Dona Flor

Multicultural Book Talk

Book Introduction

Title: Dona Flor- A Tall Tale About a Giant Lady with a Big Heart

Author: Pat Mora

Illustrator: Raul Colon

Genre: Multicultural Childrens Literature

Topic or Theme: Bravery, acts of kindness

Awards Recieved: Golden Kite Award, Pura Belpre Award Book for illustrations, Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative

Background Info- Author and Illustrator

Pat Mora is a Latina author or poetry, nonfiction and children's books. She strives to document the lives of fictional and nonfictional Mexican Americans and latinos living in the US through a wide variety of literature. Mora founded "El Dia de los Ninos", an event focusing on celebrating books and language. The event promotes family ready and multilingualism. She currently resides in Sante Fe with her husband and three children.

Raul Colon was born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico where he studied commercial art. His work has appeared in a multitude of national publications, including over 30 children's books. Colon uses multiple layers of watercolor and colored pencil to create texture and depth in his works. He currently resides with his family in New York City.

Emily Nesselrode

Dona Flor Summary by Emily Nesselrode

Meeting the Multicultural Book Criteria... How Does "Dona Flor" Fit?

1. Names of characters should authentically reflect the distince cultural experiences of a specific cultural group.

The main character Flor's name is derived from the Spanish language, which she uses often throughout the story. Flor's attributes of bravery and confidence are great inspirations for English language learners.

2. Setting should be representative of and consistent with historyal or contemporary time, place, or situation of a particular culture.

Dona Flor takes place in the American Southwest, similar to many of Mora's other books. Mora's work reflects the people and culture of the southwest, where she was raised.

3. Language should reflect distinctive vocabulary, style, and patterns of speech of the cultural group.

Occasional Spanish is used throughout the story, helping readers learn a handful of new vocabulary words. The placement of the words in sentences allows for students to use context clues to derive their English meaning.

Classroom Teaching Application

Grade Level: 3

Standard 3.RL.2: Recount stories, including fables, folklores and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

Literacy Objective: The student will create a visual representation or poster of their interpretation of the central message in "Dona Flor".

  • Connecting to Students Lives- This story would be great to share in a classroom where there are both English and Spanish speakers. It would act as a language barrier since the book contains both languages. It would help Spanish speakers be proud of their language and it could help English speakers learn more about their classmates' backgrounds.
  • Modeling- Prior to reading, I would need to explain the concept of a theme in a story, and get them thinking about themes in stories they have already heard. That way they can take the most as possible away from this story when they recount the central message at the end of the reading.
  • Practicing this skill- Getting them to think about themes and lessons that have heard in previous story would help make this concept make sense. For example, the students could discuss what they learned from common fairytales and stories growing up (ie: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.) Relating back to common examples could help the students master the objective for a new story.
  • Applying- Creating a visual representation post-read aloud would be a great way for students to show what they learned. They could either write or draw pictures of what they thought the central lesson of the book was. These could be displayed as inspirational posters throughout the classroom to show off student work.

Citations and Sources

Mora, P. (2005). Dona flor. New York; Random House Inc.

Holt, C. (19 Feb 2012). Author biography: pat mora. Retrieved from