Carmen Teresa's house rocks to the beat of Salsa music as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbors from all over Latin America arrive in their Silver Spring, Maryland home. Together they cook, gossip, play dominos, dance, and enjoy the warmth of this special New Year's Day celebration.

When Doña Josefa gives Carmen Teresa a blank notebook as a present, the guests suggest that she fill it with stories that they remember from their own childhoods. And from there, everyone from this charming cast of characters has a unique story to tell. When everyone is finished, Carmen Teresa has her own idea of how she will fill her book. She has enjoyed everyone's stories. But since she loves to cook, and each storyteller has mentioned foods associated with the particular occasion in their stories, she decides to create a cook book and write down all of their recipes. And, of course, recipes are included at the end of the book.

The stories and recipes represent five Latin American countries including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Guatamala, and Peru.


The PRocess



I’ve always thought there is a connection between certain foods you love and fond memories. This collection started with a question I posed to family and friends. I asked, can you think of a food that brings you good memories of your childhood? I wrote down their memories, mixed them with what I knew of traditions highlighted in them and added my imagination. That’s a recipe for a short story!



Choosing a style and medium to illustrate Salsa Stories was not easy. The book had to be done in black and white, but the stories I had written were so full of color!

However, I'm known to love a challenge, so I decided to use textures as my colors. Since many of the stories are set in Latin America in the 1940's, and I admire the woodcut illustrations of the times, I opted to carve linoleum blocks for my illustrations. This kind of printing is uncommon in children's books. I am sure the fact that it takes so long to carve each block has something to do with it. It took me one week to carve and print each 5” X 7” illustration for the book!





45 min. We explore how special foods spark fond family memories, and how these memories can be transformed into stories. A reading of a story, an explanation of the creative process behind the book and the powerful role of family anecdotes. A slide show explains the printing process used for the illustrations
Recommended for grades 3-5.



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.



90 min. We explore What? or Why? as prompts for fiction writing. Lulu introduces both books and the questions that prompted each collection of stories. Then we explore how special foods spark fond family memories, and how these memories can be transformed into stories. Lulu guides families to begin crafting their own short story or poem using the remembered, the known, and the imagined. The youngest ones can help with illustrations. Materials provided by the host. Perfect to encourage literacy during Family Nights!



reviews + AWARDS

CCBC Choices
IRA Notable Book for a Global Society
CBC Notable Children’s Book in the field of social studies
NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
IRA Outstanding International Books
Américas Award Commended Title
Críticas Best Book of 2002
Crown Award Nominee

★ "This compilation of stories provides excellent insight into a variety of Latin American cultures and traditions. Characters come from places as diverse as Argentina, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico in this entertaining reverie of family traditions and the good old days." –Críticas Magazine starred review

“Cleverly conceived, the vignettes in this collection of evocative, often touching Latin American short stories connect with a larger fictional narrative and feature a culinary delight (recipes included).”–Kirkus Reviews

“…Delacre's narrative shapes an appealing portrait of several generations from all over the globe, uniting in a close-knit family…” –Publisher’s Weekly

“…an outstanding book….The most consistent themes through all of the stories in Salsa Stories are community, family, and a truly touching respect and affection for the elderly.”–The Internet Writing Journal