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.