Monday, November 14, 2011

Niko's PICKS: El loro pelon by Hilda Perera


Guest blogger Niko read this book and says:

"Este libro se trata de dos loros que no les gusta vivir en una jaula. Los dos loros se encuentran, pero no estan felices y se quitan sus plumas. Es muy triste, pero es un libro interesante. Es bueno para ninos en kinder, primer grado, y segundo grado."

A good book to use for talking to kids about animal rights, humane treatment of pets, and Puerto Rico.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Picturebook: Fiesta Fememina by Mary-Joan Gerson

Fiesta Fememina by Mary-Joan Gerson, illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzalez

Several years ago, I read a copy of this wonderful book in English and enjoyed the variety of stories and legends. I recently had the opportunity to read the Spanish version and loved it even more! With delightful and whimsical illustrations and stories from all over the Mexico, it is an excellent addition to a thematic unit on folktales, Mexico or the role of women in Latin America. The language is poetic and lyrical - thus probably best suited for intermediate and advanced students of Spanish. But, if you're creative, you could use this excellent book as a resource and re-write the stories into simplified language for elementary and FLES students. Stories include: Rosha y el Sol, La diosa hambrienta, La leyenda de Tangu Yuh, Por que la Luna es libre, Verde Ave, Blancaflor, La Virgen de Guadalupe and Malintizin de la Montana.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Issuu book: Zapato busca dueño (wordless picturebook)

Zapato busca dueño is a wordless picturebook by Alejandra Viacava. A bear tries to return a lost shoe to different animals and people, but no one claims it. This would be a fun story to have students narrate in any language!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Issuu book: Pueblo de agua

This wonderful book from UNICEF is a compilation of stories, folktales and other writings from Warao children of Venezuela. The short stories are illustrated by the children and presented in Spanish and Warao. A fantastic collection for intermediate and advanced students of Spanish.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Issuu book: Le chapeau magique de Monsieur Max

Le chapeau magique de Monsieur Max by Patrick Vasco Gromy is ADORABLE and it has a fun surprise ending. It tells the story of a man who has an odd hat with the power to make it rain whenever he forgets to wear it. Mr. Max solves the problem in a very novel way! Super silly and cute for young students of French!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Issuu book: Mishi, un gato juguetón

Mishi, un gato juguetón, by Santiago Parreno, is a short book about a small cat who loves to play with different creatures. Cute illustrations and simple language make this a good book for FLES and immersion Spanish students.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Issuu book: Animales de colores - Amazonia

Animales de colores - Amazonia, by Santiago Parreño, is a beautifully illustrated book about the animals of the Amazon rainforest. Through the story we meet a blue morpho butterfly, a toucan, an armadillo, a manatee, a pink river dolphin, a capibara, a coati, spider monkeys, parrots, sloths and more! Simple language and delightful illustrations make this the perfect addition to a thematic unit on the South American rainforest!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Issuu book: Mi madre es rara

Mi madre es rara, by Rachna Gilmore, is a sweet story told from a young girl's perspective about how "strange" her mother can be at times. This is a great story to share with students for Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Issuu book: Bim Bam Bum

Bim Bam Bum is an adorable series of children's magazines from Ecuador. It is part of the newspaper El Tiempo. Find more issues of this fun periodical on El Tiempo Cuenca's Issue page. So CUTE!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Issuu book: Rik, el niño sin imaginación

Rik, el niño sin imaginación, is a funny story about a kid who seems to have no imagination, until he loses his mother at the mall and panics. The story is sweet and the illustrations - a mix of photos and drawings - are clever (Rik is a thumb!) A fun story for beginning to intermediate students of Spanish.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Issuu book: El elefante azul

El elefante azul, by Juan Rentero, is a short book with three characters and a simple plot. But while it lacks in complexity, the text is very easy to read, and so it's very useful in teaching beginners, FLES and immersion students. It would be good for a unit about friendship or animals.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Issuu book: La genial historia del niño reciclable

La genial historia del niño reciclable by Irene Jurado Sobreviela, is a short, easy-to-read story about a little boy made of paper, who has a hard time keeping himself from getting wet! A great story to read for Earth Day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Issuu book: El marciano accidentado

El marciano accidentado, by Zorely Rubio and Pablo Sacristan, is a short story about a martian who lands on earth, and the friends who come to help him with his problems. The message is a nice one (about cooperation and friendship) and the illustrations are fun. The text is a bit advanced for beginners - probably better suited for interemediate learners. Fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Issuu book: Di Zi Gui Learning | 弟子規教學讀本_初級一

弟子規教學讀本_初級一 - a series of Chinese language books based on the teachings of Confucius for kids. Also available are level 2 and level 3.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Issuu book: Camina

Camina, based on story by Ana María Martín, illustrations by Moraíma Ruiz Alba - this beautifully illustrated story is about a girl who encounters many problems in life - and then finds that she can deal with the challenges better when she's not alone. GREAT for intermediate and even advanced high school students.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Issuu book: Marquitos, el niño que salta

Marquitos, el niño que salta, by Tomas Bubis with illustrations by Martin Dasnoy, Marquitos is a young boy who loves to jump. When the neighbors start complaining, Marquitos' parents forbid him from jumping and the boy becomes very sad. It's not until his parents try jumping themselves that the whole family learn to love it! A cute story with a good message - great for any kid who has ever felt misunderstood!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Issuu book: Storie di Internet

Stories from the internet is a collection of cartoons that offers readers the "...opportunity to reflect on their own experience of the internet, to discuss this and to extend their knowledge further. Our common goal is to strengthen the population’s security and confidence in using information and communication technologies (ICT)." The collection was created by the government of Switzerland and is available in several editions/languages (of course!):
French: Petites histoires d'internet
German: Geschichten aus dem Internet

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Issuu book: Sailing with Daddy

Sailing with Daddy, by Streisel, is an adorable wordless picturebook that can be used with any language. Have students narrate the story in the target language and even provide an alternative ending. Fun!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Issuu book: Oliver y sus audiofonos

This sweet book tells the story of Oliver and his hearing issues. The language in the story is simple enough for intermediate students of Spanish, and the sensitive treatment of the topic will appeal to students and teachers alike. Cute!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Issuu book: Monstruario

For some reason, there are a lot of books available on Issuu that involve monsters! I'm not complaining, mind you. I love monsters! And this book is full of really weird and interesting ones! Fun for intermediate and advanced student of Spanish. COOL!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Issuu book: United in Diversity

This booklet from the European Union is a really fun collection of activities and information in 11 languages (including English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese). I love the individual pages for each European country with maps, currency and bits of language. FUN!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Issuu book: Había una vez un punto

This clever book takes a fresh look at punctuation! Good for intermediate/advanced students of Spanish. FUN!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Issuu book: Juanito y el lobo

This simple version of "The Boy who Cried Wolf" in Spanish is a nice addition to a unit on folk/fairy tales. The illustrations are very interesting - they are collages using photographs to add texture to each image. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Issuu book: Animalario verde & negro

I really like the quirkiness of this book! Short rhyming phrases describe humorous scenes of animals doing silly things. Great for beginners or intermediate learners of Spanish.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Issuu book: Matías

This short book tells the story of a little boy named Matías who has a vivid imagination. Simple text and captivating illustrations make this a wonderful book to share on a SmartBoard. Good for beginning and intermediate students of Spanish.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Issuu book: Et tu riras

A sweet story about aging, intergenerational connections, and the passage of time. A good book for intermediate and advanced students of French.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Issuu book: La guerra de los Números

This clever book would be great for intermediate or advanced students of Spanish. It would make an excellent addition to a thematic unit about war, peace and conflict.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Issuu book: Paz es...

This is a translation of The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Simple text accompanied by whimsical and colorful illustrations. Great for a unit on peace and human rights.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Issuu book: Despistados

The language in this book is nice and simple, and would make a good review of imperfect description in the past. I love the illustrations and the sweet story about two young children who become friends. Lovely!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Issuu book: Agustina y el misterio de la nieve

I love the cool illustrations in this virtual picturebook from Andorra! Join Agustina as she goes on a fun ski trip. CUTE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Issuu book: Pitoquito: Revista dominical

This is a whole series of children's magazines from Maracaibo, Venezuela. They are nice readings for intermediate and advanced students of Spanish with lots of good non-fiction articles. For the whole collection of 36 archived issues, visit the Pitoquito Issue page here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Issuu book: Ciao amici

From EMI Publishing comes this fun text/workbook for beginning learners of Italian. The entire book (all 145 pages of it!) is available on Issuu for viewing or download. What a great resource for our Italian teachers! Bravo!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Issuu book: C'est l'histoire… d'un lapin

This book was "written" by a 3 year-old French girl (she told the story to her Dad, who then illustrated it!) There are 10 other picturebooks like this one in my Issuu library - check them out. They're all adorable!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Issuu book: El Diablo Burlón

This adorable book is a gem! I love the playful text, the rhyme, and especially the illustrations! Good for intermediate students of Spanish.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Issuu book: Un Halloween diferente

I couldn't wait until next October to share this one! This cute tale gives us an alternative origin to the traditions of Halloween (hint: it has to do with the monsters missing certain letters and only being able to make scary noises like grrrr!) A very cute story with adorable illustrations.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Issuu book: Primavera

This book is written in lyrical verse and would make a great addition to a unit/lesson about springtime, seasons, nature, etc. I love the illustrations!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Issuu book: Lagartija Lola se quedó sin cola

This story by Juan Darien is told in fun rhyme - the language might be a bit advanced for beginners, but the illustrations are adorable and help support the story details well. SO CUTE! Great for a unit on animals, biomes, nature, etc.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Issuu book: Tierra Imaginada. Tratado de las criaturas del suelo y del subsuelo

OK, I'd like to try something new on my blog... I have been browsing around one of my favorite sites, Issuu. It is a site where publishers and authors can upload their own books, catalogs, magazines, etc. I have two books uploaded on the site: Mi Abuela Ya No Esta and Lisa, Love and the Language Lesson. WELL... there are hundreds of excellent picturebooks in many languages uploaded on the site - an incredible resource for teachers! I will share the best ones I find here in my blog. So, to start things off, try this title:  Tierra Imaginada. Tratado de las criaturas del suelo y del subsuelo. It is VERY cool. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Niko's PICKS: El juego de la lotería

El juego de la loteria/Playing Lotería, by René Colato Laínez, Illustrations by Jill Arena

This fun bilingual book tells the story of a young boy who is sent to spend some time with his Grandma in Mexico. The boy is worries because he doesn't speak Spanish well and his abuela doesn't speak English, but through the game of lotería, both learn from each other and about each other. The text is provided in English and Spanish and the illustrations are vibrant and colorful. Students will relate to the young boy's struggles with learning the language - especially in pronouncing the "r" sound! Overall, a lovely book that would make a good addition to a unit on Mexico, family relationships or games of Latin America.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Gathering the Sun

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English, by Alma Flor Ada, English translation by Rosa Zubizarreta, and illustrations by Simón Silva

This is a delightful collection of short poems that "...celebrate honor and pride, family and friends, history and heritage, and... the bounty of the harvest." The beautiful illustrations depict the reality of farmworkers in fields and orchards throughout the country. The poems center around Checkpoint A/beginner themes, such as: árboles, duraznos, lechuga, and pájaro and zanahoria. They also include poems about cultural people and places like César Chávez, México and Yucatán. The simple text appears side-by-side in Spanish and English. Great for thematic units on Mexico, immigration, food, the farm, or professions and jobs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Niko's PICKS: 31 usos para mamá

31 usos para mamá, by Harriet Ziefert, Illustrations by Rebecca Douoghty

This short picturebook is PERFECT for beginning, FLES and immersion classes. On each page we see a separate illustration and a numbered "use" for moms in a single word or phrase. For example, some of the cutest uses are: taxista (Mom driving with her child in the back seat), doctora (Mom putting a bandage on a crying child's knee), batidora (Mom mixing batter for chocolate chip cookies). There are also more complicated and compound terms like recogepelotas, abrelatas, and paseamascotas. Kids will love the illustrations and easily recognize the many jobs that moms do. An excellent book for a unit on family... have students add their own "uses" to the list!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Riqui, Riqui, Riqui, Ran

Riqui, Riqui, Riqui, Ran: Canciones Para Jugar y Bailar (Collección Clave De Sol), by David Marquez

This wonderful collection of 32 popular songs from Venezuela and around the Spanish-speaking world is a great addition to any Spanish classroom. It comes with a CD for students to listen to and contains beautiful illustrations and lyrics. This is another book from the excellent Venezuelan publisher, Ediciones Ekare.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Tortillitas para Mamá

Tortillitas para Mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes, by Margot C. Griego, Betsy L. Bucks, Sharon S. Gilbert, and Laurel H. Kimbal, Illustrations by Barbara Cooney

This great collection of nursery rhymes from Latin America in Spanish and English. The text is simple and it includes instructions for finger play and movements to go with some of the rhymes. As is often the case with oral tradition rhymes that have been around for a long time, some of the rhymes include lines that will seem inappropriate or outdated (i.e., "... if I get my dress dirty, Mother will beat me.") If using the book with middle or high school students, this would be a perfect opportunity to talk about the meaning of the rhymes in a social/generational context. When using the rhymes with elementary-aged students, it might be best to avoid the more controversial ones. Still, an excellent addition to your classroom library!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico!

Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! America's Sproutings, by Pat Mora, Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

This fun volume of poems in Spanish and English includes tributes to 14 different foods that are native to the Americas. Foods include: blueberries, chili, papaya, vanilla, pumpkin and prickly pear. There is also good information and facts about the background of each food. The lyrical language of the poems is simple enough to use with beginners and FLES/immersion students. This is a great resource for a thematic unit about food, the Americas and Columbus, or poetry. The beautiful illustrations can also be used for pair work descriptions. Have students write their own tributes to their favorite foods! Niko dice: "Me encanta este libro!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Yo sé que el río me ama

Yo sé que el río me ama/I Know the River Loves Me, by Maya Christina Gonzalez

This beautifully illustrated book is great to use for a thematic unit on water rights, the environment, or nature. It would be a great to accompany La mujer que brillaba más que el sol (which we reviewed here). The text is presented in English and Spanish. The language is simple and can be used with beginners and FLES students (though some more poetic or expressive words might need to be pre-taught). This is another book from Children's Book Press - check them out. They are a non-profit business that consistently publishes interesting books with diverse characters, and environmental and social themes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lori's PICKS: Dreaming in Hindi

Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language, by Katherine Russell Rich
Today I will make a recommendation for adults/teachers! The author of this book started studying Hindi in New York and then decided to move to Udaipur, India for one year to study the language intensively. The book is part travel memoir, part synthesis of second language aquisition research! As the author goes through many different phases in aquiring greater and greater proficiency in her new language, she wrestles with what is happening to her - the silent period, the peaks and valleys of vocabulary acquisition, cultural learning, and the ups and downs of her emotions as well. What a wonderful book for anyone interesting in teaching or learning languages!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Dos libros sobre Martin Luther King, Jr.

Un Libro Ilustrado Sobre Martin Luther King, Hijo, by David A. Alder, illustrations by Robert Casilla

Feliz Cumpleanos, Martin Luther King by Jean Marzollo, illustrations by J. Brian Pinkney

Both books about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. are aimed at students grades 1-3 (native speakers of Spanish), though they would work well with beginning or intermediate students of Spanish as a second language. I love the illustrations by Brian Pinkney in the Feliz Cumpleanos book, though both sets of illustrations are nice and offer many different scenes that students could use to describe in pairs or in small groups. An excellent set of books for teaching about this important man!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Niko's PICKS: El mundo de los deportes

"El mundo de los deportes" SERIES: Deportes de invierno, Deportes de verano, by Isidro Sánchez and Carme Peris

These two fun books are perfect for elementary and level 1 Spanish (Deportes de Primavera and Deportes de Otoño don't seem to exist - anyone know why?) The illustrations are fun and very kid-friendly, and can be used as the basis for description activities and a seasons unit. Most of the text is simple, though some vocabulary might need tweaking and/or pre-teaching for beginning proficiency students. For example: "Siguiendo las instrucciones de monitor, no es difícil aprender a coger los bastones y a situar bien los esquíes." A lovely series published by Barron's.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Niko's PICKS: El bosque de mi abecedario

El bosque de mi abecedario, by Pedro Villar, Illustrations by Miguel Calatayud
Filled with fanciful poems and delightful illustrations, this book would be a nice addition to a unit on poetry and imagery. Despite the reference to the alphabet, the text is a bit too advanced for FLES or elementary-aged students - it is better suited for an intermediate or advanced student.

Last spring I was fortunate enough to attend a wonderful talk presented by the illustrator, Mr. Miguel Calatayud, at the Instituto Cervantes in New York. After the fascinating talk, he was kind enough to sign our books. So great!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Celebra la Navidad y el Dia de los Reyes Magos

Celebra la Navidad y el Dia de los Reyes Magos, by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

If you are planning a Three Kings Day celebration with your students, Santillana has the book for you! In the fiction portion of the book, Carlitos writes a letter to the Three Kings and asks for many gifts. Then he writes another letter asking for a present for his brother instead, since his brother helped him to ride a bike. In the non-fiction section, we learn how el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos is celebrated in different countries around the world. There is an excellent online resource guide available for free download. This book comes from a series entitled Cuentos para celebrar that covers many different holidays. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Quinito, día y noche

Quinito, día y noche/Quinito, Day and Night
by Ina Cumpiano, Illustrations by José Ramírez

This lovely bilingual Spanish/English picturebook comes from another one of my all-time favorite publishers, the nonprofit Children's Book Press. The story follows young Quinito, his younger sister Clara and his older brother Juan through their daily activities. Throughout the day they encounter opposites like temprano/tarde, bajo/alto, triste/feliz and arriba/abajo. The text is very simple, yet playful and nicely contextualized and it provides excellent vocabulary practice for beginning students - perfect for FLES, immersion, and Checkpoint A/level 1 students of Spanish. Just don't forget to cover up the English text on each page! ¡Fantástico!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Frida

Frida, by Jonah Winter, Illustrations by Jeanette Winter

A great companion book to yesterday's review of Diego, comes Frida - another book written by the mother-son team of  Jeanette Winter and Jonah Winter. This is the story of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and all her many trials and tribulations. Through Winter's colorful and whimsical art and eloquent text, we learn about Frida's tragic childhood, her struggles and her triumphs in art, and more! The story really highlights Frida's tenacity and strength in the face of adversity - a nice lesson to share with students. The text in Spanish can be challenging, though - this book would best be used with intermediate or advanced students.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Diego

Diego, by Jonah Winter, with illustrations by Jeanette Winter

As I have mentioned before in this blog, I love Jeanette Winter's images so much that I will buy practically any book that she illustrates. Diego just happens to be one that I can also use for teaching! Son Jonah wrote a simple text (the text is bilingual Spanish and English) that describes Diego's early life and career as a painter and muralist. Though simple language, the Spanish text might be best suited for intermediate/advanced students. Each beautiful illustration is chock full of iconography and surrounded in a folk art style colorful border. The book would make an excellent addition to a thematic unit about Mexican art - especially when coupled with Frida - also by Jonah and Jeanetter Winter (to be reviewed tomorrow - stay tuned!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Niko's PICKS: Hombre de color

Hombre de color, by Jerome Ruiller

This short book is an excellent way to talk to children about race and identity. In the story, the main character - a young black boy - talks about being called "a person of color," but then describes how white people "change color":

"Yo, hombre de color, cuando nací era negro. Crecí siendo negro. Si tomo el sol o tengo miedo, o enfermo, sigo siendo negro. Mientras que tú hombre blanco, naciste sonrosado, si tomas el sol enrojeces y si tienes frío te vuelves azul. ¿Y tú me llamas a mí hombre de color?"

Great for learning color words in Spanish - and also available in French.