Rainbow Weaver is a bilingual picture book that intrduces children to the culture and art of the Mayan people.

Publisher Lee & Low has another wonderful bilingual picture books to share with children learning Spanish. Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris by Linda Elovitz Marshall introduces kids to a world of language, color and culture. This review and the activities that follow are a part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Find all the information about the event below and the entire collection of 2017 multicultural children’s book resources in this link-up of reviews and activities.

Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris is the story of Ixchel, a Mayan girl in Guatemala. Ixchel wants to weave, but her mother says no – there is no thread to waste and the weavings must pay for her school books. Ixchel tries weaving with other materials and discovers that the plastic bags that litter her village can be woven into colorful fabric.

The author worked with the organization Mayan Hands as she wrote this book. A portion of the proceeds benefit weavers of the Mayan Hands and Mayan Works cooperatives in Guatemala.

You can purchase Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris from Lee & Low or find it on Amazon.

Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris is told in both English and Spanish with colorful illustrations that do justice to the intricate designs of Mayan weavers. The close text-to-illustration correspondence also helps Spanish learners understand new language. The pattern in the narrative also aids reading comprehension and lets children predict what will happen next.

World Awareness and Rainbow Weaver

Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris is a picture book, and it appropriately simplifies the complex circumstances in which Ixchel lives. However, the book also accurately represents important conditions that teachers and parents can and should discuss with children.

Specifically, the scarcity and value of materials, the difficulty of purchasing school supplies and the difficulty of disposing of litter are factors that are key to the story. Children should be aware that these conditions are common in much of the world. I am still explaining to adults that garbage disposal is expensive and requires an infrastructure.

Activities for Rainbow Weaver

Publisher Lee & Low has an excellent teacher’s guide for Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris. Many of the comprehension activities and interdisciplinary activities are appropriate for Spanish learners. Whether you are reading the book in English, Spanish or both, be sure to take advantage of this excellent resource: Teacher’s Guide for Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris

Spanish Language Activities for Activities for Rainbow Weaver

Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris includes a wide range of vocabulary. However, it also has simple dialog and many basic words related to emotions and color. If you are working with beginners, simplify the language and paraphrase the story using short sentences and familiar words.

Act out the story. This story is meant to be acted out! The action is simple, yet filled with emotion. The dialogs are perfect for beginners, and you can add props with materials you have on hand if you like.

Use the dialog. The conversations that Xichel has with her mother use many simple sentences. Use the sentences in the dialogs to role play the interactions.

Mamá, ¿me dejas tejer? – Ahora no, Ixchel. Esta tela es para el mercado.

Mamá, ¿Puedo tejer ahora? – No, mi amor. Todavía eres muy pequeña.

Teach vocabulary related to the natural world. Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris includes many words related to the natural world. The book also has an important message about taking care of the planet. It would be an excellent addition to an Earth Day theme! These are a few of the common words associated with the Earth you will find in the story: montañas, cielo, flores, la tierra, maíz, frijoles, calabazas, ramas, palitos, árbol, hierba, ovejas, lana, arcoíris.

Talk about emotion. Ixchel wants to help weave, and is disappointed when her mother says no.  This is an emotion that young readers will understand! Ixchel experiences other emotions during the story too, so readers will find words such as decepcionada, lágrimas, enojada, sonrió, and felicidad. Have students choose one of the words and illustrate a time they felt the way that Ixchel does in the story.

Use color to talk about comparisons.  As the title indicates Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris is about color. Ixchel’s mother makes tela tan hermosa como un arcoíris with azules tan claros como el cielo, rojos tan brillantes como las flores y amarillos tan dorados como el maíz. Use these examples to model the structure of comparisons.

You will find many more ways to extend the language and culture in this wonderful book. Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora del arcoíris is an excellent addition to your home or classroom library.

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