Finding the Music / En pos de la música is a wonderful new bilingual book by Jennifer Torres. Published by Lee & Low, it has a rich setting, convincing drama and characters you would like to have as friends. This picture book is an excellent choice for Spanish language learners and native speakers. Finding the Music / En pos de la música is available from Lee & Low and Amazon.

In the story, Reyna accidentally breaks a musical instrument, the Mexican vihuela that belonged to her grandfather. The Mexican vihuela is small, deep-bodied rhythm guitar used by Mariachi groups. As Reyna tries to find someone in the neighborhood to fix it, people tell her stories of her abuelito. With those memories and the support of her community, Reyna learns about her family and finds a way to put things right.

With detail and color, illustrator Renato Alarcão creates an intimate, warm neighborhood. Readers will want to walk the streets, smell the flowers, spend time in the shops and join the crowd in the restaurant, Cielito Lindo.

This bilingual picture book tells a charming story infused with culture and community.

These are a few of the features that make Finding the Music / En pos de la música, an excellent choice for Spanish learners. This is a bilingual book, so these features also support English learners.

  • It is a tight, plot-driven story with a well-defined problem, making it easy for Spanish learners to follow.
  • The setting and characters are established in simple clear language.
  • The episodic structure of the story, as Reyna asks people for help, provides repetition and helps children build an understanding of what is happening.
  • There is a limited amount of descriptive language. Rather, the illustrations compliment and extend the text.
  • There is a substantial amount of dialog, and the language is natural, standard Spanish. This would be an wonderful story to act out!
  • The story is culturally relevant and accurate.  Family, community, music and food all play a role in this bilingual book.
  • The contemporary American setting infused with Mexican culture depicts the reality of many parts of the country.

Children are very intrigued by the kind of problem Reyna encounters in Finding the Music / En pos de la música. Her dilemma is so familiar that kids will identify with her worry and admire her resourcefulness as she looks for a solution. They will also see how the community gives her strength and support. Finding the Music / En pos de la músic has just enough suspense to keep kids coming back over and over. It is an excellent bilingual book to add to any home or classroom collection.

Finding the Music / En pos de la músic is a Junior Library Guild Selection and the winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award.

Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. I may have been compensated for my time. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.

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