The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story

Publication Type
Publication Year

DISC, 2017: 249.

Rudolfo A. Anaya

Andrés's grandpa Don Jacobo is a master santero, a carver of wooden saints, and the 10-year-old helps him make a statue of San Isidro during his holiday break from school. When a New Mexico snowstorm blocks the roads, a miracle involving the wooden saint allows an ambulance to get to a sick neighbor and the boy's parents and sister to arrive in time for Christmas. The story is presented in both English and Spanish, and the Spanish terms sprinkled throughout the English text are explained in a glossary. The plot is a bit thin, but the creative Don Jacobo is a wonderful character and his relationship with Andrés is strong and warm, a good match to the gorgeous paintings in the blue, turquoise, and red clay colors of the Southwest. –E. M., School Library Journal




In this bilingual story of faith, Don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen. Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village, and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers. The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés's parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and Jacobo's neighbor Leopoldo is desperately ill but cannot get to the hospital. Then comes Jacobo's dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don't plow 'til April," don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?" The night had been bitterly cold and don Jacobo must bundle up to go to the barn to feed his cows and chickens. As he steps outside, he can hardly believe his eyes. The snow-packed road is clear. --from The University of New Mexico Press