Thanks to Josefina

Short story collection published in 2006; author Valerie Tripp; illustrators Jean-Paul Tibbles, Renee Graef, Susan McAliley, and Phillip Hood


The Montoya sisters are hard at work making blankets. They know they must work diligently every day to get the blankets made by summer (when they'll be able to trade them), but they're getting tired of the labor. They chat while they work, and Francisca and Clara poke fun at Josefina's eagerness to please Tia Dolores. They only mean to gently rib her, but Josefina's feelings are hurt. Things get worse as the sisters get more stressed by their work: Ana can't help because Antonio is ill, Clara almost gleefully points out a mistake in Josefina's blanket that means she'll have to undo two days' worth of weaving, Francisca takes some of Josefina's red wool and Josefina snaps at her prompting a fight...Soon the three sisters are sniping at each other, and Josefina storms off in tears.

Teresita, Tia Dolores's servant, finds Josefina in the courtyard and politely doesn't say anything about the tears. Instead, she asks Josefina for help finding plants to use for dye. Josefina has a knack for finding the plants, and as she and Teresita talk about how the variety of plants that are all necessary, Josefina forms an idea. What if she and her sisters set up a sort of assembly line, with each doing a part of the blanket-making process they like instead of one they hate?

The sisters are thrilled with Josefina's idea. Now that they're each doing what they enjoy instead of rushing through what they hate and making mistakes, the work goes by much fast and more pleasantly...thanks to Josefina.

Looking Back

The historical section describes the process of weaving blankets, from shearing the sheep to cleaning the wool to carding and spinning it to dying it to finally weaving it. The blankets were made with different designs inspired by the New Mexican landscape and by Navajo culture. Blankets were made to trade to the United States or as gift for special occasions such as weddings.

This story takes place a week after the flood that killed the family's sheep.

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