Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Module 3: Song of the Swallows

Citation: Politi, L. (1948). Song of the swallows. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Summary: A sweet story about a young boy named Juan who lives in a mission in California.  Through visiting with his friend Julian, the Mission Capistrano’s gardener, Juan learns how to garden and about the swallows that come back every spring around St. Joseph’s Day.  Juan enjoys the life in the mission which involves spending time with Julian and after learning about gardening, he plants his own garden with hope that his loved swallows will one day visit it.  Juan gets his wish when the following year some swallows make a nest near his garden.

Impression: Peace and a Mission Lover’s Must Read!
I was able to connect with this story being a native San Antonian who has taken many a field trip to the various missions. The illustrations of life on the mission grounds are very detailed and stunningly beautiful. It is interesting to think about how life living in a mission would be like.  The cultural elements within this story remind me of my own heritage and how generations before me lived. I must admit that this book is not for everyone, but being that I have grown up around the missions and have attended church masses in Mission San Juan, I truly appreciate the beautiful story.

Reviews: Another beautiful book from the author-illustrator of Pedro and Juanita. Again there is a great deal of charm and poetic sense of people and nature that text and pictures combine to convey. Juan is a small boy in Capistrano, who loves the tales of old mission days told him by the Mission bell ringer, Julian. Each year the bells ring when the swallows come back on St. Joseph's day. This is the story of the year Juan waited and watched for the birds, and prepared a garden to attract them to his rosevines. A simple story, which sensitive, beauty loving children will enjoy. And- as before- the exquisite pictures in muted tones are in key with the text.

Kirkus reviews. (n. d.). Song of swallows. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/leo-politi-2/song-of-the-swallows/

Use in Library: - This book would be perfect to use as a read aloud to provide background information for a field trip to a local San Antonio mission or missions in California.  After the field trip a discussion follow up would be to compare the illustrations and changes that have occurred since people no longer live on the missions. Another history topic would be to discuss what types of daily activities occurred when people lived within missions.

-A read aloud as an introduction to a unit on the migration of birds or gardening.

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