponder the totality of nature—and our place within it.”
“Argueta’s playful trilingual homage to fire spans its incarnation from spark to lava flow. Full-page blazes of oranges, yellows, reds and indigo underscore the simple narrative of the poem. A gentle exploration of culture and nature.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Fuego, Fuegito / Fire, Little Fire
“VERDICT: With simple verse and vibrant illustrations, this picture book celebrates the power of fire and the author’s Pibil Nahua Indian heritage.”
—School Library Journal on Fuego, Fuegito / Fire, Little Fire
“Fire may not receive as much devoted literature as other elements, but Argueta concisely depicts its potential, front its more dangerous manifestations like volcanic eruptions and wildfires to its more familiar presence in our kitchens and campfires.”
—Booklist on Fuego, Fuegito / Fire, Little Fire
“A lyrical journey through the water cycle, sure to inspire the imaginations of young readers and listeners.”
—School Library Journal (starred review) on Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water
“With tenderness and humanity, this bilingual book describes the hopes, fears, and uncertainties of the thousands of displaced children that arrive every year at the southern border of the United States . . . Poignant, heartbreaking, and sadly, timely.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds
—Booklist (starred review) on Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds
Recipient, 2022 Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature
Jorge Argueta, a Pipil Nahua Indian from El Salvador and the 2023 Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, is a prize-winning poet and author of more than twenty children’s picture books. They include Una película en mi almohada / A Movie in My Pillow (Children’s Book Press, 2001) and Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds (Groundwood Books, 2016), which won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and was named to USBBY’s Outstanding International Book List, the ALA Notable Children’s Books and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices. His Madre Tierra / Mother Earth series celebrates the natural world and is made up of four installments: Tierra, Tierrita / Earth, Little Earth (Piñata Books, 2023), winner of the Salinas de Alba Award for Latino Children’s Literature; Viento, Vientito / Wind, Little Wind (Piñata Books, 2022), winner of the Premio Campoy-Ada given by the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española; Fuego, Fueguito / Fire, Little Fire (Piñata Books, 2019); and Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water (Piñata Books, 2017), winner of the inaugural Campoy-Ada Award in Children’s Poetry. His poetry collection, En carne propia: Memoria poética / Flesh Wounds: A Poetic Memoir (Arte Público Press, 2017), focuses on his experiences with civil war and living in exile. The California Association for Bilingual Education honored him with its Courage to Act Award. In addition, Jorge Argueta is the founder of The International Children’s Poetry Festival Manyula and The Library of Dreams, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy in rural and metropolitan areas of El Salvador. Jorge divides his time between San Francisco, California, and El Salvador.
FELIPE UGALDE ALCANTARA, a Mexico City native, illustrated Viento, Vientito / Wind, Little Wind (Piñata Books, 2022); Fuego, Fueguito / Fire, Little Fire (Piñata Books, 2019); Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water (Piñata Books, 2017); Mother Fox and Mr. Coyote / Mamá Zorra y Don Coyote (Piñata Books, 2004); and Little Crow to the Rescue / El Cuervito al rescate (Piñata Books, 2005).