Iguanas In The Snow


My family often spends time in northern Minnesota during the holiday. And I mean really far up there-12 miles south of the Canadian border. We see snow here in Indiana and even have accumulation sometimes. But the fact that we are still talking about the Blizzard of ’78 tells me that as Hoosiers, we really don’t see a lot of snow for long periods of time. So when my kids visit northern Minnesota in the winter, it is full of entirely new cultural experiences. This is a land where tennis balls are affixed to car antennas so they can be seen at intersections. It is a place where the kids don’t get snow days- they just get used to it. It is a place where teenagers drive their trucks down frozen creek beds with big pieces of plastic attached and other teenagers hang on for the ride. (I’m not recommending this activity). My Hoosier kids are jumping into these Minnesota snow banks and rolling around like they have never seen it.

Watching them gives me pause and brings to mind how our children who hail from places like Honduras, Samoa and Africa must feel with such a drastic change in weather. Is it intriguing to them? Or frightening? Do they like it or do they prefer warmer weather? Weather is something we don’t think too much about until we experience some sort of drastic change.

As a tool to talk to kids about weather, I recommend a great bilingual children’s book called Iguanas in the Snow. The book is wonderful for several different reasons. First it displays poems in both English and Spanish. That is such an enormous lesson for children; even for those that don’t speak Spanish. Secondly, it’s full of colorful illustrations and creative rhymes. The author and illustrator manage to put together a book attractive to both children and adults. Thirdly, the poems reflect cold weather experiences of Mexican children living in and around the city of San Francisco and in the mountains of the Sierras. The poems appear to be written by children but we know from reading the jacket that they are not. And finally, who can resist the following lines from the book that I will leave with you.

“…..all sporting green jackets and pants,

gotten on sale at the army surplus

“ha ha ha” Mama laughs and says with joy,

“ we all look like happy iguanas in the snow”

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