For Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020, I had the opportunity to read several bilingual books that celebrate extended family. The books incorporate family into stories in ways that children will find intriguing and also reassuring. In addition, these three books make excellent choices for language learners.
The books below are by Ann Morris and Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, both sponsors of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. MCBD highlights diverse books and works to get them into classrooms. Many thanks to the authors for sending me these books to share with my readers!
A Bilingual Story about Family – Do It Again! ¡Otra Vez! by Ann Morris
Do it again! ¡Otra vez! by Ann Morris centers on a family visit, an experience many children will find familiar. Amy is visiting her aunt, uncle and cousins, and finds even little things are special when you are visiting people who love you very much.
This is a wonderful book for Spanish learners because it incorporates repetition of high-frequency vocabulary and structures. For example, there is significant repetition of family vocabulary, forms of gustar, otra vez, más, and volver a + infinitive.
In addition, there is a close text to image correspondence, with bright illustrations that support the language. The pattern in the story also helps children anticipate Amy’s reaction and increases comprehension.
I appreciate the level of this book so much! The language is concrete and conversational, describing events with useful vocabulary. I also love that the sentences are neither very short nor too long. Rather, they are a natural length with clear references.
In addition to being a good choice for language learners, this book is a lovely story. It captures both the happiness of being the special visitor and the love extended family has for little ones. Do it again! ¡Otra vez! makes an excellent addition to a class or home library.
Bilingual Books with Family by Evelyn-Sanchez Toledo
Bruna – Bailando por el mundo / Dancing Around the World
Bruna – Bailando por el mundo / Dancing Around the World is also about special time shared with extended family. On a rainy day, Bruna and her grandmother take an imaginary trip around the world dancing the dances of different countries.
This is an effective first introduction to traditional dance, and the story also mentions musical instruments and cultural dress. The descriptions of each dance are brief and full of joyful sounds that make the book fun to read.
The book stands on its own as an enjoyable and educational reading experience, but looking for videos of these dances online would be a great extension. It’s also would be fun to tie in geography by finding the countries on a globe. Bruna – Bailando por el mundo / Dancing Around the World is available on Amazon. (affiliate link)
La nueva América de Diego
La nueva América de Diego by Evelyn-Sanchez Toledo is another story about extended family and heritage. It is also available in English as Diego’s New America.
In the story, Diego needs to choose a country to present for a school project, and it leads him to talk to his family about where they are from. His family comes many different countries and Diego realizes how these cultures influence his life.
This is an engaging book to read with kids and it naturally leads to discussions of family background. In addition, many teachers do class projects where students interview relatives, explore their heritage, or research information on countries. This book would be an excellent introduction to those lessons. You can find La nueva Américan de Diego on Amazon (affiliate link).
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is important because it helps parents and teachers discover multicultural and bilingual books like these. Be sure to explore the hundreds of books reviewed for this year’s event. You can find the link up of reviews and other resources here: Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020.