‘Twas Nochebuena: A Christmas Story in English and Spanish by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Sara Palacios
Originally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” Clement Clarke Moore first shared his iconic poem with his children on Christmas Eve of 1822. Better known by the first line, “’Twas the night before Christmas …,” the poem was published a year later, grew in popularity, but was not attached to Moore’s name until 1844 when he published his collection, Poems. For almost two centuries, the poem has been synonymous with the anticipation of Christmas Eve – for both children and adults alike.
Countless variations, spin-offs, and even spoofs throughout the decades have kept the poem well-esconced in our imaginations. This recent version is surely one of many, many out there, but it distinguishes itself with much-welcomed features that acknowledge and celebrate multiple languages and cultures, seamlessly presented for today’s 21st-century multi-culti readers.
Welcome to Nochebuena, a Christmas Eve of deliciously epic proportions. Only samples are offered below, but you’ve still got just enough time to add this literary treat to your table this week …
and all through our casa,
every creature was kneading tamale masa.
For one of our holiday tradiciones,
is making tamales – not one, but montones!
Getting hungry yet?
And every last person, both chicks and chicos,
is needed to make our tamales taste ricos.
In all-family preparation,
Our lovely adornos are hung up with cheer,
in hopes that amigos soon will be here.
Out in the neighborhood,
From casa to casa, parading we go,
remembering stories from days long ago.
Back at the house,
We clink our glass marbles and play lotería
while singing and laughing – qué maravilla!
The festivities are just beginning … read on and make merry you own Nochebuena!
Around-the-world author Roseanne Greenfield Thong’s search for holiday tamales turned “sugarplums” to something more savory: “Visions of tamales turned into visions of buñuelos, piñatas, posadas, and more!” she explains in her “Author’s Note.” Versatile artist Sara Palacios took Thong’s playful transformation and enhanced the new verses with a sprawling, diverse cast of extended family and friends who share a very special evening preparing, gathering, cooking, visiting, toasting, praying, eating, cheering … and finally sleeping. The result is a jubilant, mirthful feast to be shared again and again indeed.
Happy, healthy, peaceful blessings and much joy, joy, joy!