Byline: Isabel Schon
If, like many of us, you have Spanish-speaking students in your science class, you will likely be interested in learning about the recent releases of Spanish trade books for children. From delightful board books and counting books for the very young to comprehensible series on contemporary scientific topics and lively introductions to Earth science, these books in Spanish, recently published in Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, and the United States, will draw Spanish speakers (and Spanish learners) into the world of science.
A tentative grade level is indicated for each book, but remember to evaluate each student's reading ability, interests, and taste when choosing reading material in any language.
For the Very Young
David huele! (David Smells!). ISBN: 0-439-75511-5. David Shannon. New York: Scholastic. 2005. 14 pp. $6.99. (Grades preK). David, a mischief-making toddler, discovers his five senses by doing things not encouraged by an unseen caregiver. From petting a dog, to banging on a drum, to finally playing a joyful peek-a-boo, this board book with delightful illustrations is fun and educational.
El zoologico (The Zoo). ISBN: 84-246-3833-6. Cristina Losanto. Barcelona: La Galera. 2004. 10 pp. $10.95. (Grades preK). This picture book depicts humorous scenes of families and groups of children visiting a zoo. The witty illustrations will encourage lots of sharing and laughs. In addition, toddlers and caregivers will appreciate the foldout format and the clear, simple glossary with drawings and definite articles.
En el mar (Under the Sea). ISBN: 0-7460-6398-9. Alastair Smith and Judy Tatchell. Translated by Germa Alonso de la Serna. Tulsa: EDC Publishing. 2004. 16 pp. $11.95. (Grades preK-2). Sea fauna are introduced with full-page color illustrations and well-placed lift-the-flaps that show dolphins, sharks, sea horses, octopuses, and other fish as they play, feed, interact with each other, and protect themselves. Some adults may object to a certain degree of anthropomorphism; nonetheless, this is a thoughtful view of life under the sea.
Estela, princesa de la noche (Stella, Princess of the Sky). ISBN: 980-257-304-3. Mari-Louise Gay. Translated by Veronica Uribe. Caracas: Ekare. 2004. 32 pp. $8.95. (Grades preK-1). Estela explains to her always questioning younger brother why the Sun appears red at sunset, why raccoons "wear masks," and shares other comforting information about the night sky and night animals, such as fireflies. Gay's whimsical watercolor illustrations add to this playful introduction to nighttime.
Grande o pequena es mi pelota: El libro de los contrarios (Big, Small, Little Red Ball: A Changing Book of Opposites). ISBN: 84-7864-816-X. Emma Dodd. Translated by Luz Orihuela. Barcelona: Combel. 2004. 18 pp. $15.95. (Grades preK). Introduce preschoolers to opposites like dormido (asleep) and despierto (awake) and arriba (up) and abajo (down) with this board book in which pulled tabs change the pictures.
Nos fuimos todos de safari (We All Went on Safari). ISBN: 1-905236-08-5. Laurie Krebs. Translated by Yanitzia Canetti. Cambridge: Barefoot. 2005. 30 pp. $6.99. (Grades preK-2). As Arusha, Mosi, Tumpe, and their Maasai friends set out on a safari through the grasslands of Tanzania, they encounter various animals that they count from 1 to 10 in both Spanish and Swahili. The colorful illustrations, map, and informative notes about the animals and people of Tanzania make this a unique counting book.
Astronomia (Astronomy). ISBN: 0-7460-6389X. Rachel Firth. Translated by Antonio Navarro. Tulsa: EDC Publishing. 2004. 48 pp. $8.95. (Grades 3-5). With numerous simple suggestions for observing the sky, this attractive paperback introduces readers to the positions, motion, and composition of celestial bodies and explains the explosions of stars and the evolution of galaxies. Like the …