"Mila's Mask" -- a children's book by Peggy Stein
Mila's Mask/La Máscara de Mila was written by Mexico By Hand's founder, Peggy Stein. It's the story of a little girl in the United States who spends a great deal of time at her grandparent's house which is full of colorful Mexican folk art. The bilingual book features color photographs of crafts and artisans, and is intended for teachers and parents to read aloud to children-- providing an opportunity for language learning as well an appreciation for Mexican folk art.
Author's note-- Why I wrote this book:
"I used to think that the only thing Mexico By Hand had of interest to kids were the Ocumicho clay whistles. Then our granddaughter Mila arrived and I noticed her fascination with many of our other pieces of folk art and crafts. As a newborn, she intently focused her gaze on our brightly colored figures, skeletons, and masks. She wasn’t frightened by them-- they enthralled her. As Mila grew more verbal, she enjoyed interacting with them. And then there was a point when she didn’t want to leave the room after her nap (which was our gallery) because she insisted on looking at the pottery on the shelves. I couldn’t believe it really. It was then I realized our little two year old granddaughter was a fan of Mexican folk art and crafts."
"There’s another story as well. We’re losing many of our master artisans, some recently to Covid, and many others are aging and unfortunately their children aren’t choosing to continue the work. Those of us who appreciate beautiful things made by hand are concerned. I want to share the passion I have for Mexican artesania with the world, and also tell a personal story about my granddaughter Mila."
Bilingual English/Spanish. Recommended ages 4-8. Softcover, 21 pages. *See sample pages below. We'll mail First Class to anywhere in the U.S.
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Everything I have purchased from Mexico by Hand over a few years and every interaction with Peggy has been wonderful! I really appreciate that she has direct, personal relationships with the artisans so I feel comfortable they are being paid fairly and respectfully for their art. Her book, "Mila's Mask" has been enjoyed by both the adults and kids we gave it too. Especially those adults who have traveled to Mexico and want to share it with the kids in their life. I really appreciated the statements that "making artesania is very hard work and takes alot of time" and buying their work helps to continue that work. One of my favorite parts of the book is the "About the artesania" page~ she actually knows the artists!
This book is a must read for every child in your life! It teaches all the messages that children need to hear over and over, and the story of little Mila visiting her grandparents--with all the wonders of their home--is captivating! The vivid photos that accompany the story provide for wonderful discussions between child and parent about cultures, families, art and history. Truly a pleasure to savor and a great teaching tool with enchantment and fun for anyone who reads it!
"Mila's Mask" is a charming little book that I think not only children would enjoy but adults also. The photos are beautiful and the text, written in English and in Spanish, is very interesting. Anyone interested in the arts of México will enjoy this book and children will love the little story of Mila. I bought this book thinking I would give it to a child but now it sits on my coffee table and when guests come and look through they all enjoy it. Happy reading everyone!
Mila’s Mask opens a child’s mind to exploring and understanding craft and the rich traditions and lives of its artisans. Mila’s Mask by Peggy Stein is a great primer to stimulate young children’s curiosity, creativity, and imagination as they connect with art. With beautiful photos, glossary, resource list, and short biographies of the artists, Peggy Stein opens an universe of endless possibilities for a child to learn about the world near and far to them.
What a delightful bilingual book that ties together Mexican folk art with our contemporary lives!