Southwest Children's Literature

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Amadito and Spider Woman

Book Review:

Using the all too common childhood occurrence of being teased, this story by Lisa Bear Goldman follows a young boy's reactions to this situation and explores the different ways of dealing with it through the advice of his family.

One day, Amadito comes home from school upset because of the way the other kids at school have been treating him. First, his mother gives him comfort and then her advice. Then his older brother chimes in with his ideas for handling the problem. Next, he tells his father what happened and of course, the father has his own wisdom. None of their well-meaning advice offers any degree of comfort to Amadito. Finally, Nana, his grandmother, takes him out into the desert. Ultimately, her kind words gathered from a lifetime of interacting with people and nature are the very words our young Amadito needs to hear. In order to heal, we must first feel our pain, and then release it.

This book is illustrated by Amado M. Peņa, Jr. He captures the family and the desert landscape with a variety of colors and textures, as well as the harshness and beauty of life in the desert. His rendition of the desert night sky and the animals and nature found there are captivating.

Children of all ages will be familiar with the feelings associated with this common dilemma. Older children will be able to identify the ways in others deal with their emotions as they hear Amadito's family give him advice. This book shows a positive way of dealing with bullies by illustrating an uncommon, but wise, way of acting in when confronted with this situation.

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