Nana's Big Surprise

By Kelsey Leadbetter

Information about the book

Author: Amada Irma Perez

Illustrations: Maya Christina Gonzalez

Genre: Realsitc fiction

Topic/Themes: Helping someone adjust to somehting new. Making someone feel welcome

Awards: American Award Commended Title
International Latino Book Awards, Best Children's Picture Book (2007), Bilingual, 2nd Place Tejas Star Book Award Finalist, and the Thomas Rivera Children's book award.

Perez, A. I. (2007). Nana's big surprise. San Fransisco: Children's Book Press.

Information about the author

She was a classroom teacher for 25 years teaching k-college studetns. She joined the southwest writing project and was encouraged to write her first book! She has now written three books, and is currently working on more children's books, poetry and a novel. She is also a huge advocate for multi-culture learning.

Here is is her website to learn more:

Information about the Illustrator

She has been the illustrator of over 20 children's books. She is most well known for for her use of vivid imagery and dramatic color. She co-founded a publishing company that publishes radical and revolutionary childrens books which promote cultural awarness.

Criteria for high quality multicultural literature

1. The themes are consistent with the values, beliefs, customs, traditions and conflicts of the specific culture. This books demonstrates this by allowing the grandmother to come and live with the family after their grandfather passed away. In the Mexican culture the elders are very important and are very respected. If an elder is struggling you would just naturally invite them to live with you. At the back of the book it talks about this with the author saying "our elders are a treasure, and enrich our lives." When Nana first came she was unhappy and missing Mexico, but the family did everything that they could to make her feel more at home, and by the end of the story she was feeling happy.

2. The book honors and celebrates diverstity and common bonds. I think everyone would be able to relate to this story of trying to make someone feel welcome in a new place or they might even know how it would feel to be in a strage place where everything is so different than you were used to. One part that really highlighted that was when they went to the grocery store and Nana was infront of the dish soaps and she was crying because there were so many choices and she didn't know what to pick,I think we could all relate to feeling overwhelmed.

3.This book is rich in cultural details. Yes, this illustrations have so many details and so much color. The clothing that the characters wear are very culturally accurate. Also the way the children are portrayed as trying to make their Nana feel welcome really shows how importatant their elders are to them.

Lesson Idea

Standard W.3.3 Write a narrative to develp real or imagined experiences orevents using effective techinques, descriptive details.

At the start of the lesson the teacher will ask the students if they have ever been anywhere where they felt like they didn't know anyone or how anything worked. Then the teacher will explain how in the book they will be reading the Nana moved from very far and was feeling sad. As the teacher reads the book, be sure to point out parts where Nana is feeling sad, and ask students what they could do to make her feel better. When the story is over the teacher will tell the students that they are going to pretend some one (it can be a real person or a made up person or even someone that they don't know, like a favorite character from a TV show) is coming to live with them. They will be writing a letter to that person to tell them about their new home. The student will introduce themselves, and will then describe things that they can do and how they are feeling about havinng their new guest come and stay. The student will need to provide a closing statement at the end of the letter. The student needsto use the correct letter format. We will discuss how sending this letter might make you new guest feel more at ease when they are coming.


I thought it could be fun to incorporate the book into a math lesson, by having the students draw up the demionsions for the chicken coop.

Standard: 3.MC.C.6 Measure areas by counting unit squares. Examples are square foot, square inch)