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Los Tres Girasoles is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Divine Mother and Queen of the Americas, who brings comfort, assurance and hope to the people of Mexico and all over the world. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the inspiration for the character, Gloria, in The Three Sunflowers and The Three Sunflowers ~ Los Tres Girasoles.
Inspiration: Our Lady de Guadalupe / Tonantzin
Dawn glistened on the frosty ground the morning of December 9, 1531, as Juan Diego, a humble indigenous peasant was heading toward Tepeyac hill in Mexico. Suddenly, he heard the sweetest sound, like the singing of heavenly birds. As he looked up, the celestial chant ceased and in its place he heard a voice calling him from the hill, “Little Juan, Little Juan Diego.” There, a luminous dark-skinned Lady appeared, dressed in a regal red dress, a blue star-covered cloak, surrounded by bright yellow light, like the petals on a sunflower. Speaking to him in his native Nahuatl (the Aztec language), she told him her name was “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” She requested that he go to the archbishop’s palace in nearby Mexico City and ask the bishop to build her a “sacred little house,” a church to serve as a place of worship exactly where the former temple of the Aztec earth mother goddess, Tonanztin, had stood. Here she would be a source of love, compassion, and comfort to all the inhabitants of the land, Spanish and indigenous, who would recognize their faith in her mestizo features.
When Juan presented Her request to bishop Zumárraga, he was instructed to return to Tepeyac hill, and ask the Lady for a miraculous sign as proof of Her existence. The Lady told Juan to go and gather flowers from the top of the hill, which was normally barren in December. When Juan climbed the hill, he was amazed to find so many flowers blooming there, especially the Castile roses, which grew only in Spain, and long before the season when they would bloom. He cut the fragrant flowers and carried them to the Lady who arranged them inside his tilma, a cactus fiber cloak. Juan carried them safely back to the bishop on December 12, and when he opened his cloak to present them, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The bishop then knew in his heart that this was the sign he had been waiting for, journeyed to Tepeyac to see exactly where the Lady had appeared, and it was there that the church was built. This site is the current location of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and where the original tilma with her image imprinted inside is on display.
Today, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a powerful symbol and a source of guidance and protection for Latinos everywhere. Her influence has spread around the world, where She is honored in churches, shrines, museums, and in all forms of art. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the inspiration for Gloria, radiant sunflower and divine mother of light, who sprang up from the earth, spreading seeds of compassion, peace and unconditional love.
Author’s note: As a devoted follower of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I offer deep gratitude to Her for the inspiration for this book.
Source: Nican Mopohua, 16th century Nahuatl document, found in Guadalupe: body and soul by Marie-Pierre Colle
“In gorgeous words and illustrations, Our Lady of Guadalupe, personified as a wise sunflower, teaches the young ones how to find peace inside themselves.
Both children and adults are reminded of our purpose as human beings in this
wonderful, often challenging world: ‘We are sunflowers, golden and radiant.
Our job is to be loving and peaceful wherever we stand’.”
“En bellas palabras e ilustraciones, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, personificada como una sabia girasol, enseña a los jóvenes cómo encontrar la paz dentro de sí mismos. Tanto los niños como los adultos son recordados de nuestro propósito como seres humanos en este mundo maravilloso y a veces desafiante: ‘Somos girasoles, dorados y radiantes. Nuestro trabajo es transmitir paz y amor allí donde estemos’.”
Lorraine Mejia, Award-winning Poet, Teacher, and Author of Wild Woman at My Door
“The Three Sunflowers presents beautiful metaphors of life, through the eyes of plants, birds and all living things in a garden.”
“Los Tres Girasoles presenta metáforas de vida, en una manera hermosa y a través de los ojos de plantas, aves y todo lo que vive en un jardín.”
Jade Leyva, Artist and Founder/Coordinator: Seeds: A Collective Voice/The Community Seed Project
“A beautiful story told with deep wisdom. There is love in every word.”
“Una bella historia que se cuenta con la sabiduría. Hay amor en cada palabra.”
Grace Alvarez Sesma, Curandera/Cultural Educator
“The Three Sunflowers is the first book I read to my students every year.
It’s a favorite we return to often. Children easily identify with the characters
and learn how to find strength in difficult situations in and out of the classroom.”
“Los Tres Girasoles es el primer libro que leo a mis estudiantes cada año. Es un favorito que leemos frecuentemente. Los niños se identifican fácilmente con los personajes y aprenden como encontrar fuerza en situaciones difíciles dentro y fuera del aula.”
Michael Acton, Teacher, Santa Barbara, California
“Los Tres Girasoles is a wonderfully written children’s book about the inter-connectedness of all living things and how observing the natural world around us
with an inquisitive spirit can lead one to find deeper meaning in life.”
“Los Tres Girasoles es un libro maravillosa para ninos que se trata de las inter-conecciones entre todas cosas vivientes y como la observacion del mundo natural alrededor de nosotros con un espiritu curioso nos puede guiar a encontrar el significado mas profundo en la vida.”
Oscar Carmona, Owner-Operator at Healing Grounds Nursery
and SBCC Professor of Environmental Horticulture
“It is a joy to find a bilingual book I can share with my Chilean/American daughters.
This is an inspiring and magical tale, with beautiful watercolor illustrations.”
“Es una alegría encontrar un libro bilingüe que yo pueda compartir con mis hijas Chilenas/ Americanas. Este es un cuento inspirador y mágico, con hermosas ilustraciones de acuarela.”
Devon Espejo, Bilingual Teacher and Mother
“For children experiencing loss, grief, and adversity, this beautiful lyrical book presents important messages of hope, gratitude and joy. It is also a wonderful tool for teaching descriptive writing, personification, and alliteration at the elementary grade levels.”
“Para niños que estén pasando por la pérdida de un ser querido, sufrimientro y adversidad, este hermoso libro lírico ofrece importantes mensajes de esperanza, gratitud y alegría. Además, es una maravillosa herramienta para enseñar la escritura descriptiva, la personificación y la aliteración en los niveles de la escuela primaria.”
Alix Seeple, Educator