Felisa Rincón de Gautier is the First Lady of the Americas. She was the first female mayor of any capital city in the Americas when she was elected as the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico on 1946. She served her term for 22 years through 1968.
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Today, I’m sharing with you a review of Felisa y el Magico Coqui (Spanish Edition) by Elizabeth Wahn, and illustrator Cristina Fabris.
I was thrilled when I found a Spanish children’s book about Felisa. It’s a sweet book that combines both facts from her real life with the illusion of a magical coquí that grants her three wishes. One of her three wishes was to make a snowman in Puerto Rico, yes, snow! On a tropical island? Is that even possible? Her second wish was to be invited to the White House by the president of the U.S.A. and her last wish to have a heart of gold.
Felisa Rincón de Gautier was born on January 9, 1897 in Ceiba, Puerto Rico and she was the oldest of eight siblings. Her mother passed away when she was 11 yrs. old, and she was expected to stay home, and help raise her younger siblings.
Despite that she continued to dream, and was an excellent seamstress. After her siblings left the home it was time for her to go after her own dreams. She went to New York to go to school, and returned to Puerto Rico and opened who very own business in San Juan.
Rincón de Gautier was a firm believer in the women’s right to vote and was an active participant in the movement to get as many women registered to vote. When the law allowing women to vote was passed, Rincón de Gautier was the 5th woman to officially register.
In the children’s book, the magical coquí reappears after she married Jenaro Gautier. She and her husband were very active in civic duties in the community. In 1946, she ran for and was elected mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
During her leadership, and her years serving San Juan she created jobs, and designed innovative public services and established the first pre-school centers called “Las Escuelas Maternales”, which would eventually become the model for the Head Start programs in the United States. She also created a a fund program to give poor children gifts during Christmas who would otherwise not receive any gifts.
She was eventually invited to the White House for her civic duties. During a convention she met the owner of Eastern Airlines. He insisted on giving her a gift, and she instead asked for a gift for the children of Puerto Rico. She asked him to deliver snow to Puerto Rico! Yes, snow! For three consecutive years the airline brought snow to Puerto Rico. Doña Fela wanted the children to have the unique experience of seeing snow.
The children’s book ends with Felisa thanking the coquí for granting all of her wishes. This is such a beautiful book on one of the most impressive woman of Puerto Rico’s history. She passed away at the age of 97 on September 16, 1994. I highly recommend this book, and it’s a must have in any children’s home library.
If you’re ever visiting Puerto Rico, make sure to check out the Casa Museo Fundación Felisa Rincón de Gautier a museum dedicated to the grand woman, or on your way to Old San Juan you’ll see these beautiful murals below:
This post is part of the Women’s History Month series hosted by Multicultural Kid Blogs. This year we are celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don’t miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest:
March 1 A Crafty Arab on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 2 A Crafty Arab
March 3 The Art Curator for Kids
March 4 Kid World Citizen
March 7 Mama Smiles
March 8 Hispanic Mama
March 10 Peakle Pie
March 11 MommyMaestra
March 14 Crafty Moms Share
March 17Living Ideas
March 18 La Cité des Vents
March 24 All Done Monkey
March 25 The Art Curator for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 28 Creative World of Varya
March 29 Family in Finland
Wow, she sounds really amazing! I love that she asked for snow for the kids! I bet they loved it!
I’m really glad to learn about another role model for girls! Thanks so much for sharing at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Linky!