September 30, 2013
Mis Crismes 1956, Christmas in La Puente, New Mexico, nonfiction
The author writes of her Christmas experience as a seven year old child and describes the young girl’s desire to spend Christmas as she has in past years featuring: city lights, Christmas carols , decorated tree and gifts left by Santa Claus. The author vividly describes a transition in the child’s thinking of what constitutes a wonderful Christmas by participating in Christmas traditions of Northern New Mexico including the encounter with Los Abueletos, serenading by elderly members of the community at each home on New Year’s eve and the warmth of the family during dinner. Living the New Mexico traditions of Christmas changes the young girl’s desires to spend Christmas in the city and to remain in her new found Christmas ways.
The story of a seven old experiencing life in rural New Mexico is presented in an authentic manner and is effective in portraying life by depicting farm life with limited toilet facilities, encounter with an aggressive rooster and the life of Sheppard. The author explains Christmas traditions of city life as conceived in the mind of a seven-year-old girl. The seven-year-old child ‘s experience over a two-week period in the warmth of grandparents’ home with traditions and culture unique to Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The setting and traditions of Parkview are illustrated in such a manner that one can feel the culture and traditions found in that part of the country.
The author translates the story from English to a version of Spanish commonly found in Northern New Mexico and in Southern Colorado. The Spanish of the region is based on Spanish brought by Spaniard settlers of the 1500’s and influenced by: indigenous peoples, English, proximity to Mexico, and geographic isolation resulting from mountainous terrain of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Presentation of Spanish as spoken in Northern New Mexico is accurate and heartwarming for those of us that have been privileged to visit and experience the beauty and culture of Spanish Americans. The author has graciously provided a list of terms common to the Spanish of the region.
For intended audience of grade school children and adults of the region, this book is a must. It describes life as one would experience in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
Review by Ambrose Rodríguez
Assistant Director, Adult Services, Los Angeles County Mental Health, Los Angeles, CA
President of Latino Behavioral Health Institute Los Angeles, CA
CEO and Founder Latino Behavioral Health Institute Los Angeles, CA