LITTLE JUAN LEARNS A LESSON
A Bilingual Story for Children
“Joseph Ruiz’s simple little morality tale, long popular in the Santa Fe elementary schools, is now in print so it can be shared with more kids. And publication is timely.
“The story of nine-year-old Juan takes place on Halloween in the fictional northern New Mexico village of Lomas. October 31 also happens to be his father’s birthday. Juan takes his 25 cents to buy his dad something at Mr. Ortiz’s store. But the mean store owner has nothing Juan can buy his dad for that price and Ortiz won’t consider letting the boy do chores to earn money to buy something more expensive.
“On the way back home, a dejected Juan, having heard stories of strange things that can happen on Halloween, encounters a headless man, a mouthless man and an eyeless man in a cemetery. Each imparts a lesson of living a moral life, which results in a happy ending for Juan. But the title is misleading because it’s actually Mr. Ortiz who learns a lesson about righteous living through Juan.”
—David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal
“From Joseph J. Ruiz, a native New Mexican, comes a story written in both English and Spanish. The story is said to be a favorite of elementary school children in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Almost a Spanish version of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ the narration teaches a lesson of not letting eyes, ears, and mouths be used for being unkind. A good story to read aloud.
--Shiloh Richter Pivoda, Books of the Southwest
“This little book has a good chance of becoming a classic southwestern children’s story. It has already become a favorite for the children to whom Ruiz as a volunteer teacher and storyteller has told the tale of young Juan. The book is bilingual. A. Samuel Adelo had done the translation into Spanish. An added attraction to the book are charming illustrations by the well-known New Mexican artist, Kris Hotvedt.”
--Marcia Muth, “Book Chat,” Enchantment