Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day to have fun at parades and celebrate with dances and Mexican food. I learned about it from watching Dora the Explorer. There was an episode where she celebrated Cinco de Mayo and it was a fiesta. I don’t remember much about it. But I do remember reading about it in National Geographic Kids earlier this year. Did you know that more Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo than Mexicans?
For my blog, I wanted to review a book about Cinco de Mayo. It was really hard to find one. We looked at several book stores and none of them had children’s books about it. There were a few online, but we were running out of time and decided to try the library instead. My library had one, but it was checked out. So the librarian helped me find one at the other library.
It is called Juan’s Sweet and Spicy Memory, by Hee Jung Yoon.
The book is about a boy name Juan who is excited for May 5 because that is the day of the big Cinco de Mayo festival. When he goes to town for the celebration, he meets a tourist family and brings them back to his family’s taco restaurant where they tell them a lot about Mexican food and traditions.
I used to think Cinco de Mayo was Mexican Independence Day, but that’s not true. That is actually celebrated on September 16. I learned that Cinco de Mayo is translated to May the 5th. On that day in 1862, the Mexican army defeated the French army in a battle in the town of Puebla. Everyone was so proud of the victory because the Mexican army was so much smaller than the French army. The Mexicans started celebrating the day of the battle every year. It seems like in Mexico Cinco de Mayo is really only celebrated in Puebla, where the battle happened.
In the United States, there are lots of parties and celebrations in lots of different cities. Many people just make it a day to celebrate Mexican culture.
I liked the diversity in Juan’s Sweet and Spicy Memory, but it wasn’t the type of book I would never want to put down. I would recommend it to beginner readers. It is a cute book about meeting new friends and teaching them about a part of Mexican history.
I give this book 3/4 roses.
Thanks for explaining the real history behind Cinco de Mayo! Does your family do anything today to celebrate Mexican heritage?
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No, we didn’t do anything to celebrate other than reading this book and another one about a Mexican dancer that I will review soon. But we do love tacos and other Mexican food and eat them a lot in our house.
Thank you for the history lesson today, Elena. Love your cinco de mayo review.
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Thank you. And thanks for reading!