Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote, A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh, Abrams Books 2013
I found this beautiful book that I can’t wait to share with you when you are older. It’s called Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote, A Migrant’s Tale. What a great way to share a bit of our family story with you. The illustrations are as brilliant as the writing. Your (Gram)Mita loves to tell stories in this tradition as well. Her favorites to share are spooky ghost stories. Not just a little scary either. She would tell tales that were so detailed and frightening I would clench my eyes shut in a futile attempt to blunt the vivid imagery. I will spare you that fear and instead share a more curious than scary story that your Mita once told me. I hope you like it. But first you must know that before your gramita or as you call her, “Mita” was a wife or a mother or your grandmother she was a little girl just like you. In this story she is Lolita, which was her nickname when she was only a little flower growing up in the fields of the central valley.
Was it a Dream?
As migrant farm laborers do, Lolita’s family followed the work which meant moving often from crop to crop and farm to farm. Housing situations varied at each job site. Some “residences” had dirt floors, some were little cabins without refrigerators so the family’s milk and other perishables would have to be stored on the window sill; the coolest spot available. One night Lolita awoke thirsty. She approached the window to get a drink and immediately noticed a nearby palm tree ablaze, igniting the night sky and producing plumes of smoke that irritated her eyes and filled her lungs causing her to retch and tear up. She awoke her exhausted Tio who took some time to gather himself from his deep slumber that only manual laborers experience. He stumbled to the window and attempted to rub the sleep from his eyes before saying, “Que es Lolita?” To which Lolita exclaimed, “Mira Tio!” as she pointed into the darkness. Her eyes grew wide with disbelief as she noticed the burning palm was no longer on fire.