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Finding the Music: En Pos de La Musica

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When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela--a small guitar-like instrument--she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of A When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela--a small guitar-like instrument--she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of Abuelito's music and promises that they can fix the vihuela together. Reyna realizes how much she's learned about Abuelito, his influence in the community, and the power of his music. She returns to her family's restaurant to share Abuelito's gifts with Mama and is happier still finally to hear the sweet sounds of Abuelito;s music for herself. With lively illustrations by Renato Alarcao, the tradition of mariachi music comes to life in this bilingual story. Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, Finding the Music is a heartwarming tale of family, community, and the music that brings them all together.


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When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela--a small guitar-like instrument--she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of A When Reyna accidentally breaks Abuelito's vihuela--a small guitar-like instrument--she ventures out into the neighborhood determined to find someone who can help her repair it. No one can fix the vihuela, but along the way Reyna gathers stories and mementos of Abuelito and his music. Still determined, Reyna visits the music store, where the owner gives her a recording of Abuelito's music and promises that they can fix the vihuela together. Reyna realizes how much she's learned about Abuelito, his influence in the community, and the power of his music. She returns to her family's restaurant to share Abuelito's gifts with Mama and is happier still finally to hear the sweet sounds of Abuelito;s music for herself. With lively illustrations by Renato Alarcao, the tradition of mariachi music comes to life in this bilingual story. Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, Finding the Music is a heartwarming tale of family, community, and the music that brings them all together.

30 review for Finding the Music: En Pos de La Musica

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    After Reyna accidentally breaks the treasured vihuela used by her grandfather when he played in a mariachi band, she goes in search of someone to help repair the instrument. Although she eventually finds someone who can do just that, she also meets several different individuals in her neighborhood who bring her closer to her abuelito and her own cultural traditions. The illustrations are filled with color, and the author's note in this bilingual book tells a little bit about the history of this After Reyna accidentally breaks the treasured vihuela used by her grandfather when he played in a mariachi band, she goes in search of someone to help repair the instrument. Although she eventually finds someone who can do just that, she also meets several different individuals in her neighborhood who bring her closer to her abuelito and her own cultural traditions. The illustrations are filled with color, and the author's note in this bilingual book tells a little bit about the history of this kind of music.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gail Pritchard

    Living in Tucson, I am fortunate to hear mariachi on a regular basis. As Torres notes, part of the power of mariachi is it's history and tradition, and she captures that well in her dual language story,"Finding the Music/En pos doe la musica." Living in Tucson, I am fortunate to hear mariachi on a regular basis. As Torres notes, part of the power of mariachi is it's history and tradition, and she captures that well in her dual language story,"Finding the Music/En pos doe la musica."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hamill

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Recommended Grade Levels: K-3 Themes: Music, family, and Summary: Reyna is a girl who spends a lot of time at Cielito Lindo, her Mama’s restaurant. On the weekends, Reyna spends time in the restaurant reading in a booth where her grandpa’s (abuelito’s) vihuela hangs. Her abuelito’s vihuela was a stringed instrument that he used to play when he was alive, in a mariachi band. Though the restaurant is often loud and distracts Reyna from being able to concentrate on her book, one weekend it is espec Recommended Grade Levels: K-3 Themes: Music, family, and Summary: Reyna is a girl who spends a lot of time at Cielito Lindo, her Mama’s restaurant. On the weekends, Reyna spends time in the restaurant reading in a booth where her grandpa’s (abuelito’s) vihuela hangs. Her abuelito’s vihuela was a stringed instrument that he used to play when he was alive, in a mariachi band. Though the restaurant is often loud and distracts Reyna from being able to concentrate on her book, one weekend it is especially noisy and Reyna gets fed up, throwing her book in the air. The book hits the vihuela and it falls to the floor, cracked. Reyna begins going about town trying to fix the vihuela before her mama can find out what happened. She meets many people along the way who share details with her about her abuelito: a photograph of him playing his vihuela, his old sombrero, and a record of him playing in his mariachi band. The music store owner tells Reyna that he can help her fix the vihuela, but not until next weekend. She goes back to the restaurant, ready to confess everything to Mama. Mama understands, happily hangs the sombrero and photo on the wall, and Reyna decides to play the record as the dinner crowd comes in. That evening, everyone enjoys the music and celebrates the beautiful sounds. It is noisy in the restaurant, but this time Reyna is enjoying the sounds of her people. Personal response: This book spoke to me about being proud of one’s heritage and connecting to it through many means, one of which being its musical connections. Personally, my Opa (Grandpa) was someone who brought the sounds of Germany over the ocean to my family and friends here in Pennsylvania. He would come to Pennsylvania with his accordion and play for those around him well-known folk songs from Germany, just as Reyna’s abuelito played in the mariachi band for people. The music was upbeat and happy, telling others about our family and bits of our culture that they might not have known about before. In the book, Reyna learns to appreciate the sounds of her people. When my Opa played the accordion, I, too, learned to value the sounds of my own heritage. Note about illustrations: Renato Alarcão illustrated this book in acrylic. The illustrations are detailed and strategic, allowing room for text when necessary. As this book is written both in Spanish and English, both translations must be easily situated on one page spread or one page. Sometimes the text fits easily into the picture, such as in the beginning of the book, where they are placed mostly on top of white tablecloths. On others, both translations are placed one on top of the other in provided white space, apart from the illustration. When this is the case, Alarcão divides the two texts beautifully with a uniform, flowered design. A similar design to match can be seen coming out as music from Mamá’s record player in the beginning of the story and along the edges of the front and back cover. The illustrations themselves have much to offer, filled with many details to take in. At times, this detailed nature is lessened in the background to help focus in on an emotion or event. For instance, when Reyna leaves the restaurant and examines the newly broken vihuela for the first time, the background is a simple light purple, cross-hatched with white strokes. The absence of Reyna’s environment in this picture allows readers to focus in on her face, taking in the cracked vihuela with apprehension and sadness. Reader Response/Classroom Connections: As a connection to the story, students could create their very own heritage projects. They could go home and ask an adult to help them gather photographs and cherished objects of old that reflect their heritage. They may also interview a relative older than 50 years old. Once their research has been completed, they may create a small book displaying their findings. This book should be shared in class along with a snack or school-appropriate drink to celebrate their heritage with the class. This book could also inspire a Spanish class (or other foreign language) to create story projects. In these story projects, students must come up with a simple plot. This plot should be narrated both in English and Spanish. When students are ready to publish their multilingual stories, they should include illustrations and typed translations. They may then share their creations with the class during an author celebration at a local library or park.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Children's Literature Centre at FSU

    The story is about a young girl, Reyna who stays at her mama’s restaurant on the weekends and reads at the booth near the wall that has her grandpa’s vihuela hanging on it. One day,she accidently breaks the vihuela. Reyna desperately searches for someone to fix the vihuela, and in the process, she learns more about her grandpa and even gets music that her grandpa recorded with his mariachi band. I loved that this book was dual language, what a great story for ELL students, and all students alike The story is about a young girl, Reyna who stays at her mama’s restaurant on the weekends and reads at the booth near the wall that has her grandpa’s vihuela hanging on it. One day,she accidently breaks the vihuela. Reyna desperately searches for someone to fix the vihuela, and in the process, she learns more about her grandpa and even gets music that her grandpa recorded with his mariachi band. I loved that this book was dual language, what a great story for ELL students, and all students alike! I would love to have this story in my future classroom. This story brings alive the Hispanic culture, especially mariachi music. The story uses many Spanish words that are very important in the culture. The story also translates the language from Spanish to English, which I found wonderful as it could be used in the classroom for Spanish and English speaking students. This story is written very beautifully, and is very culturally inviting. The illustrations are rich with important aspects of Mexican culture. The beautiful vihuela, the restaurant decorated in multi colors, and the depictions of mariachi bands. Without even reading the story, students could learn a lot from just these illustrations. A classroom teacher could even introduce the story by showing students a picture of the vihuela, and asking them to describe what they think it is and what it’s used for. Marvelous quality. Review written by Hannah McVey

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cara Byrne

    "'Listen, Mama,' Reyna said. 'You can hear Abuelito play again!' Then she took her mama's hands, and together they danced around the tables, laughing and spinning. It was noisier than ever at Cielito Lindo - and Reyna didn't mind at all." A moving story about a girl who becomes closer to her family and their musical history after accidently breaking a treasured vihuela. "'Listen, Mama,' Reyna said. 'You can hear Abuelito play again!' Then she took her mama's hands, and together they danced around the tables, laughing and spinning. It was noisier than ever at Cielito Lindo - and Reyna didn't mind at all." A moving story about a girl who becomes closer to her family and their musical history after accidently breaking a treasured vihuela.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karol

    Beautifully illustrated. Written in English in Spanish. Reyna takes responsibility for accidentally damaging the vihuela that hangs on the wall in her family's restaurant. A great story to practice bilingual reading and introduce mariachi music. Beautifully illustrated. Written in English in Spanish. Reyna takes responsibility for accidentally damaging the vihuela that hangs on the wall in her family's restaurant. A great story to practice bilingual reading and introduce mariachi music.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Merveille.moussinangar

    This goes with the movie cocoa

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    What a sweet story about a girl, her mom, and her grandfather’s memory. Also, I loved how the English translation included some Spanish words.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paula Alejandra Londono-Martinez

    This bilingual story offers the Spanish native speakers the chance to identify themselves while they read both in their native language and in English. The outstanding representations of Mexican culture are given by the Mariachis, a tradition that has been kept alive throughout the time. The interaction among three generations: grandpa memories, mom and daughter allows the readers to observe closer the way the past remains alive through artifacts. e.g. the vihuela, but also, there is a realizati This bilingual story offers the Spanish native speakers the chance to identify themselves while they read both in their native language and in English. The outstanding representations of Mexican culture are given by the Mariachis, a tradition that has been kept alive throughout the time. The interaction among three generations: grandpa memories, mom and daughter allows the readers to observe closer the way the past remains alive through artifacts. e.g. the vihuela, but also, there is a realization about the past traditions as a collective belonging nurtured by the community members, or in this case, all the people who knew grandpa. Our main character here, the little girl, has her own agency in the story in terms of her diligent search to fix her grandpa's music instrument she unintentionally damaged. The character explores her outside world (out from her house) and communicates with others obtaining contributions related to all those memories she was not aware of before. There is an agency in other characters such as the mom who portrays the importance of living her home culture and conveys that to her little daughter by means of the setting where she is at most of the time, the Taquería, the food there, traditional music, language and dance at the end. The neighbors are that second family that inherited the strength of the Mexican culture when they embrace it by sharing experiences (learning experiences) knowledge (musical knowledge) and family moments too (marriage, etc.) The difference here in the story is constructed bearing in mind everyone’s role in the community. e.g., Mom: cook in her own Mexican restaurant; the Hardware owner, whose job allows the community to go and fix broken things; the teacher who was grandpa’s student and Marco whose profession is closely related to music. All of them through their knowledge contributed to re-create past linkages when they were asked by the girl, money was in any moment needed. Thus, the story shows us that not only fraternal ties are stronger than money itself and the idea of fixing is an opportunity to recover memories, but also how people make things and relationships meaningful since their culture provides them with meaning. The neighborhood is also an important character in the sense it is common to all characters, apart from music, spaces shape the ways people interact as well. The objects give concreteness to abstract concepts such as music, joy, culture, friendship, etc. as much as spaces do. The little girl perseverance in keeping alive the vihuela is, without a doubt, a eulogy to kids' individual path to reach self-awareness of their cultural roots, the interest must come from themselves, though, after the teachings provided by family, friends, acquaintances, teachers. etc. and the context that surrounds them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Mauger

    Plot Summary: Reyna stays at her mama’s restaurant on the weekends and reads at the booth near the wall that has her grandpa’s vihuela hanging on it. One day, when she becomes annoyed with the loud noises within the restaurant, she accidentally throws her book, which hits and cracks her grandpa’s vihuela. Reyna desperately searches for someone to fix the vihuela, and in the process, she learns more about her grandpa and obtains items related to him from other people. She soon finds Senor Marcos Plot Summary: Reyna stays at her mama’s restaurant on the weekends and reads at the booth near the wall that has her grandpa’s vihuela hanging on it. One day, when she becomes annoyed with the loud noises within the restaurant, she accidentally throws her book, which hits and cracks her grandpa’s vihuela. Reyna desperately searches for someone to fix the vihuela, and in the process, she learns more about her grandpa and obtains items related to him from other people. She soon finds Senor Marcos at the music store who says that he can fix the vihuela the following week and gives her a record of the music from her grandpa’s mariachi band. Reyna then returns to the restaurant and tells her mama about what happened. That evening, Reyna plays the record of her grandpa’s music in the restaurant and happily dances with her mama, who has been wanting to hear Reyna’s grandpa’s music again for a long time. Literary Merit: Characterization: The readers can see Reyna’s realistic characteristics throughout the course of this book. For instance, Reyna likes to read and becomes irritated when she is unable to read in a quiet setting. Also, she wants her mama to be happy, so she feels bad when she accidentally cracks her grandpa’s vihuela, which her mama loved, and tries to get it fixed as soon as possible. She even plays the record she received from Senor Marcos so that her mama could listen to Reyna’s grandpa’s music, which her mama has desired to hear once more for a while. Reader Response/Classroom Connections: I feel that this book may encourage readers to learn about their family’s background, like how Reyna learned about her grandpa’s mariachi band. Teachers could structure an assignment that involves having students pick an adult family member, such as a grandparent or an uncle, and learn about something that individual has done or is doing, like being a member of a band. The students would write about what they learned and present their findings to the class. This assignment would improve the students’ oral language and writing skills and help them learn more about the backgrounds of both their classmates’ and their own family members. Additional Notes: This book is part of my text set concerning families.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rosseli Ramirez

    This is a great book that represents Mexican culture and can be very useful for bilingual students because it is written in both English and Spanish. The story is based on a girl named Reyna who accidentally broke her grandfather's vihuela. Reyna was determined to find someone who could help her fix the instrument and through this journey, she was able to gather many memories from her beloved grandfather. This story introduces children to some aspects of the hispanic culture focusing mainly on t This is a great book that represents Mexican culture and can be very useful for bilingual students because it is written in both English and Spanish. The story is based on a girl named Reyna who accidentally broke her grandfather's vihuela. Reyna was determined to find someone who could help her fix the instrument and through this journey, she was able to gather many memories from her beloved grandfather. This story introduces children to some aspects of the hispanic culture focusing mainly on the tradition of mariachi music. The representations of language, culture, setting, and relationships in this story are very accurate. The text uses Spanish terms that have great significance in the hispanic culture such as abuelito, mama, and mariachi. Some Spanish phrases are also used which are followed by its English definition, for example in the sentence - "Que Paso?" he asked. "What happened?". This is very appropriate because readers who only speak English can fully understand the text and even learn a few Spanish phrases. The setting at the restaurant also represents some aspects of the hispanic culture. The restaurant's walls are decorated with images that represent "The Day of the Death", folklore dance, and "Our Lady of Guadalupe". There is also a "Vihuela" hanging from the wall, which abuelito used to play when he was part of a mariachi. The vihuela has a lot of significance in this story and it well represents the Mexican culture since this instrument (similar to a guitar) is very traditional in mariachi bands. The relationships in this story describe Reyna as having a very close relationship with her mother and abuelito is highly valued and honored throughout the entire story. In the Mexican culture, grandparents are valued and celebrated by other family members.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Markowski

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Plot Summary: This book explores the Spanish musical traditions including the instrument, vihuela. Reyna is a little girl who doesn't know that much about her grandpa. She accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela. She goes through the town trying to find someone to fix it but through her journey she finds out a lot of information about her grandpa. People give her a cd of her grandfather's music, a picture of her grandpa playing in a mariachi band and a sombrero. She learned so much more ab Plot Summary: This book explores the Spanish musical traditions including the instrument, vihuela. Reyna is a little girl who doesn't know that much about her grandpa. She accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela. She goes through the town trying to find someone to fix it but through her journey she finds out a lot of information about her grandpa. People give her a cd of her grandfather's music, a picture of her grandpa playing in a mariachi band and a sombrero. She learned so much more about her grandfather and his/her culture then she expected. Classroom Connections: One activity could include the teacher bringing in a vihuela or having someone from the Spanish culture come in to play and share more about their culture and the instrument. Another activity could include the students going home to find out more information about their own ancestors and their culture by asking their family members.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    When Reyna accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela, she resolves to get it fixed and in the process learns more about him and the mariachi music he loved. A bilingual picture book filled with warm relationships. Not only does Reyna and her grandmother have a loving bond, but as Reyna goes throughout the neighborhood, she encounters friends and neighbors who have heartwarming memories of her grandfather's mariachi music. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and capture the neighborhoo When Reyna accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela, she resolves to get it fixed and in the process learns more about him and the mariachi music he loved. A bilingual picture book filled with warm relationships. Not only does Reyna and her grandmother have a loving bond, but as Reyna goes throughout the neighborhood, she encounters friends and neighbors who have heartwarming memories of her grandfather's mariachi music. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and capture the neighborhood's color and energy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alma

    Reyna is upset because her mother’s restaurant is too noisy and, while expressing her exasperation, accidentally breaks her grandfather’s vihuela (a guitar used to play mariachi music.) While trying to get it fixed she discovers various aspects of her grandfather’s musical career, which had not previously been of interest. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... Reyna is upset because her mother’s restaurant is too noisy and, while expressing her exasperation, accidentally breaks her grandfather’s vihuela (a guitar used to play mariachi music.) While trying to get it fixed she discovers various aspects of her grandfather’s musical career, which had not previously been of interest. Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress....

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Listed in CCBC Choices 2016 under Picture Books for School-Age Children. This bilingual book introduces readers to mariachi music. Culturally inviting and revealing the importance of family storytelling, this book is a hit. I actually wanted to hear Cielito Lindo after reading the story. Sweet Spot: Music classes, Grades 3-5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Colette

    A perfect book about the culture of Mexico and the southern United States. Mariachi music is the first music I heard when I moved to Texas. Sweet and lyrical, building special memories, that are kept alive by this wonderful little bilingual book. I agree with my friend Maryam how the neighborhood helped bring her abuelito's memory alive. A perfect book about the culture of Mexico and the southern United States. Mariachi music is the first music I heard when I moved to Texas. Sweet and lyrical, building special memories, that are kept alive by this wonderful little bilingual book. I agree with my friend Maryam how the neighborhood helped bring her abuelito's memory alive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    Besides the story line and the atmosphere of the neighborhood, I appreciated the way people who knew Reyna's grandfather each offered something special to her quest. Lovely story, and full of possible personal connections for our kids. Besides the story line and the atmosphere of the neighborhood, I appreciated the way people who knew Reyna's grandfather each offered something special to her quest. Lovely story, and full of possible personal connections for our kids.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    This bi-lingual story offers a "mirror and window" experience for readers of any background, including universal situations: accidental damage to something important, efforts to correct mistakes, seeing familiar surroundings through new eyes, multi-generational discoveries. This bi-lingual story offers a "mirror and window" experience for readers of any background, including universal situations: accidental damage to something important, efforts to correct mistakes, seeing familiar surroundings through new eyes, multi-generational discoveries.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I love the story line, the voice and the illustrations. There are a couple of awkward-sounding phrases in the Spanish translation, but nothing I see as 'deal-breaking.' Curriculum connections: Mexican heritage, music, mariachis, genealogy, character counts: honesty Grades: 2-5th I love the story line, the voice and the illustrations. There are a couple of awkward-sounding phrases in the Spanish translation, but nothing I see as 'deal-breaking.' Curriculum connections: Mexican heritage, music, mariachis, genealogy, character counts: honesty Grades: 2-5th

  20. 4 out of 5

    Megan Groen

    Finding the Music - En pos de la musica (2015) Jennifer Torres (bilingual - multicultural) This book has the English text on side and the corresponding Spanish text on the other. I have many students who speak Spanish in my class, and I would love to read this book, in both languages with them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sunday

    This text is rich in ideas related to community and developing an awareness and so forth. After an abrupt start, the story line evens out and is totally appropriate for this age. Appreciated author’s note at the end about the history of mariachi music.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bethe

    In spite of a near disaster, Reyna gets help from the community to help keep the memory of her abuelito alive. Very authentic feel to the story and illustrations. For the most part, the Spanish reads very well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    "A young Latina girl accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela and searches for someone in the community to fix the instrument, which leads her to discover her grandfather's legacy as a mariachi. Includes an author's note and glossary"-- Provided by publisher. "A young Latina girl accidentally breaks her grandfather's vihuela and searches for someone in the community to fix the instrument, which leads her to discover her grandfather's legacy as a mariachi. Includes an author's note and glossary"-- Provided by publisher.

  24. 4 out of 5

    GalindoLibrarian

    Family memories and girl discovers her abuelito's legacy as mariachi musician. Family memories and girl discovers her abuelito's legacy as mariachi musician.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alison Criner

    I like the illustrations and I appreciated the curriculum connections, but the story didn't excite me. I like the illustrations and I appreciated the curriculum connections, but the story didn't excite me.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Keir Bridges

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Napoli

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mariana

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