Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! Americas' Sproutings

By Pat Mora
Illustrations by Rafael Lopez

Chocolate, prickly pears, blueberries, tomatoes, and many more mouth-watering foods native to the Americas are celebrated in this vibrant collection of haiku. Bold, colorful illustrations enliven the poems and make Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings truly irresistible. In this booktalk, author Pat Mora discusses her experience writing this delicious book and the discoveries that came along with it.

What was the experience of writing a book with both poetry and informational text like? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Poetry is my favorite genre precisely because of its linguistic challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the haiku. The informational text was written after the haiku were finished. This challenge was different. I worked to find facts that might appeal to a range of readers. Luckily, I had the help and guidance of my wonderful editor, Louise May.

How did you decide to do a book about foods of the Americas? What was your inspiration for creating this book?

For many years I have been interested in indigenous languages, cultures, and foods. I had never tried haiku before; but I purchased a beautiful book of haiku, and the two interests came together.

What kind of research, if any, did you conduct for this project?

I did not need to do research for the haiku other than reading haiku I liked. My goal was to create fun and lively haiku that would appeal to children and adults. For the informational material and for selecting fourteen foods that I hoped would appeal to children, I read, used the Internet, and consulted experts, including my husband, a professor of anthropology who teaches a course on the origins of agriculture. I already had a number of books on foods of the Americas because of my personal interest in the topic.

Did you learn anything that surprised you while working on this book?

I learned that I really enjoy writing haiku! It is great fun to compress an idea or image. I learned all kinds of facts I did not know. I had no idea that European settlers used blueberries to make gray paint, that cornstarch is used in making chalk and crayons, or that some potatoes can be pink and striped.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope that readers will smile when they read the haiku and that they will want to write their own haiku. Readers who like facts will enjoy the details about each of the fourteen foods. I always hope that if readers, whether youngsters or adults, like a book, they will want to read the book to a family member or friend. Sharing bookjoy is fun! Ideas for planning a Yum! Party and for sharing the book with students are available on my Web site,

If you could offer one bit of advice to new writers, what would it be?

Read. I am a writer because I am a reader. I am so very grateful to my dear mother, who brought me to books.

About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades K - 6

Reading Level:

Grades 3 - 4


Nature/Science, Nonfiction, United States History, Poetry, Native American Interest, Multiethnic interest, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Food, Farming, Environment/Nature, Cultural Diversity, African/African American Interest, Exploring Ecosystems, Human Impact On Environment/Environmental Sustainability , Informational Text, Geography


Poetry Middle School, Fluent Dual Language , Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades 3-6, Diverse Background English Collection Grades 3-6, Poetry Grades 3-6, Nonfiction Grades 3-6, Earth Day Poetry Collection , Bestsellers and Favorites Collection, Bilingual English/Spanish and Dual Language Books , Thanksgiving and Gratitude Collection, Food and Cooking Collection, High-Low Books for Preteens (Grades 4-6), Informational Nonfiction Grades 3-6, Listening Library, Listening Library, Pat Mora Collection , Appendix B Diverse Collection Middle School, Native American English Collection Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Collection English and Spanish, Dual Language Levels N-Z Collection, Pedro Noguera Diverse Collection Grades 3-5, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Authentic Spanish List Grades 3-5, Native American English Collection Grades 3-6, Latin American English Collection Grades 3-6, English Guided Reading Level P, Lee & Low Poetry Collection, Fluent English, Authentic Spanish List

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