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New children’s book highlights New Mexican culture

Rudolfo Anaya's New Mexico fairy tale Owl in a Straw Hat is a hoot

~Museum of New Mexico Press

Widely acclaimed as the father of Chicano literature, Rudolfo Anaya’s works of fiction and poetry have spread a love of literature and an appreciation of New Mexican culture across generations. Best known for his 1972 bestseller, Bless Me, Ultima, Anaya has lent his wondrous prose and masterful storytelling to more than a dozen children’s books. His latest, Owl in a Straw Hat, published by the Museum of New Mexico Press, continues his mission as an educator and literacy advocate. Set against the magic and lore of northern New Mexico, Owl in a Straw Hat is a fun story that reminds young readers of the importance of reading skills while encouraging parents to take an active role in teaching reading.

The book follows a young owl named Ollie who lives in an orchard with his parents in northern New Mexico. Ollie is supposed to attend school but prefers to hang out with his friends Raven and Crow instead. Ollie’s parents discover he cannot read and they send Ollie off to see his grandmother, Nana, a teacher and farmer in Chimayó. Along the way, Ollie’s illiteracy causes mischief as he meets up with some shady characters on the path including Gloria La Zorra (a fox), Trickster Coyote, and a hungry wolf named Luis Lobo who has sold some bad house plans to the Three Little Pigs. Inspired by his journey and the support of his family, Ollie finally decides that he is ready to learn to read.

The characters and the northern New Mexico landscape come to life wonderfully in forty original, full-color illustrations by acclaimed New Mexico artist El Moisés.

The Owl in a Straw Hat book launch will take place on October 17, from 6:00-8:00 pm, at Bookworks bookstore at 4022 Rio Grande Boulevard, in Albuquerque. The all-ages event will include a book signing and reading with illustrator El Moisés. A second event will take place at Collected Works, at 202 Galisteo Street, in Santa Fe, on November 25.

The booksignings are free and open to all ages.

 
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