A Tale From The Fields

A Migrant's Tale

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.

Love you,


labor camp lolita
Tia Carmen, Tio Art, and mi mama (Lolita)

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.


18 replies to “A Tale From The Fields

  1. I’ll need to read this, sounds a little like what I grew up with. My mom would always tell us the story of the Llorona, which really scared us. Thank you for visiting my blog!


  2. I once met in person (and shook the hand) of Cesar Chavez (San Diego,1989) after he had given a speech at San Diego State.
    I was so honoured that day for skipping work to attend with another friend (who was actually from Panama….) But still in the U.S. Navy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m doing my best to hang on to the good ones while letting the others go. Sometimes the tendency is to ruminate over the hurt and then the good things get lost, you know?


  3. Sandra—- here is a phrase you may have heard — te rayaste! You outdid yourself! This is such a beautiful story about your mother. I can’t wait to read more. I am so happy when I see children’s books that tell our shared story. There really weren’t any I remember growing up. Your daughter is lucky! Have a great day amiga 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Estimada Estelita, muchisimas gracias amiga miya. I’m so glad you enjoyed my little folktale. I get so excited to find children stories that resemble our heritage. I agree, I don’t know of any that may have been floating around out there when I was growing up either. Take good care friend. I really appreciate your friendship.


    1. I hope they enjoy it! I can’t wait to read it with Oliva and her abuelita. It’s probably the perfect level for you grandkids. Oliva has maybe a couple more years before she’s ready for it. xoxo


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