A Perfect Season for Dreaming

Written By Benjamin Alire Sàenz

Book Introduction

A Perfect Season for Dreaming is a childrens book written by Bengamin Alire Sàenz and llustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia. This multicultural picture book is bilingual, written in both English and Spanish. The general theme of the book is dreaming and recapturing your youth. Every afternoon a seventy-eight year old Octavio Rivera settles down for a nap and has the most interesting dreams. Each dream becomes more whimsical then the previous until Octavio cannot ignore the urge to share his dreams. He struggles to determine who he should tell about his dreams because he is afraid his family and friends will think he is crazy. Finally, Octavio Rivera shares his dreams with his six year old granddaughter who concludes Octavio is the most beautiful dreamer of all.


-Winter 2008-09 Kids' Indie Next List

-Tejas Star Book Award

-Paterson Prize

-Best Book for Children, Texas Institute of Letters (TIL)

-Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009

-Américas Book Award Honor Book

About the Author and Illustrator

The poet, novelist, and children’s book writer, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, was born August 16, 1954 in Old Picacho, New Mexico. He was the fourth of seven children and grew up on a small farm. Sáenz originally planned to be a priest, but after a few years he left and returned to school. In school he studied English and Creative Writing and moved around from school to school. Eventually Sáenz ended up in Texas teaching at the University of Texas at El Paso in the bilingual MFA program. Today Benjamin Alire Sáenz continues to teach in the Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Esau Andrade Valencia was born in Tepic Nayarit, Mexico. He attended La Escuela de Artes Plasticas of the Universidad de Guadalajara. His paintings are included in the collection of The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, but A Perfect Season for Dreaming is the only published book he has illustrated. Valencia comes from a family of artists so it is no wonder he is so talented.

Based on Mexican Folk art, Esau Andrade Valencia uses full page, acrylic paintings to bring the authors words to life.

This text is culturally relevant and authentic based on...

1. Cultural Character: Octavio Rivera is a culturally authentic name. He is a grandfather looking to recapture his youth which is an authentic gender role.

2. Diverse Language: The book uses Spanish words and concepts such as piñata, Spanish guitar, and mariachi. The language throughout represents sensitivity to people.

3. Illustrations: The pictures replicate natural appearances with vivid colors. The cultural setting is accurate based on the animals, housing, and clothing seen in the images. Characters are unique and different from one another.

In the Classroom

-Grade Level: 3rd

-CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)

-Objective: After completing the lesson the students will be able to write a paragraph explaining the ending of A Perfect Season for Dreaming and how they came to that conclusion.

-This book can be connected to the lives of my future students because it teaches them about Mexican and Spanish culture and I will definitely have students that come from that background. A Perfect Season for Dreaming is relevant to literacy instruction because it is a fun way to teach students about using the illustrations combined with the words to determine a higher meaning—all while learning about a different culture!

· To get the class to see what exactly it is I want them to learn, the teacher will use the same book, A Perfect Season for Dreaming, and read the first four pages without showing the pictures to the class. By doing this, the students will imagine their own illustrations which we can later compare to the real ones. Once we get to page four where Octavio dreams about the falling pigs, the teacher will show the students the picture. The teacher will ask the students if this is how they imagined the pictures and have them elaborate. It is likely that the students will picture the objects falling harshly out of the piñata, instead of floating gracefully like the pictures show. The students will start to see how the pictures in a book contribute to what the words say during the story, or how the illustrations influence the mood.

· The students will apply their learning to increase mastery by revisiting the last page of the story. On the last page, nine hundred hummingbirds fly around calling his name. The students will write a short paragraph explaining why this happened and use the illustrations to find a deeper meaning to the ending.

Other books by Benjamin Alire Sàenz...

Saenz, B.A. (2008). "A Perfect Season for Dreaming." El Paso, TX: Publisher.