Multicultural Picture Book

Samantha Russell - CI 402E

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"The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred" by Samantha R. Vamos and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez was published in 2011 by Charlesbridge Publishing.

This read aloud is planned for First Graders. This book tells the story of a Farm Maiden and a group of animals who work together to cook a delicious dish for a fiesta. This book has been recognized for the following awards:


Illinois K-3 Readers' Choice Award (2012)

Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Honor Book (2012)

ALSC 2012 Notable Children's Books Selection

2013 Monarch Award

Latin Baby Book Club Favorite Books (2011)




The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred

Evaluation of the book using multicultural literature criteria

  1. Element: Demonstrates Unique Language or Style
  • Evidence: This book has a poetic rhythm to the words, and words throughout the book are replaced by their Spanish counterparts when mentioned for the second time.

2. Element: Include members of a "minority" for more than "quota"

  • Evidence: The Farm Maiden is the main character in the story and appears to be Hispanic. A Farmer is introduced later in the story who also appears to be Hispanic.

3. Element: Appealing format and be endearing

  • Evidence: This book has a poetic rhythm appealing to both reader and audience. The illustrations in this book are also very appealing to the eye and endear the reader and listener to the community described in the book.

Narrative Paragraph

According to her website, Samantha Vamos has always had a passion for writing, even while practicing law in D.C. and Chicago. The author also mentions how The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred came to her while she was cooking. The illustrator, Rafael Lopez, received the 2010 Pura Belpre Award and was chosen in 2012 to create the National Book Festival Poster by the Library of Congress. He also created an official poster for the Obama/Biden campaign called Voz Unida. He not only does childrens books, but large scale murals in San Diego. The Hispanic culture comes through in this book not only through the vocabulary, but the rich colors and textures seen in traditional Mexican life.

2 Words to be Taught

Churned and Plucked


Churned - this means to stir or shake milk (leche) to turn it into butter (mantequilla).

Plucked - to pull on something quickly.


The Spanish words in the story will be displayed using word cards on the board with a picture of the object and the object's name in English and Spanish.


We are going to learn these words by making word chains. I will ask students "What does butter start out as before you churn it?" [Students will respond "milk" and I will write this word on the board]. "Good, now what is our first word we are learning?" [Students will respond "churned" and I will write this on the board]. "Great job! Now what does the milk turn into once we have churned it?" [The students will respond butter or mantequilla]. "Alright! So milk is churned into butter." "Now let's move on to our next word. What is a word that means the same thing as plucked?" [Students can respond with pull, tug, yank, grab, etc. and I will write their answers into a chain on the board]. "Great job, now I've chosen this word because it is used in two ways in our story. The burro plucks a limon from the tree, and the farmer plucks the strings of the banjo. Can you think of any other words that you use in different ways?" [Allow some wait time for students to think, then listen to what students say]. "Okay, so during this story I want you to churn (makes hand motions like churning butter) whenever you hear the word churned or churn, and I want you to make a plucking motion (in front of students with their hands) whenever you hear plucked. Can we do that?" [Continue to read aloud and assist in reminding students of the motions if need be].

Questions for Before, During, and After the Read Aloud

What do you think Cazuela means? (Before)

What do you think the author's purpose in writing this book is? (During)

What do you think they are celebrating? (During, towards the end)

What is something you do to help others in your home? (After)

What is something you enjoy making with friends or family? (After)

Rafael López - 2012 Pura Belpré Honor Illustration

Written Reflection Following Read Aloud/Book Talk/Vocabulary Presentation

Why was this particular book selected? How did it "match" the funds of knowledge of this particular class/group of students? - I selected this book because the most represented minority in my CT's classroom is Hispanic. Many of the students know a few words in Spanish, and one student in the class is from Mexico and speaks English and Spanish fluently.

What were the strengths of the read aloud/the picture book/vocabulary teaching presentation? - The strengths included the children's attention during the read aloud. They enjoyed repeating the Spanish words after I read them from the book. The children were also able to think of many synonyms for the vocabulary words I presented to them, so our word chains were great!

What would I need to do differently next time? - I would choose a book that did not have as many Spanish words in it. The book is great, but I think they were a little bit overwhelmed with all of the words. My CT helped me develop a better attention-grabber at the beginning of the lesson, so next time I will work to make that aspect better to start with.

Implementing multicultural children's literature that is culturally and linguistically diverse relative to my elementary students has helped me... understand what will catch the children's attention and be important to them. I feel like I am better prepared to give culturally responsive lessons to these students in the future.

Samantha Russell

Teacher Education Candidate