Chato's Kitchen

Multicultural Book Project

Information about the Book

Author: Gary Soto

Illustrator: Susan Guevara

Genre: Comedy and Humor

Topics: Hispanic and Latin Americans

About the Author

Gary Soto was born in Fresno, California and either wanted to be a priest or a paleontologist, not a writer because he didn't have the opportunity to have books around while growing up. Gary started with writing poems, short stories and then moved to novels for children and adults. He uses his background on growing up as a Mexican American and shares stories about his heritage because it is so important to his life.

About the Illustrator

Susan Guevara lives in New Mexico now and does not illustrate for children's books anymore. She loved illustrating children's books because she brought magic to the pictures.

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Criteria For High Quality Multicultural Literature

1. This book is rich in cultural details. In Chato's Kitchen, there are specific details that resinate with the Mexican culture. When it comes to understanding any culture, I think the first place you should look is in the kitchen. Food is something that everyone can relate to and this book discusses different important food components that are important to the Hispanic culture. It also discusses the preparation that goes into the meals. The way that food is portrayed shows how important meals are to their culture.

2. This book demonstrates unique language and style. In this book, there are different words that are stated in Spanish. While this story takes place in East L.A., it demonstrates that there is a pull between two cultures, where people are influenced with English but still value what is important in their Native Culture. I think that this is important for ESL students to see, that having another culture that influences their life is valuable to not only them but to the people around them.

3. This book honors and celebrates diversity as well as common bonds in humanity. I think that this book is a great representation of a book that celebrates diversity. This book gives an accurate look into how other cultures value different things. This book depicts accurate language and text diction to what would be found in East L.A.

Chato's Kitchen Lesson Idea

Grade Level 2


RL.2.7 – Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.


The students will be able to use context clues and pictures to determine the meaning of words from the text.

Lesson Procedure:

  • To start the lesson, the students will all be given an illustration from the book. They will be asked to make predictions with their elbow partner on what the text is going to say about the picture when we read the story. The students will be asked to keep those thoughts and predictions in their heads. They will be asked to write down key details from their picture that helped them predict what is going to happen in the story.
  • Next, we will read the story out loud, when the student's hear a word that they do not recognize, that isn't in English, they will be asked to give a "thumbs down." When the page has been read, the teacher will ask what words were unfamiliar and what their predictions are on what that word means based on the rest of the page. The teacher will also write the words in Spanish on the board so students can see a visual representation of the word. The teacher will write the students predictions of the words on the board for everyone to see.
  • After the story has ended, the teacher will write the translated word in English on the board next to the Spanish word. Students will be asked, Were our predictions correct? What evidence from the text and illustrations from the book lead us to our predictions? Students will discuss in pairs and then share with the class.
  • To end the lesson students will return to their picture they started with and the list of important details that they listed. Students will be asked to write if their predictions were correct and if they were not, what was different and why they thought it was different.

Melissa Murray 18

Chato's Kitchen by Melissa Murray 18