Cover image for Why do we cry?
Why do we cry?
Uniform Title:
Per qué plorem? English
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 x 29 cm.
General Note:
Translation of: Per què plorem?

Translated by Mihaila Petricic.
Reading Level:
AD 590 L Lexile
Added Author:
When Mario asks his mother why we cry, her answer comes in sweet imagery. She speaks of grey storm clouds, locked boxes and a vast ocean. She explains that we cry for many reasons -- sometimes cry because we're sad. Other times we cry because we're lonely. Often we cry because we're frustrated. And through all these emotions, our tears can calm us, heal us and help us grow. Vivid illustrations and lyrical prose combine perfectly in this sensitive, reassuring story that will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered why we cry. --


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In a soft voice, Mario asks, 'why do we cry?' His mum thinks for a moment, and then begins to tell him about the many reasons for our tears. We cry because our sadness is so huge it must escape from our bodies. Because we don't understand the world, and our tears go in search of an answer. Because we can't find the right words, and our tears speak a universal language. Most important, she tells him, we cry because we feel like crying. And, as she shows him then, sometimes we feel like crying for joy. To extend the concepts in the story, back matter describes the physical aspects and benefits of tears and provides two activities.

Author Notes

Fran Pintadera is a storyteller, theater director and an award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children. He lives in Spain.

Ana Sender began her illustration career in textile design but now mostly illustrates children's books, and even writes them herself sometimes. Her books include The Cottingley Fairies and The Orchid Hunter. She lives in Barcelona, Spain.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2--A boy dangling upside down on a park bench tentatively asks his mother the titular question in this Spanish import. Starting with the most obvious reason, the ensuing pages depict 13 different answers in loving, accessible language: "Sometimes we cry because the sadness we feel is so great that we just can't contain it." Sender has chosen to place the mother (depicted as a young, light-skinned woman with one dark braid) in the protagonist's role, rather than her son Mario--perhaps to create some emotional distance for the viewer. It is the mother who is shown in silhouette, blackbirds being released from her hair in the opening. Other questions and explanations involve anger, lack of comprehension, facing an insurmountable wall, and the inability to "find the right words." The palette shifts with the mood; a bicycle light sends a red, tear-shaped beam into a dark forest, while a green river supports the young woman in a pre-Raphaelite pose as she experiences pain, but considers that "Tears are the best medicine." Ultimately, Mario's mother notes that "…we cry because we feel like crying. That's the most important reason." When the boy asks, in the final scene as they dance in puddles, why his mother is crying, she explains that tears can flow from happiness as well. The final spread provides well-chosen facts about tears, including what they are made of, why they are productive, and how they look under a microscope. VERDICT A sensitive, creative exploration of a universal phenomenon.--Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Kirkus Review

A boy asks his mother a simple question and receives a not-so-simple answer.Mario's mother lists some of the many reasons people cry in sensitively nuanced metaphors layered with emotional truths. Each spread prints one word or phrase in a slightly larger font than the rest, subtly but effectively drawing readers' attention to a particular feeling. Among the obvious are "sadness," "anger," and "happy." The more nuanced concepts include "grow," "lock," and "wall," which the surrounding text and illustrations help convey. All the while, readers see a young girl, perhaps the mother when she was young, experiencing these emotions. Encapsulating it all, Mario's mother finally says, "But more than anything, sweetheart, we cry because we feel like crying." In the backmatter, Pintadera further answers other, scientifically based questions about tears, such as "What are tears made of?" and "Why are tears good for us?" While the scientific perspective at first seems out of place in such an emotional book, it helps remove some of the stigma surrounding the act of crying. The text assures readers that tears are a natural biological function with several purposes: "Who cries?crying is universal, just like laughter." Additional discussion activities prompt readers to make personal connections. This book, originally published in Spain, features a pale-skinned, black-haired parent and child. The textured images generate appropriate moods, providing powerful symbolic visuals for the addressed emotions. Many could hang in an art gallery as part of a surrealist collection.This exploration of tears is reassuring and nonjudgmental. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Pintadera and Sender's wonderful book for inquisitive children is laced with colorful images, beautiful language, and facts about the phenomenon of crying. It paints a story of bonding between a mother and son who openly discuss their feelings. While playing in the park one day, the boy wants to know why people cry. Using poetic examples of people who shed tears from anger or sadness, loneliness or happiness, the mother helps her son understand the myriad causes for tears. The dreamlike illustrations use colors to convey both the mood and tempo of the text, casting the mother as a young girl in each proffered scenario. For instance, one spread shows the girl staring up at an expansive wall, with text that reads, "Often, we cry when we run into a wall. When that happens, we don't cry because we're hurt, but because the wall seems impossible to climb." Simultaneously accessible and profound, this book will appeal to young readers through its relatable content and engaging illustrations. The author concludes with questions, scientific facts about tears, and extension activities to further augment the book's value. Librarians, media specialists, and preschool teachers who are putting together units on self-concept and learning to express emotions will find this insightful work extremely useful.