Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice

Picture Book

Bibliographic Information: Rosa-Casanova, Sylvia. Mama Provi and the Pot of Rice. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Plot Description:
Mama Provi lives in the same apartment building as her children and granddaughter, Lucy. Lucy visits often and loves hearing stories. They always make a big breakfast together, because Mama Provi came from a big family. One day, Lucy can’t visit because she is sick, so her grandma decides to make arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and bring it upstairs to her. Along the eight-floor trip up the stairs, Mama Provi trades portions of her dish with her neighbors for some of the food they happen to have, like bread, frijoles negros, salad, collared greens, tea, and apple pie. Mama Provi sets up this culturally diverse feast for Lucy, and they eat.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 900; Accelerated Reader: 4.6

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the relationship between Mama Provi and Lucy, and Mama’s happy food-based relationships with her neighbors. It teaches the reader a few phrases in Spanish.

Content Area: English, Friendship, Food

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language; #7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently; #7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great modern book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 3rd grade through 5th grade. It explores themes like family and friendship.

Character Diversity:
Puerto Rico-American main characters, with appearances from Caucasian, Latino, African-American, and Asian-American.


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