Cycle of the Seasons series

Tomatoes laugh, chiles explode, and tortillas applaud the sun!

Learn about family, community, and caring for each other and the world in which we live through a series of bilingual seasonal poems by renowned poet and educator, Francisco Alarcón, and the vibrant illustrations of Maya Christina Gonzalez. The four-book series offers readers a wide-ranging yet personal exploration of the magical cycle of the seasons.

With the changing of the seasons-from spring to summer and fall to winter- Alarcón’s poems honor the wonders of nature and celebrate the simple joys and trials of everyday life: the morning sun, a visit to the outdoor market, the arrival of the ice cream vendor, the first day of school, and freshly fallen snow. Partly based on Alarcón's own dreams and growing up in Mexico and California, memories of family and community as well as moments and figures in history are interwoven with reflections on natural phenomena. These joyous, universal poems will inspire all readers to dream their own dreams for a better, compassionate, and loving world.


Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems
From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems
Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems
Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems
Cycle of the Seasons collection (all 4 titles)

Teaching the Cycle of the Season series

Cycle of the Seasons series teacher’s guide

More resources
Watch Francisco Alarcon’s interview with Reading Rockets
Audio Podcast with Francisco Alarcon and Maya Christina Gonzalez
11 Books on Latin American Immigration and Migration
11 Educator Resources for Teaching Children about Latin American Immigration and Migration
5 Tips to Engage Latino Families and Students
Using Dual Language & Bilingual Books in First and Second Grade
Using Dual Language & Bilingual Books in Third and Fourth Grade
How to Read a Poem Aloud Part 1
How to Read a Poem Aloud Part 2
How to Read a Poem Aloud Part 3
How to Read a Poem Aloud Part 4
How to Read a Poem Aloud Part 5
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s in Elementary and Middle School-Part 1
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 2: Choosing a Text and Vocab Words
Strategies for Teaching ELL’s-Part 3: Teaching Vocabulary in Layers 
Strategies for Teaching ELL's-Part 4: Writing, Speaking, & Listening Practice
Episode 2-Playful Poetry Books to Share provided by, a website developed by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English

Francisco Alarcón is a renowned poet and educator and a three-time winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award Honor for his bilingual Magical Cycle of the Seasons series of poetry for children. His many other honors include the American Book Award, the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, the Chicano Literary Prize, and finalist for state poet laureate of California. Alarcón is also the author of several poetry collections for adults and textbooks for teaching Spanish. He lives in Davis, California, where he teaches and directs the Spanish for Native Speakers Program at the University of California.

Maya Christina Gonzalez is a widely exhibited artist renowned for her vivid imagery of strong women and girls. She has illustrated nearly twenty children’s books, and her artwork has appeared on the cover of Contemporary Chicano/a Art. My Colors, My World was the first book Maya both wrote and illustrated. Books that Maya illustrated include Laughing Tomatoes, From the Bellybutton of the Moon, and Angels Ride Bikes. She lives and plays in San Francisco, California.

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