A Gift from Abuela

By Cecilia Ruiz — Candlewick Press, 2018

The day Niña is born is one of the happiest of Abuela’s life. She adores having a granddaughter. As Niña grows, the pair spends much time together, making cutout paper banners called papel picado and eating pan dulce in the park. Abuela decides she would like to give Niña a very special gift, so she begins to save a few pesos a week in a jar on top of the refrigerator. But times get hard in Mexico. Some weeks, Abuela can barely afford food, let alone savings. She has to work more, so she has less time for an older Niña, who wants to spend her free time with her friends anyway.

One day, Niña realizes how long it has been since she has seen Abuela, so she goes to her house. Abuela is out, and Niña decides to surprise her by tidying up. She discovers the jar of pesos, now worthless because Mexican currency has changed. When Abuela returns to a clean kitchen, she and Niña decide to do something they always loved: they make papel picado from the old pesos and enjoy their time together.

This intergenerational tale is a reminder that togetherness is the best gift and that we can still enjoy the simple things, even as time changes both us and the world around us.