Lisa and Michel Zajur’s The Piñata Story (2018)

The Pinata StoryThe Piñata Story (2018), written by Lisa and Michel Zajur and illustrated by Samira Mobayed Murray, explores the cultural history of piñatas while introducing young readers to Spanish vocabulary.

Mobayed Murray’s luscious illustrations of brightly colored homes and storefronts transport readers to an idyllic pueblo in Mexico where they are introduced to a young boy named Pepe. Pepe recently developed some bad habits and is ignoring his parents. Concerned with Pepe’s behavior, his parents seek wisdom through prayer at the iglesia.

While walking home, Pepe’s father is inspired to teach his son a lesson about temptation by making him a piñata. He purchases a clay pot and creates a piñata by hand. Rich illustrations depict Pepe’s father making the brightly colored star-shaped work of art that he then fills with dulces.

When it is completed, Pepe’s father shows him the piñata and explains that it represents temptation. He tells his son that he must be guided by faith to do what is right. Corresponding images show long-haired Mexican angels tying a blindfold over Pepe’s eyes. Pepe’s father allows him to hit the piñata at a community fiesta revealing its delicioso treats.

I read this delightful story with my four-year-old. He was proud to recognize so many Spanish words and excited to see detailed directions for creating a piñata at the back of the book! I was impressed with the thorough and thoughtful backmatter, which includes more information about the history of the piñata, song lyrics, and a glossary.

I highly recommend this book for elementary schools and homeschooling families. It can be used to introduce children to Spanish words including primary colors, to discuss cultural traditions, and as a prompt for an art project. It also imparts an accessible moral lesson about doing what is right. I’m glad to have this in my collection and will definitely be making a piñata with my little one!

For more educational resources by the authors check out their website:!

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