González, Lucía M. The Storyteller's Candle.Children's Book Press, 2008.
The storyline finds its basis in the “El Día de los Reyes” directly translated to “The Day of the Kings” Spanish holiday. The Spanish, especially the youngest generation who expect presents in celebration, hold the holiday in high consideration. The day is normally celebrated in many countries but is not a recognized holiday in the United States. The Storyteller’s candle shows a family that manages to do this with their families and friends.
Told as a narration by one of the story’s main characters, “The Storyteller's Candle” starts with the move a Puerto Rican family makes to the United States of America. Because of the Great Depression, the family settles in New York, a major change to Hildamar and Santiago. This is clear as they are shocked by the cold weather of New York in winter. The children express interest in a library they pass by everyday when going to school. Their aunt warns them against going into the library saying, “We don't speak English, and the people in there don't speak Spanish” This discourages the children from going into the library and they avoid the building whenever they walk to and from school.
One day, Belpré Pura, the first Puerto Rican to work for the New York City Public Library visits the children’s school. Belpré invites the children to visit the library. Hildamar and Santiago are excited because the invitation is issued in Spanish, and English. Belpré has started giving story hours in the library, bought Spanish books for the library, and applied cultural programs for the children and adults.
Hildamar and Santiago later inform the other Spanish families about the Library and the librarian and that Spanish is spoken in the building. Because of this, Hildamar, Santiago, and the other children go to the library for story hour. Belpré’s uses her puppets to tell Puerto Rican stories to the children making them feel like they are back in Puerto Rico. Among the stories, is that of the “The Storyteller’s Candle” That explains to the children that they need to blow out a candle for their wishes to come true. Later, Belpré decides to hold the “Día de los Reyes” holiday in the library. The Spanish families come together in the library and the older members help decorate the area and make costumes for the celebrations. In the end, all the Spanish Speaking families are able to enjoy the holiday.
The book is popular among the Spanish children because in its original version, there is a natural flow of Spanish words. This is different when compared to the English version that lacks the needed flow and words are sometimes misinterpreted. The narration is also told through the eyes of two children who move to a new country. This allows children to relate to the plot through the children. Finally yet importantly is the story itself, because it follows a new theme. This is as a result of the idea of having the “Día de los Reyes” holiday in a country that does not celebrate said holiday. The storyline is different and allows children to have a unique narrative. Because it is in Spanish, it is possible that Puerto Rican parents and schools encourage the children to read the story. Therefore helping them know more about Spanish culture.
González, Lucía M. The Storyteller's Candle. New York: Children's Book Press, 2008. Print.