¡Es divertido hablar dos idiomas!

A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tortilla Time! ¡Tiempo de tortillas!

Food is always a fun storytime theme. Tortillas are a great selection if you want to celebrate a specific food and get a little creative. Below is a suggested Family Storytime using tortillas as a theme. This is designed as a bilingual storytime, but it could also be a monolingual Spanish program or a monolingual English program which is inclusive of Latino cultures through its use of materials by Latino authors/illustrators and celebration of a food item common in many Latino cuisines.

It is worth noting that the word "tortilla" does not mean the same thing in every Spanish-speaking country! For a family program, this would be a great discussion topic and a way to play around with geography and vocabulary as you introduce the theme in the beginning of the program. In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a flat bread, generally made of wheat or corn, used for scooping or wrapping vegetables, meats and beans. In Spain and South America, a tortilla is an egg dish, very similar to an omelet! For older kids, particularly in a classroom setting, this could be a great topic to explore. You could ask the students to brainstorm why a word may mean one thing in one country, yet mean something else in another country. Can they find any examples of this in the English language?

Opening Book: Round is a Tortilla - Roseanne Greenfield Thong

This English language story told in rhyme uses Latino imagery to introduce shapes. Options for extending the story abound - you could have shapes hidden in the room and have a scavenger hunt, you could go on a shape walk around the neighborhood, or you could have a shape sort activity for parents and children to work on together. There is no Spanish only version of this story, so monolingual Spanish language programs will need to replace this book with another title.

Rhyme: Tortillitas

"Tortillitas" is a very well-known children's rhyme. I believe that it originates from Mexico, but is also widely known in Central America. If I am mistaken, please leave a comment and let me know! Also, I'm curious if anyone who is from or grew up in the Caribbean or South America can let me know if this rhyme (or a variant of it) is something that you remember from your childhood, or if it is new to you. I know there is a similar version about papas/potatoes. I'd love to hear from you on this topic! There are several versions of the "Tortillitas" rhyme; here are two that I like to use:

Tortillitas, tortillitas, / tortillitas para mamá; / tortillitas para papá. / Las quemaditas para mamá. / Las bonitas para papá. / Tortillitas, tortillitas.

Tortillitas de manteca / pa'mamá que está contenta. / Tortillitas de salvado / pa'papá que está enojado.

Here is an English translation that I came up with. The literal meaning has changed in order to maintain rhythm and rhyme:
Little tortillas made of wheat / for my mom who is so sweet. / Little tortillas made of corn / for my dad who I adore!


Book/Flannelboard Story: La tortilla corredora - Laura Herrera

A cumulative story based on the Gingerbread Man that follows a runaway tortilla. Unfortunately no English version of this story is available, so you may want to replace it with one of the titles below in an English language storytime. Alternatively, you can tell this story using the flannelboard.

Ending Activity - Painting Tortillas

Time to get creative! Use tortillas as a canvas and have a paint party! You could encourage children to paint the various shapes or pick a favorite shape to paint in lots of different ways. Another blogger I found suggests keeping the whole activity edible by adding food coloring to water for paint (you could maybe try yogurt as well for different textures) and using lettuce leaves (or corn husks) as brushes!

Other Suggested Books:



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rosana's Translations

Last year, Rosana Santana was a student in my class "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" offered through Library Juice Academy. She submitted several excellent Spanish translations of rhymes on her final Bilingual Storytime Plans. With her permission, I am sharing those translations here. Thanks, Rosana, for your excellent work and your willingness to share it with your colleagues!

Four Autumn Leaves                Cuatro Hojas de Otoño
Four Autumn Leaves                   Cuatro hojas de otoño
In a big old tree                         esperando el fin del mes,
One blew off                              una se cayó
Then there were three                y quedaban tres.

Three little leaves Tres hojas de otoño
With nothing to do bailaban en los vientos,
Another blew off otra se cayó
Then there were two y quedaban dos.

Two little leaves                        Dos hojas de otoño
In the autumn sun                      acostadas como en cuna,
One blew off                           una se cayó
Then there was one                   y quedaba solo una.

Being all alone Ahí sentada toda sola
Wasn’t much fun las otras hojas la miraron,
The last on blew off la última se tiro
Then there was none y se acabaron.

The Floppy Scarecrow                    El espantapájaro bailarín
The floppy, floppy scarecrow El espantapájaro bailarín
Guards his field all day Cuida las plantas todo el día
He wave his floppy (body part) Mueve su (parte del cuerpo)
To scare the crows away! Para espantarar los no confia

Five Little Pirates Cinco Piratas
Five Litter Pirates Cinco piratas
hear the captain roar. flotando en un barco.
One raised the black flag Uno levantó la bandera
and then there were four. y solo quedaban cuatro.

Four Little Pirates, Cuatro piratas 
sailing on the sea, mirando a un pez.
One tumbled overboard, Uno brincó para agarrarlo
and then there were three. y solo quedaban tres.

Three little pirates, Tres piratas
swam the ocean blue, cantaban en alta voz.
One swam away Uno le dio toz
and there were two. y solo quedaba dos.

Two little pirates Dos Piratas
standing in the sun, comieron desayuno.
One felt too hot Uno se enfermó 
and there was one. y solo quedaba uno.  
One little pirate Un pirata 
like to have fun, encontró un cofre de tesoro
He found a treasure chest y se fue del bote
and there were none.   a comprar un loro.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Guest Post - Freddy Figuras

Hi everyone! I'm doing something a little different today! Paula Mason, a student in a past session of "Library Outreach and Bilingual Storytime" offered through the Library of Virginia created an absolutely adorable flannel called Freddy Figuras as part of her final project. I love it! So, I asked her to do a guest post to share her work with you all. Enjoy!


From Paula Mason, Milwaukee Public Library:

I created this flannel board as a simple exploration of how even our faces are composed of several shapes, and even by slightly moving those shapes, we can express different emotions. The felt pieces are very easy to make, and you can be as creative as you’d like with them. I included the following to match with some of the shapes we were discussing in storytime that day:

Un óvalo - la cara
Un triángulo - la nariz
Dos círculos - los ojos
Un semicírculo - la boca
Dos semicírculos más pequeños - las orejas
Dos rectángulos - las cejas
Un cuadro grande - el cuerpo
Los garabatos (varios pedazos de estambre) - el cabello
Tres rectángulos largos y delgados - las rayas del suéter
Dos círculos más pequeños - las pupilas de los ojos                                
An oval - the face
A triangle - the nose
Two circles - the eyes
A half-circle - the mouth
Two smaller half-circles - the ears
Two rectangles - the eyebrows
A large square - the body
Squiggles (several pieces of yarn) - the hair
Three long and thin rectangles - the stripes on the sweater
Two smaller circles -
the pupils of the eyes

Note: you could also decide to take out some of these pieces depending on the age level of the children, and whether you’d like to extend or shorten the activity.
During the storytime, I mentioned to the children that I wanted to introduce them to a friend, Freddy Figuras, but that we have to first put Freddy together with each shape. I asked the children to help me make the decisions about each shape. Once we have put him together, we also discussed how moving a shape a bit can change his mood, ie. half-circle for mouth turned up=happy, turned down=sad ,and eyebrows turned downward=mad,or upward=curious.

A few of Freddy’s faces—feliz, triste, y enojado (maybe because he lost most of his hair!)





Later, during the play literacy portion of storytime, you could place out all of Freddy’s pieces and let the children make different and unique interpretations of a person or face by using the shapes. You could also place out extra shapes so they have even more pieces to play with.
A very tall Freddy with a big, goofy hat:


As for the books that I paired with this activity, we first read Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, and illustrated by John Parra. We then explored Eric Carle’s bilingual board book: My Very First Book of Shapes/Mi primer libro de figuras. The kids loved both—the rich illustrations in Round is a Tortilla and questions that the author posed, and the fun split pages that make Eric Carle’s book feel like a game. I also did a fingerplay with this activity in which we drew shapes in the air with our fingers. Another idea could be to sing a bilingual version of “When You’re Happy and You know It” after discussing emotions with Freddy’s face. Finally, in discussing the activity with the parents, you could mention the following:

Children can build their narrative skills when being creative, whether they are playing with shapes, drawing, or playing with puppets. By moving the shapes on Freddy’s face, we can begin to craft a story around Freddy and his feelings. 

Los niños pueden desarrollar sus habilidades narrativas cuando están usando su creatividad, ya sea que estén jugando con formas, dibujando, o jugando con títeres. Cuando movemos las figuras de la cara de Freddy, podemos empezar a construir una historia acerca de Freddy y sus sentimientos.

¡Mil gracias, Paula, por compartir tus ideas maravillosos con nosotros! Thank you so much Paula for sharing your amazing ideas with us. Happy Storytime!

Monday, March 2, 2015

¡Day by Day VA en español!

I am excited to share with you all that a project I have been working on for the last year and a half is finally finished and ready to be used. Day by Day VA is an online family literacy calendar. It was originally created in South Carolina and Virginia took the content and adapted it for their needs. Each day features a song/rhyme, a book, an activity, a video and one or two websites for further information or activities. I was hired in 2013 to create a Spanish language companion site, and it is now complete! You will find in this Spanish language calendar many traditional Spanish-language children's songs and rhymes, as well as made up tunes that piggyback on well-known Spanish and English songs. Each day features a Spanish language or bilingual children's book, with an emphasis on highlighting excellent Latino children's literature, and a video that is either fun for kids or informative for parents. Resources for more activities or further information are linked, including many excellent resources from around the Spanish-speaking world. Though designed for families, the site could be useful for librarians and educators as well. Please take a look and share with customers and colleagues who may find the site useful. If you have a chance, let me know what you think!


Me encanta muchísimo compartir con ustedes un proyecto en el que había trabajado por más que un año. Day by Day VA es un calendario digital de la alfabetización familiar. Lo había creado originalmente en el estado de South Carolina, y el estado de Virgina lo adaptó para la comunidad allá. En cada día hay un libro recomendado, una actividad, un video y uno o dos sitios web recomendados para más información o actividades. La Biblioteca de Virginia me contrató en 2013 para crear un sitio en español para acompañar el sitio en inglés. En el calendario en español, encontrará muchas canciones tradicionales en español, además canciones traducidas que usan ritmos familiares. Cada día presenta un libro para niños en español o bilingüe e incluye muchos autores e ilustradores latinos. Además, muchos sitios web con más información para los padres o actividades divertidas para los niños son incluidos. Este sitio es diseñado para las familias, pero es útil para los bibliotecarios y educadores también. Por favor, explórenlo y compártanlo con clientes y compañeros que pueden usarlo. ¡Si quieren, díganme lo que piensan!

Monday, February 23, 2015

March 2015 Bilingual Storytime Online Class

Hi everyone! Just a quick update that this is the last week to register for my next session of "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca," which is being offered by Library Juice Academy during the month of March. The details are below, and you can register or find more information at the LJA course page - http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/033-storytime-biblioteca.php. Please be in touch if you have any questions; I hope to meet some blog readers in the class group!

Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca    

This 4-week, online course teaches participants how to present bilingual storytimes (English/Spanish) for various ages, regardless of their own language skills. Video demonstrations, articles, online resources and course discussions direct students as they learn how to successfully deliver the various elements of bilingual storytimes, either on their own or with a bilingual community partner. Participants will discover new books, rhymes, songs, plans and resources that they can immediately put to use in their bilingual storytime programs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn how to select and use the following components in bilingual storytime: books, songs, rhymes, fingerplays, and stories for telling aloud.
  • Students will experiment with incorporating bilingual materials into their existing storytime programs.
  • Students will select books and other materials they can use to increase inclusion of Latino culture and the Spanish language in their English storytime programs.
  • Students will articulate how bilingual storytime supports the early literacy and school readiness needs of Latino children, and identify online resources for sharing early literacy and school readiness information with Spanish-speaking parents.
  • Students will each develop two bilingual storytime plans.

NOTE: This course does not address outreach/marketing to Latinos and Spanish-speakers, and is best suited for libraries that are already successfully serving these communities. Libraries interested in learning how to establish or improve services to Latino and Spanish-speaking families are encouraged to take the course, “Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Il Sung Na

Occasionally I'd like to highlight an author or illustrator whose works are particularly well-suited for bilingual storytime. This will include Latino authors and illustrators, of course, but also non-Latinos whose works are available either bilingually or in Spanish translation. One of those is Korean author/illustrator Il Sung Na. I first fell in love with Na's works when A Book of Sleep came out in 2009. The illustrations absolutely drew me in. I was over the moon to later find it in Spanish as ZZZZZ Y ellos...¿cómo duermen? The translation absolutely held up and this became a storytime favorite for owls, night and bedtime themes.


Since then, two more of Na's books have become available in Spanish. El escondite is about a group of animals playing hide-and-seek and Brrr El libro del invierno is a winter book. I have my fingers crossed that more are still to come, especially The Thingamabob, which is about an umbrella and would be great for a weather or rain storytime.





Have you used any of Il Sung Na's books in storytime? Tell us about it!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Green is a Chile Pepper

We all know I'm a big fan of John Parra. Unabashedly. I simply love his work. And I am a recent fan of Roseanne Greenfield Thong. She has written a number of books that simultaneously introduce first concepts and celebrate diverse cultures. I have found that her books are very practical for early childhood educators to incorporate into the classroom, and I regularly use them as examples of simple, high-quality diverse children's literature in the workshops that I offer to early childhood educators here in Kentucky. So I am over the moon that these two, who paired up in 2013 to bring us Round is a Tortilla, worked together again to create Green is a Chile Pepper, which received a Pura Belpré honor for illustration at the 2015 Youth Media Awards. As a side note, this year's awards were filled with recognition of diverse authors, illustrators and books. Kudos to all of the committee members. It was thrilling to be a part of this year's announcement.


As anticipated, this title uses Latino imagery, traditional foods and Spanish vocabulary to introduce colors in both English and Spanish. The text is simple, the illustrations are lively and the rhyming text is pleasant to read aloud. This title is a natural fit for storytimes about colors, whether bilingual or not, but can also work for food or family themed programs. This title would also work well in a classroom setting. Educators and librarians can extend the story with a color sort activity, perhaps even as a group on the flannelboard.


Do you have this book in your library or school? Have you read it with your child? What other titles would you pair it with for a colors themed bilingual storytime?

Read more about the Belpre award and its influence in this article recently posted on I Love Libraries.