Where Wonder Grows
Where Wonder Grows
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Annotation: A children's picture book about a grandmother bonding with her granddaughters as she teaches them how much they can learn from nature just by being curious.
Catalog Number: #218593
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-947627-46-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-947627-46-8
Dewey: E
Language: English
ALA Booklist
González's poetic, eloquent writing is successfully complemented by Garcia's stunning paintings, full of color and energy, in this book about a grandmother sharing her love and affinity for nature with the youngest generation in her family. Grandma tells the children stories in her garden, but, rather than focus on the greenery and plant growth, she introduces them to the mineral and crystal wonders of the earth, speaking to these elements' impact on their family's ancestors and Indigenous culture as a whole. Through the grandmother's voice, González ties together earthen and ethereal elements with these natural wonders: volcanic rocks (fire), crystals (earth), shells (water), and meteorites (air), inspiring a sense of curiosity and awe in her listeners. Readers will revel in Garcia's nearly psychedelic application of color and emotion in paintings inspired by and depicting the author's own family. From a thoughtful author's note to the readers' guide at the end of the book, this author-illustrator team offers their readers a thought-provoking, mind-expanding piece of art that shows gratitude to our planet.
Publishers Weekly
Previous collaborators González and Garcia (All Around Us) follow three girls into their grandmother-s garden, -the place/ where wonder grows/ and stories blossom.- In Garcia-s swirling spreads, they gather on a blanket around a cache of -magic rocks/ and relics from nature.- The rocks are not just objects, Grandmother teaches them: -They are beings... alive with wisdom.- Asked to tell about -the ones with a healing touch,- she offers stories about curanderas who minister using crystals. Garcia paints one of the girls holding a transparent crystal framed by layers-a warm, shining core covered with strata of earth and water. They examine coral-the sea-s rocklike substance-and talk about the power of water to wear rock down. -So when life feels too hard, just go with the... FLOW!- the girls chorus. Finally, Grandmother shows them meteorites, -who flew.../ like freed light/ dancing on air.- Lyrical words by González (a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation) emphasize the intergenerational ties that bind the characters and show Indigenous knowledge in the process of being passed down. Garcia-s portraits center affectionate familial gestures alongside mural-like views of sunset skies and evocative representations of fire, earth, air, and water. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)

Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Celebrate the wondrous stories that exist all around thanks to the marvels stored in rocks.A group of dreamers follows Grandma to her special garden. They spread a plush blanket upon the ground and gather the “magic rocks and relics from nature.” The young dreamers sit and wonder as Grandma holds the rocks in her hands, calling on the fiery wisdom of the ancestors molded into testaments of time. What about “the ones with super powers?” ask the dreamers. Grandma takes a crystal—shot through with shades of plum and streaks of cerulean—and speaks of curanderas who harness the healing powers of “quartz of all kinds.” Next, consider the might of coral reefs and shells, deep in the depths where water smooths even the most stubborn rock. Grandma and her dreamers then ponder the meteorites in their hands, envisioning the arcs that these starry fragments undertook to arrive on Earth. Expanding on the infinite flights of fancy unearthed in All Around Us (2017), González (Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation) and Garcia’s latest enchanting collaboration plumbs deeper into the natural curiosities that shape readers’ earthly realities. It’s a sweet summoning emboldened by González’s starry-eyed text, an assortment of phrases and statements that gesture toward the promise found in young readers everywhere. Garcia’s muralist background lends itself here to striking, gorgeous artwork that embodies a whimsical sense of cosmic compassion. Overall, the art showcased in this hopeful manifesto soars.Simply dazzling. (rock facts) (Picture book. 5-10)
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Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (9/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2

Simply stunning--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review / Lyrical--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review A children's picture book about a grandmother bonding with her granddaughters as she teaches them how much they can learn from nature just by being curious. Grandma knows that there is wondrous knowledge to be found everywhere you can think to look. She takes her girls to their special garden, and asks them to look over their collection of rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites to see what marvels they have to show. "They were here long before us and know so much more about our world than we ever will," Grandma says. So they are called grandfathers. By taking a close look with an open mind, they see the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the oceans that housed their shells and shapes its environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to them. Gathered together, Grandma and the girls let their surroundings spark their imaginations. This is a wonderful book to foster a loving intergenerational family bond. With its dazzling illustrations and poetic text, it's also the perfect book to encourage the curiosity of little ones and cultivate an enthusiastic approach to learning. Xelena González is a storyteller, screenwriter, poet, and author of ALL AROUND US, winner of multiple accolades, including the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, an American Indian Youth Literature Honor Award, and an International Latino Book Award. Her storytelling skills were honed as a children's librarian in San Antonio and in Guangzhou, China. As a visiting author, she has introduced her method of "tai chi storytelling" to more than 60 schools and libraries around the country. In February 2021, Cinco Puntos Press will release WHERE WONDER GROWS, her much-anticipated sophomore collaboration with muralist Adriana M. Garcia. With grant support from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Xelena recently developed a body of work in both children's literature and visionary fiction, inspired by the iconography of the Mexican Lotería card game. Her resultant book LOTERÍA REMEDIOS led to the creation of a television script centered on the same theme and featuring a modern Mestiza protagonist. She is currently developing the screenplay THE CARD SINGER with support from the Luminaria Artist Foundation. A member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, Xelena is a sought-after speaker on topics such as radical self love, creative early literacy strategies, inhabiting story through music and movement, and reclaiming indigenous identity in Latinx communities. Adriana M. Garcia, is a home-grown San Antonio visual artist, muralist, and illustrator. Her debut picture book ALL AROUND US (by Xelena Gonzalez) was awarded the prestigious 2018 Pura Belpré Honor for illustration among other honors. One of Garcia's favorite mural creation Changing the World is installed at Northwest Vista College (Fall 2019) and centers around access to education. The mural project De Todos Caminos Somos Todos Uno completed for the San Antonio River Authority was recognized in the 2019 Public Art Network Year in Review. Adriana has exhibited her artwork both locally and nationally and has been invited to present at conferences, schools and museums. She has enjoyed working as an arts administrator and an art/design instructor for both youth and adult learners. She is a big fan of portraits and loves depicting strong women as a way to honor those who have come before and those who continue to lead by example.

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