Just A Minute

Presented By: Tegan Dunstan


Just a Minute is a trickster tale and counting book. This fiction book is written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales. This book is is about a man who arrives to take the grandma to the next life, but after helping her count while, in English and Spanish, he changes his mind. This story received an ALA Notable Book award in 2004.

About the Author and Illustrator

Yuyi Morales is an artist who grew up in Veracruz, Mexico but now lives in San Francisco, California. She has been a Brazilian folk dancer, puppet maker, and the host of a Spanish-language radio show for children. She has also illustrated Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull. Yuyi has both written and illustrated this book.
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Criteria for Multicultural Book

Diverse Language

The language of this story reflected that of the Spanish culture. The numbers that were included in the story were both in English and Spanish. Also, one of the characters had a Spanish name that was named Senor Calavera.


The physical characteristics of the characters and the clothing that was shown in the story helped show readers that it was a family of Spanish origin. There were pages that contained pinatas and common foods that would also be found in the Spanish heritage.


In the story the grandmother was getting ready for her birthday party. She had to clean the house and prepare food for the fiesta. In the Spanish culture they often have pinatas and a lot of food for birthday parties. In this story she had to fill pinatas for the party because it is of the Spanish tradition.

Just a Minute Lesson Idea

Grade: 2

CCSS RL.2.2 The student responds to a variety of text. The student understands the significance of literature and its contributions to various cultures.

The students will identify different words and objects in the text and explain how they relate to a different culture.

Lesson Procedure:

  • Lesson begins with the teacher posing a question to students, "What does it mean to be of a different culture and how are some ways that you can tell if someone is from another culture?" Students will share their response to the opening question, this will get their mind thinking about different areas of the world. Teacher will point out the different culture can mean language, clothing, environment, and so on.
  • Share with the students that as the teacher is reading through the story, there will be different parts to show that the setting is in a different culture. Each time the students note something of a different culture have them raise their hand and share their findings.
  • Read the story aloud to the students, stopping when they have raised their hand to share what they have found from a different culture. Discuss their evidence each time and have them explain why they think it is of another culture.
  • After the teacher has read through the story one time, read through it again without stopping for discussion so the children can get a better understanding of the story. When the story has been read through then have the children go back to their seats and write about one key part in the story that gave away that it was from another culture. Have them tell about how that would look differently in their own culture. And then they will share their work with the rest of the class.


Just A Minute by Dunstan2