Fiesta Fireworks

by George Ancona

Caren's father, grandfather, and uncles earn their living by making fireworks,... read more

Caren's father, grandfather, and uncles earn their living by making fireworks, as do many of the men in the small town of Tultepec, Mexico, which supplies most of the fireworks used in local festivals all over Mexico. The fireworks we see them making in the first half of this photo-essay, however, are special: they're being made for Tultepec's own fiesta, to celebrate the town's patron saint, San Juan de Dios, the protector of pirotecnicos, those who make fireworks. Through Caren's eyes and George Ancona's vibrant and lively color photographs, we see all the preparations leading up to the fiesta, including the construction of a castillo, a tower of fireworks that will be used in the fiesta finale. On the day of the fiesta, activities begin at dawn with a procession through town on an elaborately decorated path made of colored sawdust and culminate in a spectacular fireworks display as soon as the sun goes down. Ancona's photographs are filled with cultural detail specific to the Tultepec festival; in addition, they capture the universal thrill of a dazzling fireworks display, as well as Caren's childlike anticipation and excitement surrounding the events. (Ages 5-10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1998

show less