Song of the Swallows

Leo Politi

“Leo Politi, one of Los Angeles’ most beloved artists, wrote and illustrated Song of the Swallows, which won the Caldecott Medal when it was first published in 1948.

Through the eyes of a small child, it tells the famous story of the yearly return of the swallows to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Julian, the Mission’s bell ringer, tells Juan, a young boy who also lives at the Mission, about the swallows and how, without knowing why or how, they return each year from their winter home in South America to San Juan Capistrano, California. Juan is so moved by the story that he creates his own small garden in the hopes that at least one family of swallows will nest there when they return.

This charming book also includes the music and lyrics to “La Golondrina,” a song about swallows written by Politi, and Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout the story. This book introduces young children to California’s centuries-old Latino heritage and Mission culture.”