San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bilingual Children’s Book Makes Great Gift

Finding gifts for children here used to be a chore when it came to books about Costa Rica. No longer so. Recently, Gloria Macaya presented three soft-cover, illustrated books that describe life in Costa Rica years ago and in particular the “adventures” of one of her older sisters, Enriqueta, who died young.

To help keep memories of Enriqueta alive, Macaya began by telling her nieces and nephews stories about their mother. She then wrote the stories down and, with her skillful hand, illustrated many of the stories in watercolors.

The books tell of Enriqueta’s mishaps during holidays, Easter, Christmas and family trips to the beach, such as the tree falling down no fewer than three times one Christmas, and a crocodile eating her brand-new sandals on a trip to Puntarenas.

Concerned that the stories might be popular with her family, but not children at large, and that they might also be dated, Macaya visited schools and read many of her stories aloud. The children’s responses helped her better develop some of the adventures and eliminate others. Eventually, a first book was created, then a second and third, and a fourth one is in the works.

Her third book, “Naughty Enriqueta” (“Las Aventuras de Enriqueta Cayetana en Puntarenas”), comes in a bilingual Spanishand-English edition, making it a particularly nice gift for children who don’t live here.

Available in bookstores around the country, the three books “Las Aventuras de Enriqueta Cayetana en Navidad,” “Las Aventuras de Enriqueta Cayetana en Semana Santa en San Joaquín de Flores” and “Las Aventuras de Enriqueta Cayetena en Puntarenas,” are sold together for ¢4,000 ($7.30) or separately for ¢1,500 ($2.70) each.

–Susan Hall Liang


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