Picture Book Review “I Love Saturdays y domingos”

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Picture book; ages 4-8. Atheneum, 1999.

I Love Saturdays y domingos

Written by Alma Flor Ada

Illustrated by Elivia Savadier

Love overflows in I Love Saturdays y domingos.  A little girl describes her weekends–Saturdays spent with one set of grandparents, of European decent, and domingos spent with her grandparents of Mexican decent.  The book follows a pattern, showing her routines and rituals at one house, then showing the corresponding ones at the next.  But not for a second do these loves seem to be competing with each other.  That’s the wonderful thing about love.  The little protagonist doesn’t have to choose.  She can revel in every ounce of it.  She can love Grandma’s breakfast of pancakes and eggs and Abuelita’s breakfast of huevos rancheros and papaya juice.  She can peer into Grandpa’s fishtank and dip her feet in the seawater with Abuelito.  She can have the “Happy Birthday” song and Las mañanitas.  She can learn and feel proud of her heritage from each of these people who love and care for her.

In the end, after we’ve seen all of the unique ways each grandparent shows their love to their granddaughter, we also get to see how their love unifies them, in their giving a gift as one family.  It’s a really lovely ending.  And throughout the book, Elivia Savadier‘s illustrations are warm and vibrant.  Her images join Alma Flor Ada‘s gentle and straightforward tone to create scenes and moments that are intimate and inviting.

This book offers such an important message for children to be hearing right now.  Children need to be reassured that sides do not need to be chosen.  Cultures don’t exist to compete with or dominate each other, but to enrich each other by their differences.  It’s so easy to think of love as a limited resource that must be doled out sparingly, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Reflecting on the death of a dear friend and the impact of this loss on the circle of which he was part, C.S. Lewis once expressed how there were aspects of each man that were lost to him with their friend Charles no longer around to draw them out.  Lewis wrote, “In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.”  People are diverse.  When we shut ourselves off to that diversity, we miss out not just on the beauty in that other person, but all the beautiful things they would have drawn out in us and in those around us.  Luckily, no one is asking the little protagonist of I Love Saturdays y domingos, to limit her love.  And the resulting portrait of family is both a comforting and hopeful one.

More to explore…

  • Available in Spanish
  • Join the party at the end by making a piñata cake!

Read-aloud potential? This would work well as a read-aloud for ages 7+, perhaps with some sort of family tree or interview-a-grandparent activity to accompany it?

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