Title: Little Gold Star A Spanish American Cinderella Tale
Author: Robert D. San Souci
Illustrator: Sergio Martinez
Publisher & Publication Date: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000
Genre: Multicultural, traditional literature, picture book
Grade Level: 2-5
Summary: This story starts by Teresa losing her mother and her father wanting to re-marry. He re-marries to a mean woman who has two daughters. They all treat Teresa badly. There is a fiesta being held in honor of the patron saint of the town and Teresa is not allowed to attend. At night Miguel opens his house to the people of the community and looks for the girl with the gold star on her head. Teresa was given the gold start by the Blessed Mary for her kind heart. She is pushed out of the house by her step-mother, so then Miguel starts to look for her. He goes to her house and her step-mother locks her in a small room. The cat ends up telling Miguel she is there and he finds her. He then requests her hand in marriage and her step-mother gives her three tasks that seem impossible to do before she will be allowed to marry Miguel. She is helped by the Blessed Mary and is successful at all of the tasks. They were then married and lived happily ever after.
Response: I thought this was a gorgeous book. The images were amazing. They were produced using watercolors. Most of the illustrations are dark, even the cover of the book. The only bright images are the last two pages of illustrations. They are also the happiest of all the pages in the story. I noticed a difference in the version of Cinderella that I have been brought up hearing and this Cinderella. This has different cultural markers in it, names, religious aspects, and some of the words and expressions used. This might be a difficult book to use in the classroom because it does involve religion. It talks about Blessed Mary. That would be my only concern about using this book in my classroom.
Teaching Ideas: Have your students write their own Cinderella story! Read several different variations of Cinderella and let the children explore concepts from the different tales. Once many versions have been read, allow students to research different cultures and start creating their own version of Cinderella. They will create a picture book of their Cinderella story so tell them to be as creative as possible!