Stimulating an Appreciation of the Arts through Noteworthy Books in Spanish

Article excerpt

Spanish-speaking children, like other children, sometimes need to be enticed into the worlds of books and reading. The arts can help! Indeed, they provide some of the most enjoyable ways to combine excitement, aesthetic experiences and appreciation of the world's cultures.

These recently published books in Spanish introduce young readers/viewers to the beauty of art, from prehistoric cave murals and Egyptian tombs to contemporary computer creations. Other subjects include the history and development of unique Mexican folk art, motion pictures, music and musical instruments, and the theaters of the world; the universal appeal of clay, collage and painting; the grandeur of some of the world's most amazing buildings; and the joy of other artistic expressions.

For the reader's convenience, I have included tentative age levels for each book or series discussed. Remember, however, that the individual student's Spanish reading ability, interests, tastes and goals should be the main criteria for determining the true appropriateness of each book.

Ages 9-13

Bort, F. (trans.). (1994-1995). El arte de construir. (The art of building). ISBN: 84-348-4505-9.

Historia de los imagenes. (History of images). ISBN: 84-348-4716-7.

La invencion de la pintura. (The invention of painting). ISBN: 84-348-4110-X.

?Que ven los pintores? (What do painters see?). ISBN: 84-348-4706-X.

El trabajo de los escultores. (The work of sculptors). ISBN: 84-348-4210-6.

(Biblioteca Interactiva/Mundo Maravilloso/Artes plasticas). Madrid: Ediciones SM. 48 pp. ea. $12.95 ea.

Originally published by Gallimard Jeunesse of France in 1993-1994, this "interactive" series includes numerous foldouts, flaps and transparent overlays, intermingled with detailed, glossy color illustrations and simple, easy-to-understand explanations. Topics include building and architecture (from an Egyptian tomb to modern skyscrapers); the progression from prehistoric pictures to computer art; painting; and the work of sculptors. These well-constructed, attractive publications are sturdy enough to withstand students' eager perusal as they admire and manipulate representations of noteworthy artistic creations. Each title includes a glossary and index.

Ages 8-11

Del Rio, J. (1989). El amate. (Rubber plant). (Coleccion pinata.) ISBN: 968-39-0271-5.

Il. by the author. Mexico: Editorial Patria. 31 pp. Paper, $4.50.

This title, an addition to the informative series listed above, describes the history and development process of "amate" - a special paper made from trees that grow only in Mexico. An easy-to-understand text and delicate watercolor illustrations, which give the feel of the precious "amate," make this an excellent introduction to a delightful Mexican art form.

Ages 7-9

Delafosse, C., & Jeunesse, G. (1994). Bestiario. (Bestiary.) ISBN: 84-348-4449-4.

Cuadros. (Paintings.) ISBN: 84-348-4451-6.

Paisajes. (Landscapes.) ISBN: 84-348-4450-8.

Retratos. (Portraits.) ISBN 84-348-4448-6.

Il. by Tony Ross and trans. by Paz Barroso. (Mundo Maravilloso/Arte.) Madrid: Ediciones SM. 34 pp. ea. $9.95 ea.

Like comparable titles in the "Mundo Maravilloso" series, this series, originally published in France, introduces the young reader to great works of art, through brief, simple texts and humorous watercolors. Glossy pages intermingled between transparent overlays depict before and after views of prehistoric cave murals, Alexander Calder's abstract mobiles, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Monet's and Matisse's landscapes, Leonardo da Vinci's La Gioconda, and other well-known paintings. In contrast to other, stodgy introductions to artists and their works, this series allows children to whimsically participate in great artistic creations.

Ages 9-13

Bort, F. (trans.). (1995). Erase una vez el cine. (There was once a motion picture. …