Colores de la Vida

Mexican Folk Art Colors in Spanish and English

By: Cynthia Weill
Illustrator: Oaxacan Artists
Colors in Spanish and English, a book for kids as colorful as a rainbow.


The Making of Colores Artwork

Colors in Spanish and English — a book for kids as colorful as a rainbow.

  Little kids love colors, they love animals, and they love the sounds of words. Especially new words. Colores de la Vida,the third in the highly successful series First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art, combines all these elements to teach early learners about color. Leggy red giraffes, pink cows, purple rabbits, the Oaxacan folk artists who contributed to this book unleashed their imaginations and went wild with color. Young children will delight in the bright colors of the Oaxacan rainbow while folk art collectors will marvel at the whimsical handcrafts. But the simplicity of a book like Colores de la Vida belies the years of research and thoughtful intercultural communication with third-world artists done by Cynthia Weill. As an art historian, she has always been interested in the crafts of developing nations. Weill's intention with Colores de la Vida, and its predecessors in the series, ABeCedarios and Opuestos, has been to find an educational purpose for the work of Oaxacan artisans. She hopes to open up a larger, more international market for their craft.
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Cynthia Weill is a professor and mentor to teachers at Columbia University's Teachers College. She also owns a business—Aid to Women Artisans—that promotes the craftwork of artisans from developing countries. Colores de la Vida is her third book in the First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series.

Awards and Accomodations

Blue Ribbon Books of 2009, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books at the University of Illinois in Champaign

4 reviews for Colores de la Vida

  1. Publishers Weekly
    This color-themed companion to ABeCedarios (2007) and Opuestos (2009) also features the handiwork of Oaxacan sculptors, who contribute stylized and vibrantly painted creatures that show off each color to its fullest and are set against marbled backdrops of the same hue…the sculptures are hypnotic.

    Hypnotic. The word is hypnotic … From full-color spread to full-color spread, Cynthia Weill uses hypnotic photographs of folk art figures from artisans from Oaxaca to illustrate the beauty, art, and vibrancy of the Colores de la vida, colors of life, in an unforgettable book as much about the wonder of the ways we can imagine the world around us as about names of colors … Each page captures a sense of wonder, of the vibrancy of color, the imagination of the artist, the name of the hue. Colors take life in this small picture book, perfect for small hands, in an astonishing pairing of visual intimacy and artistic joy that make this one of the most distinctive recent books on color – in English or otherwise.

  3. San Diego Red
    El formato brilla por su sencillez: cada página está ilustrada por animales de artesanía [Oaxaqueña] que corresponden al color destacado.

  4. De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children
    In Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish the animals—done in different techniques this time—are mostly displayed on background colors that correspond to the animals themselves. So, for instance, two purple bunnies (with orange carrots, which add some contrast and realism) sit on and opposing a “purple / morado” background, and a glorious orange lion (with a full mane and what appear to be actual orange slices as ears and eyes) sits on an “orange / anaranjado” background. I especially like the question at the end (with a cow and her calf on a green background and the lettering on a blue background): “Can you say all the colors in Spanish? / ¿Puedes nombrar todos los colores en inglés?” —Beverly Slapin

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