Review of Spanish Is the Language of My Family

Spanish Is the Language of My Family Spanish Is the Language of My Family
by Michael Genhart; illus. by John Parra
Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.
7/23    9780823450046    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780823455454    $11.99
Spanish ed.  9780823454464    $18.99

Genhart highlights the love between a grandson and his abuela through their connection with the Spanish language. Narrator Manolo signs up to compete in his school’s Spanish spelling bee. While he practices, Abuela tells him stories of how she was not allowed to speak Spanish in school, recounting the punishment and shame doled out to her and her classmates. After hearing about her experiences, Manolo is more determined than ever to study, and ultimately triumphs at the spelling bee. With a vivid color palette, Parra’s acrylic and digital illustrations bring warmth and brightness to Genhart’s story, which smoothly incorporates Spanish words and phrases within the text. Extensive back matter explains how Spanish was frequently prohibited in schools in the Southwest, especially from the 1930s through 1960s, causing many families not to pass on their language to their children. The National Spanish Spelling Bee, first held in 2011, is an effort “to change the history of negative attitudes toward Spanish and to raise its status in the United States.” A Spanish alphabet, pronunciation guide, and selected references are appended. Concurrently published in Spanish as El español es la lengua de mi familia.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Yesica Hurd

Yesica Hurd is a children's librarian at the Berkeley Public Library at the Central Children's Room.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.