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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Perfect Book for Making a Splash!

One of my favorite things about being a children's librarian is when I get a batch of brand new books that will be perfect to use in bilingual storytime. Today, just such a book arrived - I Know the River Loves Me / Yo sé que el río me ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

Maya Christina Gonzalez is both the author and illustrator of this book, as she also was for My Colors, My World / Mis colores, mi mundo.  This title features the same young Maya exploring the beauty of the world around her.  Like Maya, the river is low and quiet in the winter, and full and loud in the summer.  The river jumps and sings when she sees Maya, runs to her side to cool her down, and is always there calling to her as she gets close.  Maya returns her love to the river by being sure to "only leave behind what already belongs to her."

In addition to the beautiful bilingual text which flows like a river and is the perfect length for bilingual storytime, Maya Christina Gonzalez' illustrations are striking.  I must admit, in addition to Yuyi Morales, Gonzalez is one of my favorite illustrators.  Her style in this book is unique, with paisley-esque blossoms and leaves on the banks of the cool, flowing water.

An author's note at the end explains that the Yuba River in California is an important inspiration for this story.  It is published by Children's Book Press, which publishes a variety of excellent books that bring more diversity into the world of children's literature.

This year, our summer reading theme is "Make a Splash - Read!"  I cannot wait to use this book in a storytime celebrating water and kicking off summer reading, pairing it up with ¡Salpicar! / Splash! by Flora McDonnell.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Celebrating Christmas! / ¡Celebrando la Navidad! Bilingual and Spanish picture books for celebrating the winter holiday season

Storytime is taking a break at the Village branch library for the month of December. As such, there is no winter holiday storytime. However, I still find myself thinking about titles that would be great for such a program! In the spirit of sharing, here is a list of various titles that may be of interest. Some are secular, some religious; some are in Spanish or bilingual, and others are in English with Latino characters and themes of Latino holiday celebrations.  Some of these titles are short enough to hold the attention of young pre-readers, while others would be better for a school age audience and independent readers.  The titles are linked to the OCLC WorldCat, so you can easily see what is available at your local library!


A piñata in a pine tree : a Latino twelve days of Christmas by Pat Mora
Summary from OCLC:
"In this adaptation of the folk song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas,' friends exchange such gifts as a piñata and 'cuatro luminarias.' Includes pronunciation and glossary of Spanish words and a description of Christmas foods and other holiday traditions from different Latin American countries."

La Nochebuena south of the border by James Rice
Summary from OCLC:
"In this bilingual version of 'The Night before Christmas,' Santa has become Papá Noel and his reindeer have been replaced with eight burros pulling a cart."

The Santero's Miracle: A Bilingual Story by Rudolfo Anaya
Summary from OCLC:
"In this bilingual story of faith, Don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen."
Also by Rudolfo Anaya is,  Farolitos for Abuelo
Summary from OCLC:
"When Luz's beloved grandfather dies, she places luminaria around his grave on Christmas Eve as a way of remembering him."

Uno, Dos, Tres, Posada!  Let's Celebrate Christmas by Virginia L. Kroll
Summary from OCLC:
"A little girl guides the reader through each step of a posada, a Hispanic holiday tradition celebrated on the nine nights before Christmas."

Summary from OCLC:  "Because he has misbehaved, four-year-old Federico is afraid the three kings will not bring him the toy horse he asked them for and, unable to sleep, he goes outside to await their arrival."

 The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie DePaola
Summary from OCLC:
"At the annual celebration of Las Posadas in old Santa Fe, the husband and wife slated to play Mary and Joseph are delayed by car trouble, but a mysterious couple seems perfect for the part."

N is for Navidad by Susan Middleton Elya 
Summary from OCLC:
"A rhyming book that outlines the preparations for and celebration of the Christmas season, with Spanish words for each letter of the alphabet translated in a glossary."

Navidad estelar de Dora by Christine Ricci
Summary from OCLC:
"When a very special surprise visitor arrives at Dora's house on Christmas Eve, he needs help, and fast! Join Dora and friends on their magical Christmas adventure."

The Gift of the Poinsettia = El regalo de la flor de nochebuena by Pat Mora
Summary from OCLC:
"As he participates in the festivities of Las Posadas, preparing for the birth of Christ, a young Mexican boy worries about what gift he will have for the baby Jesus."

 La navidad de Maisy by Lucy Cousins
Summary from OCLC:
"Maisy and her friends prepare for a Christmas celebration.
Maisy y sus amigos preparan para una celebración de Navidad."

Iguanas in the Snow And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas En La Nieve Y Otros Poemas De Invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón.
Summary from OCLC:
"These poems celebrate winter in San Francisco and the mountains of Northern California."

Summary from OCLC:
"A bilingual collection of popular Christmas songs from Latin America, illustrated to depict the Hispanic culture's rich and exuberant holiday celebrations."

Summary from OCLC:
"A retelling of a Mexican legend that describes the origin of the Poinsettia plant. In this version, a young girl has nothing to give the Christ child, but when the weeds she carries in her hands miraculously transform into red flowers, she now has the perfect gift. Included is the music of a traditional Mexican Christmas song."

However you celebrate during the winter holidays, I hope it is filled with family, love, and good reading.  ¡Feliz Navidad!  

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Susan Middleton Elya strikes again!

The author of the popular rhyming titles that introduce readers to Spanish vocabulary such as Eight Animals Bake a Cake, Oh No Gotta Go!, and Say Hola to Spanish has struck again, this time with Adiós Tricycle. This book takes place at a garage sale, where Mom and Dad are earning some extra monedas by parting with unneeded items such as "outgrown ropa, pots for plantas and bowls for sopa." A gender-neutral niño is growing up and as such has a tricycle for sale - a favorite toy. As each potential buyer approaches the tricycle, our little seller tries to steer them elsewhere to avoid parting with the much loved trike. But finally, the trike moves on, earning the child enough money for a new mode of transportation - a bicicleta! Elizabeth Schlossberg's illustrations are emotive and cartoon-like, and the cast of animal characters represents a diverse group. As always, the text rhymes, which helps little readers develop the important pre-literacy skill of phonological awareness. A glossary at the back defines the Spanish words and provides some help with the pronunciation. Pair with Pato va en bici by David Shannon for a bicycle storytime or read-aloud!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mora Award Winner

Check out this great video from the Topeka and Shawnee County library, this year's winner of the Mora award!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Virginia Hamilton Conference 2010

I am thrilled and honored to share that I have been invited to present a workshop on bilingual programming at the 2010 Virginia Hamilton Conference in Kent, Ohio! The Virginia Hamilton Conference is focused entirely on multiculturalism in literature for children and young adults, and is the longest running event of this kind. Though this conference may not be as widely known as larger events for librarians and educators, this conference attracts hundreds of public and school librarians and teachers. It also brings together some extremely important authors. This year, Pam Muñoz Ryan, author of Becoming Naomi Leon and Esperanza Rising among many others, will be the recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award. Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Chains and Speak will also be at this event.

I will be one of several presenters offering workshops at this conference, and mine will be on the topic of Bilingual Preschool Storytime. This is truly exciting for me, as I have now been part of creating a successful bilingual storytime program from scratch for two very different library systems. This experience means there are many angles from which I could approach this workshop - advocacy, marketing, early literacy, outreach, the practical elements of designing bilingual storytimes, how to find and select books, etc. As I am working on this project, I find myself thinking back to when I was first approaching bilingual programming. What did I want to know? What would have been the most useful information when I was first preparing to offer bilingual programs? I remember feeling very nervous, overwhelmed, isolated and intimidated at the prospect of launching this new program. What could have calmed my nerves? What resources did I need that I struggled to find?

My biggest goal with this workshop is that participants will leave with something practical and tangible that they can take back to their libraries or schools. I want them to feel more prepared to offer bilingual storytimes, as well as more connected to a community of bilingual programming practicioners than when they entered the room. So I'm wondering if anyone out there has ideas or suggestions for important elements to cover during the course of the workshop. What were your burning questions when you first began bilingual programming? What were your challenges? Have you trained others in presenting bilingual programs before? If so, what information did they find most beneficial?

I'll update the blog with the info I plan to share as the conference gets closer, and I will make everything available online afterward.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Early Numeracy in Bilingual Storytime

Recently, a colleague shared a great article regarding the importance of exposure to early numeracy concepts, in addition to early literacy concepts, and how this can be done through storytime. I got inspired, and this week in bilingual storytime at Village, numbers and counting abounded.

We started off with a fingerplay song, counting our manitas and deditos in English and Spanish. To the tune of "Ten Little Indians," we sang:

Dos manitas, diez deditos,
Dos manitas, diz deditos,
Dos manitas, diez deditos,
Cuentenlos conmigo.

Two little hands and ten little fingers,
Two little hands and ten little fingers,
Two little hands and ten little fingers,
Count them with me now.

Uno, dos, tres deditos
Cuatro, cinco, seis deditos,
Siete, ocho, nueve deditos
Diez deditos son.

One, two, three little fingers,
Four, five, six little fingers,
Seven, eight, nine little fingers,
One more and there's ten.

Then we were ready to move on to the stories, beginning with Nico y los lobos feroces by Valeri Gorbechav. In addition to being a super cute story about getting back to sleep after a bad dream, this book introduces more numbers than the standard 1-10. Nico believes he is being chased by 100 wolves...well maybe it was just 50...OK, maybe 15...or 5. As we read the story we pointed out the numbers on the flannelboard. Following the story, we talked about which numbers were bigger and smaller. Enhancing this, I filled four bags with corresponding numbers of buttons and had the kids pick out which bag had 100, 50, 15 or 5 buttons. They did a great job at this! It was also a nice opportunity to emphasize the "n" and the end of "fifteen" as I have noticed that many of the kids here have trouble hearing the difference between this number and "fifty."

From this we moved on to the story that introduces one of my all time favorite children's characters, Señor Calavera, in Yuyi Morales' instant classic, Just a Minute. We counted our fingers a different, more musical way, singing "Los deditos" from Jorge Anaya's A bailar = Let's Dance. Then we rhymed our way numerically across the globe (you know I have to work it that phonological awareness) with Abuelita fue al mercado. A trick I like to use with rhyming books that maintain the rhyme in both languages is to type out the English and tape it to the back of the Spanish book. This way we can read both as they are written and get that great rhyme, instead of trying to translate from either language on the fly.

This was a very fun program and parents responded enthusiastically, checking out more than half of the number-related books on display. Others I recommend on this theme are Fiesta by Ginger Foglesong Guy, Cuenta ratones by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Uno, dos, tres = One, Two, Three by Pat Mora. Tie the concepts in by printing out these great take home articles for parents on early numeracy at home from Reading Rockets, also available in Spanish.

How are you practicing numeracy in your storytimes, with your children, or with your students?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bilingual Storytime Begins at Village!

How about I actually share a post on bilingual storytime for a change? ;)

So bilingual storytime has finally gotten underway at the Village branch which is certainly exciting for me. They are Wednesday evenings at 7pm, designed for preschool age children, and all in the family who want to participate are welcome to join in the fun. This past week we had a good group and the theme was farms. Here's what we did:

We started off with our opening song, "Hola amigo" by Dr. Jean Feldman. I love using this as my opening song because it has easy motions built in that break the ice by starting us off moving, and which also help to reinforce vocabulary. After this we talked a bit about the farm and what can be found there, again reinforcing vocabulary in English y en español. Our first book was the adorable ¡No, Tito, no! / No, No Titus! by Claire Masurel, one of my favorites. This book is excellent for reinforcing narrative skills as Tito, the new puppy on the farm, tries to learn how to be a good dog by imitating the actions of the others on the farm. The mixed media illustrations are also very original and present extremely well in storytime. We then met the various animals that live on the farm as we sang Sarah Barchas' excellent bilingual version of "La granja / The Farm" from her CD of bilingual songs titled ¡Piñata! We used stick puppets to enhance the song with each child getting to participate as one of the animals: la vaca/the cow, el gallo/the rooster, la gallina/the hen, el pollito/the chick, el cerdo/the pig, el burro/the donkey, or el caballo/the horse. This reinforces both phonological awareness through the use of rhythm and rhyme, as well as vocabulary in both languages. I found the patterns for the puppets here, and a high school volunteer helped me make them. We finished up by learning about the work that people do on the farm as we read Apple Farmer Annie / Ana cultiva manzanas by Monica Wellington. At the Lexington Public Library, using storytime to reinforce basic math/science concepts is empahsized just as much as reinforcing early literacy skills. This would be an excellent title to use for that purpose as Annie sorts and organizes her apples. I am still learning how to successfully incorporate these skills into bilingual storytime, but I look forward to using this title in this way in the future. We ended our time together again with a Dr. Jean tune, "Adios amigos," my favorite goodbye song. I look forward to next week when we are going to read stories about puppies!

In case you are wondering why storytime is beneficial for young children, I will encourage you to wander over to this brief School Library Journal article on just that topic recently shared by a colleague at LPL.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I beg for forgiveness!!!!

Wow, I have seriously neglected you, my bilingual programming blog! Please accept my apologies and know I will try to tend to you with much more care from this point forward!

Finishing my MLIS program and finally getting my degree, landing my first Youth Services Librarian job at my dream library, and moving to Lexinton, Kentucky have kept me very busy this summer. Truly, I feel absolutely blessed. There is so much to share, from the exciting sessions I attended at ALA in Chicago a few weeks ago, to preparing for bilingual storytime which begins in September, to the new and exciting world of programming for school agers, tweens and teens! I will return to the world of blogging to share it all with you soon!

But for today, let me just shout out a few quick thoughts that are on my mind:

I love coming to work and hearing, "Miss Katie, will you read me?" even when I think I'm too busy to read with a kid (I can never say no!).
Open Source Soluntions for libraries is the way of the future...Replace TLC with Koha NOW!
I love the blend of English, Spanish, and all things Spanglish in new environment.
Raising Reader packets is an idea I will definitely be stealing for Village.
Planning bilingual, inter-generational lotería night after Jamie Naidoo's presentation.
Yuyi Morales is amazing for about a hundred different reasons; here is just a little taste:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Día de los niños/Día de los libros

Happy Día everyone! Don't know about it? Check out Pat Mora, founder of Día de los niños/Día de los libros and prolific children's author talking about the origins of this important celebration.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Book Fiesta! My favorite new book of the year!

As if we really need any more reasons to absolutely LOVE Pat Mora! Well, just in case, here it is -
Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros. I have been keeping this book on my desk lately for those moments when I just need a smile. It is impossible to read this book without feeling all warm and fuzzy!

This totally bilingual book is all about celebrating the joy of reading, in whatever language, with all children. We read alone, with our friends, with our pets, with our families, wherever we are...even the library! We also exercise our imaginations, reading in submarines and on hot air balloons.

For any "Ready to Read" early-literacy advocates out there, turn to the page toward the end with the big moon and prepare to squeal in delight. This is probably the best example of the use of print awareness in a picture book that I know of. Not only do we have to turn the page vertically to read the text, starbeams across the page spell out "Read Books." Keep looking even closer and you'll see the word bubble is filled with nighttime words, in English AND Spanish. Beautiful!

Rafael López has done a spectacular job with the illustrations in this book. I imagine he will be the illustrator to beat for the 2009 Pura Belpre award. Every child will be able to see him or herself in this book, which makes it truly special. This is on the top of my list along with Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach for my favorite illustrations.

So if you are looking for a great book to share at a Día de los niños/Día de los libros program, this is it! But even more, this is a special book to share with any child, anytime to share the feeling of "bookjoy". Thanks Pat Mora for giving us this treasure!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Phonological Awarenes - My favorite ready to read skill!

As part of our outreach to the Spanish-speaking community here in Columbus, my co-worker Gabriela (from "Proteja a su familia contra incendios") and I have offered to write a monthly article for La Jornada Latina. The first one ran today, and I have to say, it looks great! You can find it on page 6 of this week's edition.

One of the most fun elements of bilingual storytime for me is choosing activities like songs and rhymes that help children develop phonological awareness, the ability to hear sounds, particularly the small sounds inside of whole words. At the recent "Listos para leer" presentation at Centro Esperanza Latina, families were very interested in learning more about music and other interactive activities they could do with their children to develop this skill. Parents of active children who sometimes have trouble sitting down to read a book were particularly interested. As a follow up to this, I wrote our first article on this very topic.

I am thrilled with the support La Jornada Latina is showing to the Columbus Metropolitan Library in helping us better reach the Spanish-speaking community in Columbus!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Homework Help Centers Rock!!!

Check out this video about our Homework Help Centers (HHC) at the Columbus Metropolitan Library!

These are a fabulous resource where students and their parents can find everything they need to get their homework finished, even bilingual staff and volunteers at many locations! Too late to make it to the library for homework help? Check out our homework help website, filled with many useful resources you can use from home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I had never heard of this group before today. Cantajuego is a Spanish group that makes children's music. Their songs are very active, like a Spanish Jim Gill. Check it out!

Know any other fantastic Spanish children's music? Share it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A tiny bit of shameless self-promotion...

I have to share that I am extremely pleased and excited to see that my recent "Listos para Leer" (Ready to Read in Spanish) presentation at Centro Esperanza Latina made the news! La Jornada Latina ran an article about it in their most recent issue, free on newstands now.

This event was easily one of the coolest things I've gotten to do in my job, thus far. We held two presentations, both of which were extremely well attended. All in all, we were able to make a library connection, deliver early literacy information, and provide kits filled early literacy tools such as board books and maracas to over 50 Spanish-speaking families! I have to admit that I was terrified, as this was the biggest presentation I have yet done in Spanish! Things went great however, and I had a lot of help from my colleagues Melinda Moreno, Michelle Garver, and Joy Converse. I am very grateful to the United Way for the grant that is funding such "Listos para Leer" presentations, to the Director of the Centro Esperanza Latina, Ms. Gianella Martinez for all of her help in coordinating this event, and to Ms. Patricia Ruiz for sharing our story through this article. I'm posting a copy of it below for those of you who read Spanish:

Imparten taller “Listos para leer”

La biblioteca metropolitana de Columbus, en colaboración con Action for Children, desarrolló durante los días 23 y 25 de febrero de 2009, en el Centro Esperanza Latina, el taller programa para padres “Todos los niños listos para leer”. A estos talleres gratuitos asistieron numerosos padres de familia de la comunidad, quienes recibieron información sobre cómo preparar el niño para el kinder y qué actividades debe realizar el padre en la casa para que el niño se inicie en el hábito de la lectura. Los participantes recibieron un maletín con libros en español, un abecedario magnético, marionetas y otros elementos útiles para que el niño desarrolle el amor por la lectura y la escritura.

El paquete también incluía una solicitud para obtener la tarjeta de membresía de la biblioteca para los menores de 17 años de edad, la cual es expedida totalmente gratis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Críticas to cease publication

This is very unfortunate news. I often used this publication to learn about newly translated children's books. From the notice sent across the REFORMA Listserv:

"Reed Business Information has decided to shut down publication of Críticas after eight long and successful years...The publisher stated that ad support has greatly diminished, and given the current economic downtown, there was no sufficient foundation on which to continue with the publication of Críticas. Still, they remain optimistic, adding that they hope to somehow continue coverage of the U.S. Spanish-language book market through sister publications Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal."

I hope that Library Journal and School Library Journal have enough reviewers who speak/read Spanish to be able to fill in the void that will be left from the demise of Críticas . I will greatly miss the Cultura Crashers and Multicultural Link blogs that Críticas hosted as well.

This is the first publication that I have observed being drastically effected by our slowing economy. Do you know of any others? Where else do you recommend that we turn to find English reviews of Spanish materials?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Perfect Chemistry

This is the best book for teens that I have read in a really long time!

More than your typical "opposites attract" story, Perfect Chemistry reveals that even people from drastically different worlds often have more in common than they would ever imagine. Brittany and Alex have both meticulously crafted their images to reflect how they want to be perceived and to protect who they really are. Alex is the hardass Latino Blood gangbanger and Brittany is the super rich, super blonde, super perfect girl who has it all. But when these two are paired together as partners in chemistry class, they begin to break through one another's facades and learn the secrets each tries so desperately to keep hidden. In the process they discover something in one another that is missing from themselves, but how can people with lives so different find a way to be together?

With very believable and likable main characters, lots of drama, and some great humor, this book is filled with teen appeal. Sex and violence do come up, however, so it is probably not one for middle school and younger.

We don't speak Mexican here

This video comes from an ABC series called "What would you do?" and was shared with me by a colleague in REFORMA. Watch all the way to the end.

Food for thought. I hope that any of us who find ourselves in a situation where we are witness to discrimination make the choice to stand up for the real America; one built on diversity, tolerance, and justice.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your life's work

A colleague at work shared this me and I think it is great!

The purpose of the librarian? Connecting information with people!