¡Vamos a jugar! is a wonderful book featuring a collection of traditional games played by kids in Puerto Rico. It was written by Josefina Barcelo Jimenez and illustrated by Juan Alvarez O’Neill. I had never heard of this book until my mom sent it for Diego. It was a lovely surprise to see that this book exists. It helped jog my memory to all those games that I used to play as a child. Some of the games I had never heard of (or just don’t remember playing) but a lot of them were childhood staples.
The book is a collection of these games along with explanations as to how they are played. Each game has an illustration that goes with it. It’s a simple book but a great resource. I can see this being used by parents and teachers alike. Older children can read for themselves and then try out the games. A great activity that involves, reading, reading comprehension, following instructions and teamwork.
Playing games was such a big part of my own childhood. I played outside a lot. I wonder if Diego will have that experience. Part of me knows that things are different now and that he probably will not enjoy a lot of the activities I once took for granted. I hope that this book (and books like it) can change that. That it will serve as a reminder of the wonderful games we once played as children. Right now, Diego is too young for most of these games but I will treasure this book and pull it out often as he grows up.
The illustrations are one of my favorite aspects of the book mainly because they reflect the many different shades of Puerto Ricans! Often times media is whitewashed and so I was happy to see different skin tones and hair textures featured in these illustrations. I think that’s important.