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Grandpa Lolo's Matanza

Region: North America, U.S., New Mexico

Author: Nasario Garcia

Original Language: Bilingual: Spanish-English

Translators: Nasario Garcia

Illustrator: Dolores Aragón

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Descriptors: family; matanzas; pigs; traditions  

Age: 10-12 years old


Grandpa Lolo’s Matanza by Nasario Garcia is a picture book that describes what it’s like growing up a ranchero in New Mexico. Junie, an eight-year-old boy lives with his family and extended family on a large farm. Towards late October, Junie’s grandfather prepares for his annual matanza. A matanza is a gathering of families and sometimes towns around the killing of a pig. In the story, Junie struggles with understanding why the pigs he took care of all year must be killed. His family explains to him that the animals must die in order to feed them, “Pa vivir, hay que morir.” Junie learns the difficulties of the circle of life, and enjoys a cultural celebration that’s been happening for decades. The book also explores the many dishes that New Mexican families prepare with pork meat like tamales, posole, menudo, and morcillas. You can find recipes for those dishes at the back of the book. Overall, the book is on the longer side with 70 pages, and a lot of informational text. Not to mention, the book does deal with difficult topics like the killing of animals. However, ranchero or ranch life in New Mexico does include matanzas and other animal offerings. Therefore, this book might be best for children ages 10 to 12. The artwork, a vibrant autumn palette, is what brings the story to life via eBook or print book.

More About This Book

Reviewed: print book by Rio Grande Books (2016). ISBN 9781936744473. 70 p. 

Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez 

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