Chicken Made of Rags Book by Nina Serrano

Chicken Made of Rags: From Oral Tradition to Theater

Chicken Made of Rags Book Cover

Chicken Made of Rags Book Cover

The Chicken Made of Rags has been a family favorite children’s story and musical play for generations. The publication of the script in book form now makes it available for schools and theater companies to create new productions for the public to enjoy more widely. I say in my introduction to the book:

The Chicken Made of Rags is an old family tale, handed down through generations. As children in New York City in the 1930s and ‘40s, my younger brother, Philip Serrano, and I went to sleep listening to our Uncle Paul’s tale of the raggedy Chicken on her way to the big fiesta. Our Uncle Paul heard the story as a child in Cuba at the turn of the twentieth century from his nanny, a former slave. Cuba had abolished slavery in 1886, ten years before Uncle Paul was born. Following the story’s Afro-Caribbean origins, each generation of my family changed elements of the story, adding other cultural layers. The Chicken Made of Rags immigrated across continents and generations, landing in this script that we present here. . . .

Many people have loved The Chicken Made of Rags. I hope the publication of the script about the brave Chicken Made of Rags with her Bag Full of Dreams and her staunch friends will encourage new productions that will bring the play to future generations waiting for some fun.

To promote classroom and theater productions the book includes a cast list, prop lists, song lyrics and sheet music by Philip Serrano, as well as photos from past productions showing different sets and costumes. The audio version of the play, created by Greg Landau, is available as a CD and as mp3 downloads. A digital eBook is also available for easy download by actors and others. A promotional video is available here.

Mother Swan and Baby Swan rehearse their song in the 1974 Julian Theater production in San Francisco, Dolores Park.

Mother Swan teaching Baby Swan their song in the 1974 Julian Theater production in San Francisco, Dolores Park.

Together, we hope all of these elements will encourage new productions of the play for the experience of joy and hope for today’s children.

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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.

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