La Disha De Los Libros: Children's Books in Spanish
Schon, Isabel, Multicultural Education
It is certainly easy to encourage Spanish-speaking children to read if we provide them with high-quality books in Spanish. From delightful books for the very young, to the lives of famous women, to satisfying fantasies and animated traditional tales, these recently published books will appeal to Spanish speakers (and those eager to learn Spanish):
For the Very Young
Bank, Kate. Un don del mar. (A Gift from the Sea). Illustrations: Georg Hallensleben. Translated by Christiane Reyes and Teresa Farran. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2000. ISBN. 84-261-3143-3. 34 pages, $18.95 ages 5-8.
As a child picks up a stone on the beach, an omniscient narrator explains that the stone came from a volcano thousands of years ago. Later it moved until it became a mountain; subsequently a glacier, a cavern, an ancient city, a wheat field, and finally it is returned to the beach where the boy can feel the wonderful gift from the sea. Doublepage spreads with colorful impressionistic renditions provide vivid images of the history of humankind. Originally published by Gallimard Jeunesse, Paris, this simple Spanish rendition will be understood even by the very young.
Cooper, Helen. Historias de juguetes. (Toy Tales). Illustrations: the author. Translated by Rosa Roig. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 1999. ISBN: 84-261-3127-1. 80 pages, $15.95, ages 5-8.
Tim's favorite toys are a teddy bear, a stuffed frog, a duck on wheels, and a piggy bank. Even though each of them suffers a mishap-bear ends up in the washing machine, frog loses all his stuffing, duck falls down the stairs and, pig is knocked off the shelf-Tim still loves them. The colorful double-spreads and the rhythmic Spanish rendition remind youngsters of their own feelings about their own broken toys.
Cousins, Lucy. Maisy y sus amigos. (Maisy and Her Friends). Translated by Xavier Borras Calvo. Barcelona:. Editorial Serres, 1999. ISBN: 84-95040-02-6. 16 pages, $13.95, ages 3-5.
This book is like the previous 15 titles about Maisy, a cute mouse, who here invites the very young to pull-the-tabs and lift-theflaps as she introduces her animal friends. Colorful watercolors and a most simple text describe a dolphin in the water, flying insects, a dressed-up ostrich, a hidden rabbit, and other playful animals. Originally published by Walker Books, London, this series continues the fim.
Gieseler, Corinna, and Markus Niesen. iMuy bien, Dudu! (Well Done, Dudi!). Illustrations: Annette Swoboda. Translated by Christiane Reyes and Teresa Farran. Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2000.
ISBN: 84-261-3141-7. 30 pages, $15.95, ages 4- 7.
Dudu, a child duck, is not eager to spend a day at the public swimming pool with his family: His tummy hurts, he is afraid of water, and he doesn't like crowds. When things can't get any worse, a dragonfly pursues him and he mistakenly runs up the diving board. After he flies down and is admired by all, no one dares call him a sissy again. Originally published by Fisher Taschenbuch, Frankfurt, this sensitive Spanish rendition with vibrant, color doublepage illustrations will appeal to Spanishspeaking youngsters as they remember their fears and apprehensions.
McKee, David. El cochinito de Carlota. (Charlotte's Piggy Bank). Translated by Diana Luz Sanchez. Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economics, 1999. ISBN: 968-16-6021-8.
24 pages, $12.99, ages 5-8.
McKee's fresh and detailed, doublepaged color illustrations provide a whimsical tone to Carlota's initial experiences with a piggy bank. As she thinks about possible uses for her savings, she discovers numerous ways to earn money such as helping mama at home, assisting her neighbors, and selling old toys. Some children may be confused when the piggy bank flies out the window with Carlota's money as it proclaims: "La vida puede ser muy dificil" (Life can be difficult), but life goes on.
Newman, Marjorie. El fantastico viaje del gato Cameron. The Wonderful Journey of Cameron Cat). Illustrations: Charlotte Hard. Translated by Gemma Gallant. Barcelona: Grupo Editorial Ceac/ Timun Mas, 1999. ISBN: 84-480-2041-3. 25 pages, $11.95, grades 2-4.
Cameron is a very curious cat; often he takes off to explore to the consternation of his owner, Ana, a little girl. Interspersed in the simple narrative, readers are asked to assist Cameron when he causes havoc in a moving van and a nearby farm, eats a family's picnic, gets lost in the forest, and other mishaps until he returns home. The double-page colorful spreads brimming with humor and Cameron's pranks will encourage young readers/listeners to participate in this jovial interactive picture book, originally published by Walker Books Limited, London.
For the Middle Grades
Coppini, Clementine. La apasionante vida de mujeres famosas. (The Adventuresome Life of Famous Women). Illustrations: Alessandro Biffignandi. Translated by Josefina Caball Guerrero. Barcelona: Editorial Molino, 1999. ISBN: 84-272-4150-X. 80 pages, $16.95, grades 4-7.
From Semiramis, the legendary Babylonian queen, to Queen Elizabeth I, to Marie Curie, to Princess Diana, this large-format publication, originally published by Dami Editore, Italy, provides brief, one-page biographical notes stressing the achievements of some of history's most famous women and a full-page color illustration depicting each woman and her times. In addition to the 23 women highlighted, it also includes a dictionary of noteworthy women, a dictionary of fictitious women, and a chart outlining the history of women. Despite obvious detractors, feminists-to-be will rejoice with this easy-to-read appealing publication.
Pearce, Philippa. El jardin de medianoche. (Tom's Midnight Garden). Translated by Amalia Bermejo and Felix Marco. Madrid: Ediciones SM, 1999. ISBN. 84-348-6563-7. 189 pages, paper $7.95, grades 6-9.
Tom is looking forward to the summer holidays,but when his younger brother Peter comes down with measles, he must go to his aunt's and uncle's home where there is nothing to do. When a strange wall clock starts measuring time in a most unpredictable manner and Tom discovers a fantastic garden, his summer activities are anything but boring. Among other things, he travels in time with Hatty, a girl from the 19th century. Originally published in Britain and winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal, this satisfying fantasy has appealing characters intermingled with highly fanciful elements and a surprising ending. The Arts
Mayhew, James. Carlota y Monna Lisa. (Katie and the Mona Lisa). Illustrations: the author. Barcelona: Ediciones Serres, 1998. ISBN: 84-95040-00-X. 32 pages, $14.95, grades 2-4.
As Grandma rests on a museum bench, Carlota convinces a sad Mona Lisa to leave her portrait in order to regain her famous smile. Carlota leads the lady to several other famous Italian Renaissance works: They climb into Rafael's San Jorge y el dragon, break up the dance in Botticelli's Primavera, and fly over Venice on the wings of Carpaccio's El le6n de San Marcos. When they encounter the angry, displaced characters from the classic paintings, an angel steps out of a painting by an unnamed student of Leonard's to calm the scene. Spanish-speaking children will smile alongside Mona Lisa at this entertaining Spanish rendition that introduces them to serious works of art. Mayhew's double-page spreads successfully resemble the artists' style in this joyous art appreciation adventure.
Folklore Roldan, Gustavo. Cuentos que cuentan los indios. (Tales that Indians Tell). Illustrations: Luis Scafati. Buenos Aires: Alfaguara, 1999. ISBN: 950-511-532-6. 132 pages, pap. $8, grades 6-9.
Twenty-eight myths and creation tales from the three most important indigenous groups of Argentina-Tobas, Matacos, and Guaranies-are included in this lively selection. Written in the vernacular of Argentina and maintaining the animated tone of the oral tradition, these brief tales-from one to five pagestell about animals, their relationships with supernatural beings, and their particular worldview. Despite the flat blackand-white illustrations, reluctant readers will enjoy the brevity and fast pace. Social Sciences
Geis, Patricia. Pequena Masai. (Little Masai). Illustrations: the author. (Ninos y Ninas del Mundo). Barcelona: Editorial Esin, 1999. ISBN: 84-7864-350-8. 32 pages, $10.95, grades 2-4.
Through Pequena Masai, a girl from Tanzania, children are exposed to the fauna of her country, emphasizing the animals in danger of extinctionelephants, rhinoceros, and crocodilesby an ever-present tall white, foreign hunter. The simple but dignified ink-andwater color illustrations provide a realistic tone to the concerns and lifestyle of the Masai. Also in this series: Pequeno Sioux (Little Sioux), Pequeno Inuit (Little Inuit), Pequena Nenet (Little Nenet), Pequeno Maori (Little Maori), and Pequena Quiche (Little Quiche).
For information on additional highquality books in Spanish for children and adolescents, please check in with our Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents' Web site:
-Isabel Schon is director of the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents at California State University, San Marcos, San Marcos, California.…
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: La Disha De Los Libros: Children's Books in Spanish. Contributors: Schon, Isabel - Author. Magazine title: Multicultural Education. Volume: 8. Issue: 2 Publication date: Winter 2000. Page number: 34+. © 2005 Caddo Gap Press. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.