It all started with a lovely young señorita from Mexico City who came up to my table in the cafeteria at college and said, “Hi. I’m one of the foreign students. May I sit here?” We married, raised two children, and travelled all over Mexico for more than forty years. The book is dedicated to her memory.
What finally triggered the book, though, was the day the principal came on the P.A. system where I was teaching – on May fifth – and said, “Boys and girls, this is Mexican Independence Day, just like our Fourth of July.” That’s wrong, because Mexican Independence Day is September 16th, so I went to her office to advise her of that fact. “Well, we’ve always taught it that way, so don’t make trouble!” she said.
I searched bookstores and libraries to find a book that would prove my point. There were 56 children’s books on the market, but the adult books had been out-of-print for more than sixty years. In children’s books, the French army suddenly shows up in Puebla, Mexico looking for a fight. Nobody says how they got there or what they want. They’re just the “bad guys.” The Frenchmen lose the battle, and the Mexicans are very happy. Then you turn the page and it says, “Now, here’s how to make a piñata for your classroom party!”
That’s when I said to myself, Somebody’s got to write this book!” So here it is.
Don Miles is the author of Cinco De Mayo: What is Everybody Celebrating? You can visit his website at www.donmiles.com.