Delia Berlin is a children’s author from Argentina. Now living in the US, she has written two enchanting bilingual books for children.
El cerezo and Los cuentos de Eva y Lucas are excellent choices for children learning Spanish who have acquired a foundation of basic vocabulary and structures. These stories are wonderful to read aloud and also appropriate for children who are reading independently.
Why these bilingual books work with Spanish learners
- Patterns and repetition help children understand new language.
- A variety of vocabulary within the patterns expose children to new words.
- Natural dialog makes the stories perfect to use as reader’s theater or to act out.
- Lovely illustrations anchor children in the text, supporting the structure of the stories.
- These are good stories, not simply language learning tools. Children will appreciate the humor of El cerezo as each animal gives its own perspective on the cherry harvest. They will identify with the friendship Eva and Lucas share and the dilemmas they face.
More about Delia Berlin’s stories
El cerezo tells the story of Conejo and his friends as they enjoy the cherry harvest. While the other animals take credit for the cherries, Marmota gives Conejo more perspective on the situation. The story works well to talk about friendship, team work and different perspectives. It also has vocabulary and language that would fit in well with a unit on plants. For example, words related to plants include: el cerezo, florecer, la primavera, la fruta, el verano, los frutos, el carozo, brotar, fertilizar, regar, el árbol, la cosecha, cosechar
Los cuentos de Eva y Lucas, a set of three stories, is another of Delia Berlin’s bilingual books. Eva and Lucas are wonderful friends and the adventures they share will capture the hearts and imagination of children.
In the first story, Las medias mágicas, Eva’s active imagination is creating frightening monsters at night, and Lucas has a solution. The story has vocabulary related to bedtime such as el sueño, dormir, nocturo, el dormitorio, acostarse, la almohada, dormida, la noche. It is wonderful story for talking about fears, sharing and friendship.
In the second story, El problema de los tres caramelos, Eva and Lucas find a way to share fairly, even when something cannot be divided evenly. The third story, El perrito más lindo y más feo is about how we all see things differently. The theme and language of the story lend themselves to working with descriptive language. The puppies are dóciles, suaves, pequeños, con manchas marrones, negras y blancas. Other adjectives include ansioso, lindo, raro, feo, mimoso, contento, temeroso, feliz.
All of these stories are excellent reading for Spanish language learners. The concrete language makes them accessible to children, and the engaging, relevant content will pull young readers into the narrative.
Delia Berlin also has a Latin American folktale titled El canto de la lechuza, available in print on Amazon. The book is not illustrated, so teachers and parents will have to provide support if they are using it with Spanish language learners. That said, Berlin’s telling of the traditional tale is well within the reach of many children learning the language. Read more about all of her work at Delia Berlin.