Art Books for Young Spanish Speakers

Article excerpt


Spanish-speaking students will ...

* expand their interests in high-quality art books.

* use art books for enjoyment and personal growth.

* learn about visual art, art museums and great painters.

* discuss favorite books, artists and buildings.

If our goal is to extend Spanish-speaking children's appreciation of the arts, we must expose them to quality art books they can read and understand. We must offer them opportunities to represent and manipulate various art forms.

Whether they re-create story characters and scenes in their own paintings, or reconstruct plot through discussions or dioramas, Spanish speakers should be encouraged to share and discuss art books with other readers, thus providing an outlet and encouragement for a personal response to the arts.

Just as all children should be given a choice of art books to read, Spanish-speaking children should be given a choice of various ways to interpret and extend a favorite book.

The books suggested in this article are planned to increase children's enjoyment of the arts through special art activities with their friends, visits to museums, the work of great painters, playing with colors and learning about Islamic art.

Although a tentative grade level has been indicated for each book mentioned in this article, it must be remembered that the individual student's Spanish reading ability, interest, taste and purpose should be the main criteria for determining the true level of each book. Teachers should use their own discretion and knowledge of their students in selecting a book. Spanish-speaking children should be given opportunities to interpret, question, or make books memorable experiences with the arts. For additional high-quality art books in Spanish for children and adolescents, go to the "Recommended Books" section of the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents' Web site:


Lola con Alas (Flyaway Katie), written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Translated by Raquel Mancera. Barcelona: Serres, 2004. ISBN: 84-8488-152-0. $12.95. Grades: Preschool through Second. Young Lola is feeling sad and everything looks gray to her. But when she gazes at a colorful painting in her bedroom, she decides that "Ese si que seria un buen sitio para vivir" (That would be a much better place to be). Hence, she adds color to un sombrero verde (a green hat), leotardos amarillos (yellow tights), zapatos azules (blue shoes) until she has so much color that she begins to dance, smile and play with her imaginary friends. Finally it's time to take a bath. The whimsical framed illustrations that build up to a multicolored splash of colorful birds and bright feathers and the simple Spanish text will encourage Spanish learners to join Lola's colorful reverie.

El Mago de los Colores (The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments), written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel. Translated by Margarida Trias. Barcelona: Corimbo, 2004. ISBN: 84-8470-178-6. $24.95. Grades K through Third. A great wizard, who lives in a gray world, decides to bring color to his surroundings. So he invents the color blue and paints everything blue. But when blue isn't the perfect color, he invents yellow, which also has problems. This is followed by red, and, finally, a wonderful intermingling of colors that results in a perfect multicolored world. Lobel's detailed, witty illustrations add a buoyant tone to a fantastically colored world.


La Mezquita Maravillosa (The Most Magnificent Masque), by Ann Jungman. Illustrated by Shelley Fowles. Translated by Miguel Angel Mendo. Barcelona: Serres, 2004. ISBN: 84-8488-159-8. $13.95. Grades First through Fourth. Set in Spain at Cordoba's Great Mosque, this story tells about the beauty and significance of what once was the second-largest mosque in the Islamic world. …