Calling the Doves: El Canto de Las Palomas

by Juan Felipe Herrera

Hardcover, 1995



Local notes

921 HER


Children's Book Press (CA) (1995), 30 pages


The author recalls his childhood in the mountains and valleys of California with his farmworker parents who inspired him with poetry and song.


Original language


Physical description

30 p.; 10.05 inches


0892391324 / 9780892391325



User reviews

LibraryThing member DHARDY
A boy’s original recounting of his sensitive migrant Mexican Family’s crossing the border from Mexico to work in the fields of California picking fruits and vegetables for a living. The boy reminisces about his childhood recalling the early morning breakfast under the blue skies, the gathering of friends for parties, his father songs, and his mother’s healing traditions. His childhood opened up the way for him to explore the world.

I like this story because it shows some of the sacrifices this Family had to make in order to survive in America without losing the love and affection they had for each other or their traditions.

This book can be used to discuss various cultures and their traditions.
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LibraryThing member Randalea
A comforting tale of growing up as the son of a migrant farmer from Mexico. The word choices and languages are as colorful as the illustrations!
LibraryThing member MaowangVater
In this 1995 memoir the poet laureate (of California in 2012, and of the United States in 2015) recalls his pre-school childhood while traveling with his parents, migrant farmworkers, from crop to crop in California. He remembers, sleeping under the stars, the call of wolves at night, the turkeys who chased him, and his father singing like a dove and his mother spontaneously reciting poetry at dinner, and the colors of everything.

Simmons’s bright palette and sweeping lines beautifully vivify the illustrations.
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LibraryThing member emgalford
Herrera, J.F. (2001). Calling the doves: El canto de las palomas. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press.

In Calling the Doves: El Canto de las Palomas, the author tells the story of his childhood through the use of words and vibrant illustrations. The author, Juan Herrera, grew up in a small migrant family that traveled throughout the United States. During the story, he reminisces about childhood memories from that time. He discusses memories such as sitting around the breakfast table, moving from different farms, and his mother’s ability to cure sick children and animals. He shares with the readers details of his culture and how his childhood helped shape him into the adult he is today. This is a timeless story that can be appreciated by readers of all times and places. Herrera’s words serve as a diary of his childhood as a migrant worker. These are his memories and they are a wonderful tool for readers to learn about the migrant worker culture through the first hand experience of the author. This book is the winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.

This story is told in both English and Spanish. Each page contains both languages and a vibrant illustration depicting the author’s words. This book is an excellent tool for any library where there are Spanish speaking patrons. It can be used by Spanish speaking patrons as a learning tool for learning to speak English, as well as a learning tool for English speaking patrons to learn Spanish. In a school library or classroom, this book can be used to teach about the Latino culture. Not only are students being exposed to stories of migrant workers, they are also being exposed to the Spanish language and Latino art.
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(10 ratings; 4.4)
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