Escenas y alegrías


Three well loved sto­ries have been the source for the four plays cre­ated for this anthol­ogy by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada.

The delight­ful tale of Mar­tina Martínez and Ratón Pérez has been dra­ma­tized here as two plays: La Cucara­chita Mar­tina and El Ratón Pérez. The tra­di­tional tale of Chicken Lit­tle has been dra­ma­tized as Pedro Pol­lito. The fourth play is a drama­ti­za­tion of the book Amigos by Alma Flor Ada. The text for the play comes from the retelling in verse of the story, with music by Suni Paz, which can be found on the CD Libros para con­tar. If any teacher would like to engage young chil­dren in a musi­cal per­for­mance this play can turn into a sim­ple but pow­er­ful musical.

The charm­ing lan­guage, the use of rhyme and cumu­la­tive text make these plays easy to per­form and a con­tin­u­ous lan­guage enrichment.

The illus­tra­tions pro­vide sug­ges­tions for stag­ing and customs.

The val­ues of the use of involv­ing chil­dren with the­atre are mul­ti­ple. Plays can be an excel­lent tool for pro­mot­ing the abil­ity to speak in front of a group, which is a lead­er­ship skill. Since they offer chil­dren the oppor­tu­nity to uti­lize words and lan­guage reg­istries they may not have other oppor­tu­nity to use, plays can be strong vehi­cle for vocab­u­lary and lan­guage development.

When used for choral read­ing plays can strengthen read­ing skills. In addi­tion, act­ing in a play enhances children’s self-confidence and self-esteem while pro­vid­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about one’s self and oth­ers. Most impor­tantly, putting on a play, no mat­ter how sim­ply, pro­motes the val­ues of col­lab­o­ra­tion and solidarity.

To read more on the sig­nif­i­cance of the­atre click here: Let’s Raise the Cur­tain! The Ben­e­fit of The­atre in the School and for sug­ges­tions on its use in the class­room read the sec­tion “Plays and Dra­matic Games” in Chap­ter 3 of A Mag­i­cal Encounter: Latino Children’s Lit­er­a­ture in the Class­room and for dra­matic responses to books, the sec­tion “Pro­mot­ing Dra­matic Expres­sion” in Chap­ter 4 of that same book.


Theatre has been a passion in my life. I was part of every play during my school years and later in High School I also begun writing. One of my plays  “The Museum” was chosen to be performed at the important theatrical event of our class graduation. Theatre was a way of life for me during those early years.

Because of my experience with theatre, and how important it was in giving me a voice, breaking the barriers of shyness, and encouraging me to speak in public; ensur­ing that chil­dren have access to read and act in plays has always been one of my basic goals. Even if it is done with great sim­plic­ity, act­ing in a play can have very pos­i­tive results.

I am con­vinced that one is bet­ter able to teach some­thing one has enjoyed doing. And just as Alma Flor Ada and I empha­size, in our courses in Authors in the Class­room, that teach­ers who cre­ate their own books will be bet­ter able to get their stu­dents to become authors, I believe that encour­ag­ing teach­ers to do the­atre and expe­ri­enc­ing the rich­ness of the process would bet­ter allow them to incor­po­rate plays in their reg­u­lar teaching.