Every December, Grandma Lupita tells Rose the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As they make paper flowers together to put around her statue, Grandma begins: Long ago, on a cold December morning near what is now Mexico City, a man named Juan Diego put on his cloak and started down the road. On his way, Juan Diego sees a beautiful Lady surrounded by light, her cloak shining with stars. She tells him to go to the bishop and ask that a special church be built just for her. But Juan Diego is not a rich or influential man. How will he convince the bishop that la hermosa Señora has appeared to him? And when the bishop demands proof, how can Juan Diego ask the kind Lady for a sign? The miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the best-known manifestation of the Virgin Mary in the Americas. Renowned author Pat Mora and the award-winning Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher bring this story-dearly loved in Mexico and around the world-to young readers with inviting, lyrical prose and stunningly rich illustrations.
Regardless of your beliefs, the tale of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a fascinating one, the author gives it a warm treatment befitting the beloved material. A framing device aims the story at young readers: two little girls look at a small statue of the Virgin Mary and ask Grandma Lupita, "Who's that pretty lady?" So begins the tale: Juan Diego, the humble Aztec villager who, in December 1531, encountered a beautiful, floating woman who asked him to get the local bishop to build her a church. After the bishop demanded proof, the woman revealed to Diego a field of roses blooming despite the snow. When Diego unfolded his cloak to show the bishop the flowers, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was miraculously imprinted upon the cactus-fiber cloth. The author approaches the story without tricks, using simple, delicate language, while the illustrators employ aged-looking earth-toned paintings and surround them with patterned borders when depicting the past. A two-page author's note fleshes out the tale and describes Our Lady's continuing influence.