Arrorró mi niño

Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games

arroro mi nino lulu delacre childrens book latino lullabies and gentle games


Arrorró, mi niño — Hush-a-bye, my child

It's time to go to bed, and what better way to lull your child to sleep than with a tender song or gentle game? In this beautiful collection of classic Latino lullabies and games, mothers and children happily embrace and treasure their traditions while sharing the universal joy of the special bond between parent and child.

Arrorró, mi niño, Lulu Delacre's loving tribute to Latinos from all walks of American life, is sure to become a favorite with everyone who has a precious little child to love, cuddle, and sing to. Both the Spanish and English versions can easily be sung with the melodies at the back of the book.


The PRocess



I noticed there was a lack of bedtime book for Latino parents living in the United States.  I feel very strongly that as we Latinas raise our children in the US between two cultures, we must keep our traditions and folklore alive and pass them on to our young. It is the way to give children roots, specially as they learn to cherish the language and culture of the United States.

This collection of well-known lullabies and gentle games has been carefully conceived. The research for the songs started as I poured over anthologies, reminisced with relatives and friends, and finally crafted a survey intended to be answered by Latinas of all walks of life from all across America. Seventy-five women from 14 different Latin American countries, answered my survey. As I read their responses, I sometimes discovered charming new versions of a lullaby or game. I ended arranging the material so it could be enjoyed in one seating.

Once I had the final selection, I went to my local library to share them with parents and children during “cuddle up hour.” To see parents and toddlers of all ethnicities enjoying the inherited lore of so many of us living now in the USA, was priceless.  



I spent a long time thinking how best to illustrate this collection. Eventually I realized that what I wanted to show was that there are all sorts of Latinos embedded in the American fabric. I spent two years sketching mothers and their babies. I visited Latino markets, Latino neighborhoods, parks, public libraries, and schools. I have pictures of Latinas working in the strawberry fields, out shopping, in the art museum or the park. 

One winter day that I was driving home I saw a beautiful mother crossing the avenue. Her dark hair woven into a tight braid fell across her back, reaching past her flimsy sweater. She had a long black skirt sprinkled with red flowers and in her arms held a baby swaddled in a pink blanket. She looked out of place, dressed in Guatemalan garb, standing on the snowy sidewalk. 

I made a u-turn, parked and walked towards her. Introduced myself I and asked for permission to take her picture. She embodied what I wanted to portray in this book, Latinas of all social classes and origins and shades, united in the love for our children and heritage.

The photographs I took and  sketches I made, helped me create the art. First, I primed bristol board with gesso. Then, I gave texture to the background with broad brush strokes. Finally, I applied a base color before I started painting in oil washes thinned with turpentine. I wanted richness in texture and depth in color; mimicking with my technique what I imagined was the lives of these women. I paid close attention to the facial expressions and body gestures of my characters in order to portray the strong bond that occurs between mother and child as they are enveloped in a game or lullaby. 

Each picture is a glimpse of an intimate moment between parent and child.





45 min. Lulu teaches gentle games from Arrorró mi niño, tells the story behind the creation of Arroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America, and dances game-songs from Arroz con Leche and Shake it, Morena! with selected students. Recommended for Pre K-1.



45 min. Join Lulu as she plays some of the song games of Arrorro mi niño, and reads one of the stories of Rafi and Rosi: Pirates! Learn about her latest collection, Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young LatinosA perfect program for Libraries or School Family Nights.


30 to 45 min. This presentation focuses on the books Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle GamesArroz con Leche: Popular Songs and Rhymes from Latin America and Salsa Stories. I explain why I felt the need to create Arroz con Leche. I share some of the gentle games of Arrorró. I read a story from Salsa Stories and explain how I created the art. We end dancing the arroz con leche game song. With the host's help, a sampling of Salsa Stories' recipes may be offered. 
Recommended for all ages including adults. A perfect program for Libraries or School Family Nights.



reviews + AWARDS


A 2006 Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration

“Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games,” a bilingual collection of traditional Latino games and lullabies, is a tribute to motherhood. Delacre’s soft and tender illustrations celebrate the Latino family in a wide variety of settings. The combination of delicate and glowing colors makes each illustration warm and full of appeal. –American Library Association