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Tomie dePaola's Adelita:
A Bio Poem



  • Arts and Humanities
  • Language Arts
  • Literature
  • Social Studies
  • Regions/Cultures


  • K-2

Brief Description

Write a bio poem the main character in Tomie dePaola's Mexican Cinderella story, Adelita.


Students will
  • read Adelita, Tomie dePaola's Mexican Cinderella story.
  • analyze character traits of Adelita and write a bio poem about her.
  • write a bio poem about themselves.


poem, Adelita, Tomie dePaola, biography, bio poem

Materials Needed

  • Adelita by Tomie dePaola (Putnam Publishing Group, 2002)
  • a pad of sticky-note paper
  • markers
  • paper

The Lesson

Read aloud Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie dePaola.

Poor Adelita! Night and day she slaves in the kitchen, and still her stepmother forbids her to attend Javier's party. But with the help of the old servant Esperanza, Adelita disguises herself in a beautiful rebozo, or shawl, and wins Javier's heart. The next day Javier spies the rebozo in Adelita's window, and soon they live muy felices por siempre -- happily ever after!

Based on Cinderella, Adelita is a wonderfully original story with a spicy Mexican flavor. Incorporating simple Spanish words against a stunning backdrop of Mexican colors and designs, Tomie dePaola has created an instant classic that will delight his many fans.

After reading, write the following simple bio poem format on a board or chart:

  • Her first name
  • What she likes
  • What she feels
  • What she needs
  • What she wants to see
  • Where she lives
  • Her last name

Invite students to remember the story as you talk about each category above. Use sticky-note paper to post students' responses next to each category above to create a bio poem about Adelita. Then move around the sticky notes to form a final version of the poem, which might look something like this:

Lover of: Mom, Dad, cooking, Esperanza, her husband
Who feels: Sad, loved, mad, hurt, lonely, happy, angry
Who needs: Esperanza, love, husband, family, Mom, Dad, money, clothes
Who would like to see: Marriage to the prince, Esperanza staying with her, a nice family
Resident of: Mexico

Now that students are familiar with the bio poem format, challenge them to write a bio poem about themselves. If you teach young students, you might provide a template for them to fill in. Their poems should include their

  • first names,
  • three things they love,
  • three words to describe how they feel,
  • three things they need in their lives,
  • three things they would like to see in their lives,
  • their home towns, and
  • their last names.


Grade students' bio poem efforts using a rubric that measures their writing skills, ability to follow directions, and other grade-appropriate skills.

Submitted By

Christopher Lucero, Long Beach State, Long Beach, California

Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World

Originally published 09/24/2004
Last updated 08/25/2009