Cinco Puntos Press is a small, independent publishing company in El Paso, Texas. They publish many beautiful books rooted in the Latino culture of the region. Their three most recent bilingual books for children are no exception. The culture of the southwest is an integral aspect of all these stories, making them wonderful additions to the literature available to Spanish learners.
Bilingual Books Bring Latino Culture to Kids
The Great and Mighty Nikko by Xavier Garza
Bedtime is so much more fun when you are joined by 10 lucha libre fighters! Xavier Garza detailed illustrations fill The Great and Mighty Nikko with excitement and motion that kids are going to love.
This bilingual counting book is perfect for young Spanish learners. There is a basic structure that children will pick up right away: Mira Mamá, hay un luchador luchando en mi cama., Mamá, ahora hay dos luchadores luchando en mi cama.
I love that this pattern is embedded in a conversation between Nico and his mom. The author included natural dialog (¡Ven a ver!), while keeping the focus on the main structure with hay. This is is one of the first verbs I teach, and the story is a wonderful way for children hear and learn it in context.
The Great and Mighty Nico is the dynamic, visual experience that a story about luchadores should be. The illustrations will hold kids’ attention and give parents and teachers lots of detail to talk about. This makes it a great choice to read with kids of different levels and ages. The illustration are also the perfect introduction to lucha libre, a fun aspect of Latino culture that Spanish learners may not be familar with. You can find the book on Amazon or the Cinco Puntos Press website.
Little Chanclas by José Lozano
Lily Lujan, the protagonist of Little Chanclas, is a strong-willed character children will love. Lily loves her chanclas (flip-flops), and no one can convince her to wear anything else.
The story is narrated in the past tense, with vibrant illustrations that correspond closely to the text. The language is accessible to children with a basic knowledge of Spanish. In addition, the family and community setting are full of rich details of Latino culture. These will speak to Latino readers and inform all Spanish learners. The book is available on Amazon and on the Cinco Puntos Press website.
My Tata’s Remedies by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
My Tata’s Remedies draws on the rich cultural heritage of using plants for their curative properties. This important aspect of Latino culture is alive and well throughout Spanish-speaking countries and in many communities in the United States. In the story, Aarón asks his grandfather to teach him how he prepares remedies. As Aarón learns about how plants can heal, readers are given a window into his family and community.
This book would be a wonderful resource in a unit on health or plants. There is more language than in the other books, but it is structured to make it accessible to young learners. It is a natural starting point for talking about how different cultures and families treat common illnesses and discomforts. You can find the book on the publisher’s website or in print and digital editions on Amazon.
Looking at these titles from Cinco Puntos Press, it is clear that 2015 was an excellent year. The books are very different, but each brings specific aspects of Latino culture into focus with a charm that will captivate young readers. All of them make wonderful additions to a classroom or home library.
Disclosure: The company sent me copies of these books to be able to write the article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own. The links to Amazon contain my affiliate ID. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.