Lo Que Mi Abuela Me Dijo Honored
in Two New Mexico Book Awards

December 15, 2016 by

For a generation of children in Manila who grew up in Spanish-speaking households, the centuries-old proverbs their abuelita (grandmother) peppered them with have deeply influenced their views on people, relationships and everything in between. Maria Paz Elezegui Weir belongs to this laki-sa-lola (raised by grandma) generation and the dichos that remained with her is compiled in this 208-page illustrated book that won the 2016 NEW MEXICO-ARIZONA BOOK AWARDS in the Spanish Language Book Category and the 2016 SKIPPING STONES AWARD in the Multicultural & International Books Category.

“Si vale la pena hacerlo, vale la pena hacerlo bien.”      ”If it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well.

Ms. Weir, a Filipina who spent her young formative years with her abuelita in Malate in old Manila, learned that her abuelita‘s oft-quoted proverbs, with their unique blend of sound and sense, were lessons of lasting value.

Culling through her own memory as well as over a thousand Spanish proverbs, the author has come up with a delightful collection of 109 folk sayings that offer age-old wisdom on such topics as childhood, friendship, work, love, and destiny. Short English versions accompany each proverb, with great care taken to preserve the spirit and cadence of the original Spanish.

Mahala Urra’s enchanting illustrations illuminate the beauty and power of the proverbs. Two poignant memoir essays by the author serve as elegant bookends to frame the collection, which ends with the proverb “En tus apures y afanes acude a los refranes” (When needs and difficulties arise, take refuge in the proverbs).

Lo Que Mi Abuela Me Dijo, the unforgettable story of a young girl, her grandmother, and the enduring proverbs that bound them together, may be used as a reader-friendly reference book for students of Spanish, as well as a charming gift book for readers of all ages who, more so today than in yesteryears, want a recipe for the wisely lived life.

In 2016, the University of New Mexico Press acquired from the distribution rights in North America and on the same year, received both awards.

The New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards are managed by the New Mexico Book Co-op and are judged by a group of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and book marketing experts. The awards honor the best books released in New Mexico and Arizona.

The Skipping Stones Honor Awards recognize outstanding multicultural, international, and nature awareness books, and teaching resources. These books promote an understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and encourage a deeper understanding of the world’s diversity. The 27 books and three teaching references awarded this year, offer an exciting way to explore and understand diverse cultures, places, societies and their histories. 



Maria Paz Eleizegui Weir was born in Manila and grew up in a bicultural family of Filipino-Spanish origins. Her dream of studying abroad led to a Fullbright Travel Grant and a scholarship at the University of Washington. After receiving her master’s degree in English, she remained in Seattle and began a long career as editor of university publications, later moving to California to do similar work in the San Francisco Bay area. She is happiest in a world of diverse cultures, but still wonders where she belongs.



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