Canta el agua en la roca,
el pájaro en la rama
y el poema en la página.
Todo es canción (Everything is Song) gathers some of the most recognized poems by Alma Flor Ada. The 142 pages, in a delightful format, have been illustrated by María Jesús Álvarez. In a 7 pages introduction ¿Qué es poesía? the author explains in clear prose the basic elements of Spanish poetry: Poesía en verso y prosa. El verso libre. La rima. La aliteración. El metro. Imágenes y metáforas. La visión poética are some of the themes explored.
The poems have been grouped by thematic interests: Mi cuerpo y yo [My Body and I], Con los que más quiero [With Those I Love], En la escuela [At School], Para reír y jugar [To Laugh and Play], Aires de la ciudad [City Airs], Somos amigos [We Are Friends], ¡Cuántas delicias! [How Many Delicious Treats], Vuelan y nadan, trepan y saltan [They Fly and Swim, Climb and Jump], Hojas, frutas y corolas [Leaves, Fruits and Petals], Sol y espuma [Sun and Foam], Sueños y fantasías [Dreams and Fanatsy], La fuerza de la palabra [Word Power].
What a joy to see my poems collected this way! Poetry has been a very important part of my life. My grandmother, Dolores Salvador, instilled in me the love for poetry since I was very small. She would recite poems and invite me to recite with her. Some of her favorite has been written by my own grandfather, Medardo Lafuente Rubio, other’s by José Martí. She created her own music for some of Martí’s poems leaving with me the legacy of the particular enjoyment poetry, whether recited or sung, will always bring me. How I hope the children who have access to this book will enjoy the poems it contains and someday discover that they can also write their own poems.
Criticas. School Library Journal
Ada has edited a number of lovely books of traditional rhymes, but Todo es canción (Everything Is Song) gives her a chance to showcase her own poetry. The selections are organized by theme. “For Laughing and Playing” includes traditional rhymes, with tales of cats and mice and hens. “In School” includes counting rhymes, and “My Books” is a gift for librarians everywhere to share with children. There are selections that will encourage movement, and those that can be adapted as fingerplays. “Sun and Foam,” “Dreams and Fantasies,” and “The Power of Words” all contain thoughtful and powerful pieces. The whole is summed up in the final poem, in which Ada celebrates the song in everything around us, and ends by saying, essentially, “Because you have been born, life wants to sing.” This book is to Latino children what Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses is to English-speaking youngsters. It is not just a poetry anthology, but truly a lasting contribution to Latino literature that belongs in every library that serves young Spanish-speakers and their parents.
–Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO