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Cinco de Mayo 2017

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate with this updated list of books starring the holiday itself, Mexican and Mexican American protagonists, and the Spanish language. All were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide at the time of their publication; reviews are reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Online. Grade levels are only suggestions; the […]

Pili Pop: Español app review

In Pili Pop Labs‘ immersive language-learning apps, you play a cute alien creature who has just landed on Earth and needs to acquire human language — fast. I gave Pili Pop: Español (2015; iOS and Android) a try to brush up on my (rusty) Spanish. Vocabulary (numbers, clothing, animals, fruits, body parts, etc.) is presented […]

When Google Translate Gives You Arroz con Mango: Erroneous Español and the Need for #ownvoices

I recently had a Twitter conversation with three writer and librarian colleagues, two of whom are native Spanish speakers, about the use of Spanish in primarily English-language children’s books. The conversation started after one of us wrote about finding incorrect Spanish in a book. Each of us chimed in, able to produce at least one […]

On Meg Medina’s “The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia” (from January 2016)

Children’s author Meg Medina finds inspiration in the family stories she heard as a child, which “opened inside of me a sense of cultural history that wasn’t reflected in any book I was reading in school or seeing on any of my favorite television shows.” In an article from the January/February 2016 issue of the […]

From The Guide: Spanish-Language and Bilingual Books

In her article “On Writing the American Familia,” author Meg Medina speaks to the language “dilemma” of Latino families: “Some of us speak Spanish, and some of us don’t — sometimes all under the same roof.” Written in Spanish; both English and Spanish; or Spanglish (of which Medina is an “unabashed fan”), these picture books […]

The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia

I’ve always been fascinated by how people become part of the American tapestry. Some had ancestors who were enslaved. Others fled persecution, poverty, or violence. Their stories are often a potent mix of hope and tragedy. My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class […]

Updated Spanish-English bilingual booklist

The books below, recommended by the Horn Book Magazine and Guide, were published within the last five years. While some titles contain only a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary, many are fully bilingual. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For more Spanish-English bilingual books, click here. Preschool Suggested ages level […]

Endless Spanish app review

The cute monsters from Originator‘s Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers are back…en español! Endless Spanish (May 2015) follows much the same format as Endless Reader to teach basic Spanish vocabulary. There are two modes, “Spanish immersion” or “Spanish with English translation.” Begin at A and work through the alphabet to Z, or start […]

Books that inspire community

Lately — and by accident — I’ve been reading Spanish versions of many French-authored children’s picture books. For some reason, most of the books I’ve recently bought from bookstores in Lima and Buenos Aires to use for storytelling in Spanish were translated from French authors. I didn’t realize it at the time, but once I […]

Books in Spanish: A problem of access?

When working as an elementary teacher in the United States, I found it hard to find original children’s literature in Spanish language — books originally published in Spanish, that is. As a fourth-grade public school teacher in a dual-immersion and bilingual transitional programs in Colorado and North Carolina, it was difficult to try to read […]