Certain books have a difficult-to-define quality that makes them exceptional read alouds. Musical language, endearing characters and absorbing illustrations all play a role, but there are also intangible elements. These stories come alive as you listen. Maya’s Blanket – La Manta de Maya has that magic.
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Maya’s Blanket – La Manta de Maya is a new bilingual picture book by Monica Brown. David Díaz illustrated the story. Lee & Low published the book, adding another treasure to their wonderful bilingual collection.
Being read to is essential for all children. For language learners, the importance takes on another dimension because read alouds are one of the most valuable language experiences a child can have. If you have a child learning Spanish, I recommend you go out of your way to find Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya.
I will highlight why Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya is effective for Spanish learners, but this is a beautiful book for any child. All children should have the opportunity to hear this story.
Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya is a retelling of a Yiddish folktale. Maya loves the blanket that her grandmother made for her when she was a baby. As it begins to wear out, Maya and her grandmother make it into a dress, later a skirt, later a shawl, and so on. The fate of the blanket is both satisfying and moving, but I will leave you to discover that yourself.
Maya’s Blanket for Spanish Learners
Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya is a cumulative story. A chain of items is repeated, always in the same order. The list grows as the story progresses.
Cumulative stories are wonderful for language learners.
- Kids can listen longer because the growing chain is familiar. Only part of the language is new, and that also fits a pattern.
- The items are related, so the list conjures up the entire story to that point.
- Kids can predict what happens next. That builds comprehension.
- The built-in repetition is essential for learning language.
- The repeated list builds comprehension which in turn builds confidence. By the end of the story kids have forgotten they didn’t know a word in the chain.
- Kids love to join in repeating the list. The rhythm of Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya will have them chiming in as you read.
Other valuable features for Spanish learners
– The story is narrated in the past.
– There are clear episodes, making it perfect for retelling.
– Culture is woven naturally into the story. For example, Maya attends a quiceñera.
– The home setting and focus on daily life fill the book with familiar, useful vocabulary.
– The illustrations are rich with detail waiting to be explored and discussed.
Maya’s Blanket – La manta de Maya is an excellent choice for children learning Spanish. It is above all a wonderful book for any child. It is a story of family, a love of books and the power of telling our stories.
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.