Juan Quezada


A young boy asks his grandfather to tell him the story of Juan Quezada, a famous potter. Quezada comes across some clay pots. Curious, he wants to learn how they were made and he begins to experiment. Eventually he figures out how to replicate the process. The entire village helps make the pots, and Quezada becomes a famous artist, and his pots are displayed in museums.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Beautiful illustrations complement this tell-me-again story about Juan Quezada and Mexican culture.

Content Awareness Factors:

There is a lot of Spanish vocabulary in the story. Those uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the language will lose interest in the story.

Little Kid Reaction

I did not like this book. It was frustrating with all the words I couldn't pronounce. I had to keep looking them up to see what they meant. I did like the pictures.

Parent Reaction

The beautiful watercolor illustrations carry this story. The story introduces Mexican culture, and the Spanish words add context as well.

Type of Book:
This bilingual picture book biography introduces kids to primary sources, as Juan Quezada tells his life story.
Educational Themes:

Use this book as a starting point to talk about Mexican culture in general and Juan Quezada in particular. There is a lot of Spanish (including a glossary), which also makes it valuable as a vocabulary lesson. Given Quezada's efforts to rediscover a "lost art," there are opportunities to talk about the importance and challenges of preserving history. It also offers opportunities to talk about biography, original sources, storytelling/oral history, and cultural traditions.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
5 to 9
Age of child:
Read by an older child with a group of children ages 6 to 14; supervised by a teacher.
Purchase Recommendation:
Skip or borrow. Interest in this book will be largely driven by the reader's ability to pronounce Spanish.

Title Juan Quezada
Author Shelley Dale, As Told To
Publisher Norman Books © 2003
Illustrators Shelley Dale
ISBN 0970861753
Material Paperback
Cost $9.95
Genres Fables and Folklore, Art | Art History, Foreign Language | Bilingual, Latin America | Hispanic People
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