Family Pictures, 15th Anniversary Edition / Cuadros de Familia, Edición Quinceañera

by Carmen Lomas Garza (Illustrator)

Other authorsSandra Cisneros (Introduction), Pat Mora (Afterword)
Paperback, 2005



Local notes

E Gar


Children's Book Press (2005), Edition: 15th anniversary, 32 pages


The author describes, in bilingual text and illustrations, her experiences growing up in a Hispanic community in Texas.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 11.5 x 0.5 inches


089239207X / 9780892392070



User reviews

LibraryThing member K.Perez33
This book talks about a little girl who is visiting her grandparents in Reynosa, Mexico. The book shows the ways of a mexican lifestyle. It ranges from the fairs in the middle of town all the way to helping your relatives cook and clean around the house. There is so much to learn of the mexican culture. Family Pictures will show you more of the hispanic culture.

Personal Reaction: I really liked this book because 1. I am mexican and 2. it reminded me of when I go to my grandparents house. I also enjoyed the book because it had both spanish and english written to describe what was going on.

Extension: This book would be good for a student who is bilingual and new to either the school or the country. It would help him remember "home." This book would be a great way to discuss a different culture, and to play out one of the scenes in the book like a birthday party with a pinata so the kids can really get the hispanic feel.
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LibraryThing member mfowleramato
I was recently introduced to Carmen Lomas Garza's Family Pictures/Cuadros De Familia through an article I read in Reading Teacher article titled, that discussed using this book as a resource for a writing intervention with second language learners. Unlike most picture books, the author-illustrator began with her illustrations. The art in this text is based on Carmen Lomas Garza's memories of growing up in Texas, near the border of Mexico. After painting these pictures, Lomas Garza participated in an interview process with her editor, sharing her thoughts about each of her paintings. The text of this picture book is based on these interviews.

Through her beautiful paintings and sincere story telling, Lomas Garza invites the reader to experience her childhood. We meet her family, attend parties and cultural events that allow us to know her community, and learn about the dreams she had as a young girl. Carmen Lomas Garza makes use of oil and acrylic on canvas as well as gouache on arches paper to create the stunning illustrations that share with us the spirit of her community.

This picture book could be used in both elementary and secondary classrooms. Because the text appears in both English and Spanish, it is a wonderful resource for students who are bilingual. I think it would be interesting to have the students make use of Lomas Garza's process, sketching images that capture an experience, followed by participating in an interview in which the students describe that event. Students could then work with partners to write a story, making use of the language from the interview process. Although any learner could benefit through participating in this activity, this lesson would certainly support second language learners as well as students who are working on developing their ideas through writing. In addition, I encourage anyone who is interested to check out Dworin's article, appearing in an issue of Reading Teacher in 2006. His piece is titled, "The Family Stories Project: Using Funds of Knowledge for Writing." Dworin suggests having students interview members of their family, working with their classmates to translate these stories, in order to capture the spirit of their memories in both English and Spanish.
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LibraryThing member ababe92
This is a book that i would use to teach my students about all of the many cultures there are in the world. I would recommend this book to any teacher because it is a good teaching device.
LibraryThing member f_bennett
Summary: this book takes place in Mexico, and tells us a lot about the culture and traditions. From picking oranges at a grandma’s house to killing a live chicken from the farm for dinner, it explains some of the ways they get their food. It also talks about how birthdays are celebrated and tells about different customs people do for Christmas.

Personal reaction: I thought this book showed a great example of the Mexican culture. I also liked that it had the text in Spanish.

Classroom extension: 1. I can have the children tell me about traditions that they do throughout the year with family. 2. As a class we could pick a tradition that a culture does and try it out in class.
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LibraryThing member reneefletcher
This picture book is actually a book of pictures, pictures of the author’s family. Throughout the book the author uses her artwork and storytelling to acquaint the reader with the traditions and lifestyle of her Latino family. In the introduction, Sandra Cisneros challenges the reader to find their family picture within the pages of this book, implying we might come from different backgrounds we still have the same needs and desires. This book gives the reader a look at a traditional Latino family, and helps us see that we all celebrate life with and through our families.

The artwork in this book helps complete the true experience of the Latino culture. The colors are bright and full of life. They also show the reality of life. I liked the fact that the author introduced Hispanic terminology, and explained the meaning of the words by painting a picture to give a better understanding. I like the fact that the text is printed in both Spanish and English.

This book would do well as a resource during a unit on Latino culture. The students could use it as a reference in creating a play about an event or tradition of Latino families.
It also would be a great source to introduce a new style of art. The students could then create their own family pictures using this style of art.
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LibraryThing member Nataliewhite88
My first reaction was positive. I like the fact that for everything that is written in English, there is another passage that says the same thing in Spanish. I enjoyed the illustrations, they look as if they were painted straight onto the pages of the book. I also like how the book is written as if the author is talking to a friend, it is very personable. She speaks of the inspiration for the illustration and then explains what is going on in the photograph. The subject of growing up in poor community is one that will be relate-able with many readers. The message students can get from this text is that people should appreciate their families and be proud of where they come from.… (more)
LibraryThing member eg5274
Summary: This story is about a Hispanic girl who tells her perspective of life. She explains how their family makes tamales, how they celebrate birthdays and other holidays, and she also explains the norms of her culture by explaining the activities that her family does day to day. The story is also written in Spanish as well as English.

Personal Reaction: I really enjoyed reading this because I also came from a Hispanic family. I could relate to a lot of the things that the narrator spoke.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
A. A good idea in the classroom would be to have the students make tamales. This could be done during a Hispanic holiday and while the teacher is teaching about different cultures.
B. Another good idea would be a paper mache project. The student could make their own little pinata while learning about the Hispanic culture.
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LibraryThing member susan.mccourt
This is a delightful view into the family of Carmen Lomas Garcia. The book shares 14 of her paintings, with a narrative in both English and Spanish explaining who is in the picture and what they are doing. We see a family at the carnival, children picking oranges, a cakewalk game at a fair. The pictures have many details that show us aspects of culture, such as dress, food, and toys. Some details reflect even more diversity, such as a woman on crutches at the fair who has one leg. Great care is taken to depict the diversity of this culture, and yet some of these details are also very universal and bring us together. A little girl stands on her father's shoes. A family gathers on the porch to eat watermelon on a hot night. Many of us can relate to these details, so the art celebrates both our differences and our common experiences. The stories behind each picture are wonderful. The author relates where she was in the scene, or where she was watching from. Sometimes she places herself in a scene through her imagination. This would be a good book to share with younger children as a way of talking about pictures and how to interpret what is happening in the picture. The description could be read after discussion. It would also be a good for studying Mexican-American culture or even the nature of different kinds of families.… (more)
LibraryThing member AmberTrujillo
Summary of book: This little girl gets to go and visit her grandparents. She gets to see how grandma makes chicken soup from scratch, including catching the chickens, making homemade tamales, and how to prepare cactus for eating. She enjoys spending time with her grandparents and the rest of her family.

Personal Reflection: My in-laws are Mexican, so I have had the opportunity to experience there culture hands on. I have been able to learn a lot about the differences from my culture and theirs and to also incorporate them into my own.

Extension Ideas: One idea for the classroom is to incorporate science by learning more about the cactus plants. Another idea is to have a family member who knows how to make tamales come in and teach the class how to make tamales and them make some as well.
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LibraryThing member MelissaPatek
This book was really a collection of memories by the author with accompanying illustrations. The main message of this story was about family. I enjoyed this book. One thing that I liked about the book was how the words really explained the illustration. The pictures did not really explain anything extra about the story. The author drew the picture and then wrote exactly what she drew. I have never read a story like that, so I thought it was interesting. A second thing I liked about this story was that it was written in both Spanish and English. The first paragraph explaining the illustration was written in English and the second was written in Spanish. I liked that the story had the full translation. A lot of books incorporate Spanish words into the English story, so I thought it was interesting to provide a full exact translation. It also made it easier to see the relationship between certain Spanish words and certain English words. It also really showed how important Spanish was to the author’s family.… (more)
LibraryThing member BrookeMattingly

Family Pictures (Cuadros de familia) is a bilingual artistic biography of the author’s depiction of her life growing up in a Mexican-American family in Kingsville, Texas (near the border of Mexico). The author writes this story first by painting pictures and then describing what is happening in each of the pictures. This story is like a collection of memories drawn and written. There is no chronological order to the sequence of events, but more of an overall account of her family’s customs and culture. She tells us about the local fair she used to attend with her family, the times spent with her grandparents, the different celebrations that her family and community attend and the different customs her family partakes in. The entire story acts as a small representation of her childhood, family life and community life.

Comments (opinions/arguments):

This story is a wonderful example of a great bilingual book. I feel like it’s hard to come across bilingual children’s picture books that incorporate the story both in English and another language. I really like how on each page, the English written part is at the top and the Spanish version is on the bottom. I think this is a great idea for both monolingual and bilingual children because they can practice either reading both versions. I also really enjoyed the wonderful and very detailed illustrations in this story. The author does a really good of depicting the story and what making the scenes look so real. After I read the descriptions, I can really get a feel for what it must’ve been like in her life by looking at the illustrations. Although many people might find it weird that she didn't exactly write a chronological story about her life and that it’s mostly just random memories, I still find it quite meaningful. I think she did a great job of describing her home life, family life, community life and her entire culture. The picture that made the most impact on me is the same picture that is on the front cover of the book. The picture depicts her entire family helping each other make tamales in the kitchen. She even says, “In some families just the women make tamales, but in our family everybody helps.” I think this really gives the reader an inside look at the culture of Mexican-Americans, but also at the differences even inside the same culture. I think this book does a really good job depicting Mexican-American families and their culture and could be beneficial to any child.
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LibraryThing member rebeccarodela
Family Pictures is an assortment of illustrations by the author that recalls various things from her childhood in Mexico and shows many customs that are tradition to both her family, as well as the entire Mexican culture as well. Garza even chooses to use her artwork to communicate culture in the mediums and execution of her work, using a technique involving paper cutting which is commonly aligned with the Latino culture.
I was able to revisit this book from my childhood and while it was nostalgic for me, the meaning and experience I received this time around was drastically different. Yes, there is still the sense I get that I can easily identify with the figures who are portrayed in the story. However, the customs, overarching values and significance of these things were more prominent for me. Reading a children's book about the memories and traditions of the author, I was able to make a deep connection and reflect about my own life. Having the capacity to create a reciprocal relationship with the content is something I feel makes Family Pictures widely accessible to audiences of all ages. Young people gain insight on the author and her personal background, while adults and older audiences can see how such things may or may not be similar in their own identities/ familial structures.
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(17 ratings; 4)
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