Amadito and the Hero Children
Lamadrid, Enrique R. illustratons by Amy Córdova. Amadito and the Hero Children / Amadito y los Niños Héroes. University of New Mexico Press, 2011.
Written after the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, this is just as appropriate a story now as it was then. Weaving the stories of the 1918 influenza epidemic and the smallpox epidemics of the early 1800s, Lamadrid introduces us to the public health issues facing those in New Mexico and the scientific and folk remedies used at the time.
In the afterword, Michael León Trujillo starts his essay on Global Pandemics and Remedios Nuevomexicanos by saying: "At first glance, global epidemics on influenza and smallpox may seem difficult or even callous subjects for a children's book. But in Amadito and the Hero Children, they fuel an amazing story appropriate and inspiring for children and adults alike." He continues further on: "Children have long told and retold stories of hope and pain. Through their eyes complex concepts become accessible." This is indeed an accessible story discussing, among other topics, the children who bravely transported the smallpox vaccine from Mexico's interior to New Mexico in 1805 and the protagonist José Amado "Amadito" Domínguez--a real child of the flu epidemic era who would later become Taos County's first nuevomexicano physician.
I have to admit, I learned a lot from this bilingual story, and after I told my family about the story, we had a great discussion about the story, history, and what is happening in today's world.
Included at back of the book is a more extensive history of the 1918 influenza pandemic, the smallpox epidemics, vaccination, variolation, folk remedies, local history, and more. Lamadrid also includes a glossary a bibliography for further reading on the topics.
Review by Cassandra E. Osterloh, Librarian, NHCC.
Book available at the NHCC Library:
Pic Bk PZ73 .L2777 2011