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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Flannel Friday Guest Post - Soy un vaquero / I'm a Cowboy

Hi everyone! A large chunk of what I spend my time doing these days is leading online classes that teach participants how to design and implement bilingual storytime programs. Each session is so much fun! Participants share with each other, and I am always amazed and re-energized by the enthusiasm and creativity of the groups. From time to time, I like to share something special that was shared within the class by inviting a participant to do a guest post here on the blog. This post comes from Kate Cruz, a Library Assistant at the Washoe County Library System. Thanks, Kate, for being so generous as to share your ideas and these amazing flannel designs!

From Kate Cruz:
I Am a Cowboy/Soy un Vaquero
Duke was my solution to a classic bilingual story time dilemma—How do I to get the audience to participate in an activity/song, regardless of the language they speak, while keeping the program fresh each week?

I had heard a song called Cowgirl Clothes by GoGo Lingo and used that as a starting point. It’s a cumulative song, but has a simple tune that is easy to remember. You can check it out here:

I decided not to keep it cumulative, making the song easier for the younger audience to keep up with. I also decided to make the cowgirl a cowboy—because I felt that the one less syllable per line made the song easier to sing…
"Soy una vaquera" = 6 syllables

"Soy un vaquero" = 5 syllables

…especially as the weeks went by and I was trying to fit more vocab into the song for different themes.  Trust me on this one.

The first felt piece I made was Duke. He is dressed plainly, a blank slate. Then I created the clothing/accessories to match the cowboy theme (a hat, a lasso, boots, a bandana, a guitar, and a horse). When choosing Duke’s accompanying items, make sure you can easily fit the English and Spanish translations into the lines. 2-3 syllables is best, 4 can be done—but it’s a mouthful.

I set up the board with Duke on one side, and the items on the other. When I introduce the activity, I explain (going back and forth in English and Spanish) that Duke is a little boy who loves to dress-up in different costumes. Then I ask the audience what they think Duke will be dressing as today based on the items on the board. “¡Sí—un vaquero! A cowboy!” Then we review the items in both English and Spanish before we begin our song. I explain that we will begin in English and then alternate between English and Spanish throughout. I also tell them that even if they don’t know the whole song, that they can help me by naming each item Duke is going to wear as we go along. But don’t worry—they will pick it up quickly! Here is how I sing it:

I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) hat!

(place felt piece on Duke, repeat line without pause)

Pause for a moment here and remind the group that the next verse will be in Spanish.
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita unas… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡botas!

(place felt piece on boy, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “Y ahora en Ingles/and now in English.”
I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) lasso!

(place felt piece on boy’s hand, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “and now in Spanish/y ahora en Español.”
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita un… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡pañuelo!

(place felt piece on boy, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “Y ahora en Ingles/and now in English.”
I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) guitar!

(place felt piece on boy’s hand, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “and now in Spanish/y ahora en Español.”
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita un… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡caballo!

(place felt piece next to boy, repeat line without pause)

(Taking a break from the song, tell the group that Duke’s Mom is calling for him to come eat lunch—“It’s time to take off your costume!”)
(Repeat song—this time do the Spanish lines in English, and vice-versa. Take the felt pieces off the boy as you sing about each item)

I don’t always stick to a theme in my story time, but I try to pair at least one book to Duke’s costume so it makes an easy transition in the program. For Duke the cowboy, we stayed on the farm and smoothly transitioned to Clic, Clac, Muu: Vacas Escritoras/ Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin.

You could do this activity in a variety of ways. I once did the entire song in English and then in Spanish, and I’ve also thought about bringing in props/costume pieces instead of using the felt board. If you have a small group, you can ask the children to help you place the items onto Duke as you sing. Another idea is to nix Duke all together, and instead create a background, adding items to the scene throughout the song. For example, you could start with a simple gray castle…
I am a castle and a castle needs a---MOAT! (gate, flags, etc.)
This activity is so versatile, and you can make it your own.  Here are some other themes that I’ve done:

I Am a Barber/Soy un Barbero

I Am a Doctor/Soy un Doctor

I Am a Pirate/Soy un Pirata

I Am a Ranger/Soy un Guardabosque

Wow! So creative and fun! Thanks again Kate for sharing these super cute flannels with us. If you give them a try in your bilingual storytime, let us know how it goes! What other ideas can you come up with for Duke?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

November Session of "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families"

November Session of "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families"

I want to quickly let you all know that I am leading a session of my outreach class November 2-27 through Library Juice Academy. This class is all about how to reach Latino and Spanish-speaking families in your community. It is designed as a companion workshop to "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca," though those interested in outreach/adult services who aren't interested in bilingual storytime are also encouraged to participate.  

The biggest challenge I hear over and again in "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" is that Latino and Spanish-speaking families aren't coming to the library for the program. So often we think that a bilingual storytime will be enough to draw new families to the library, but it just isn't. Outreach is critical. This class presents the basics of outreach and marketing, and can help you think through how to better deliver your bilingual programming (or library service in general) to the Latino and Spanish-speaking families you are trying to reach. You can find more information and register here if you are interested: http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php

This is a completely asynchronous online class that runs from November 2 - November 27. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send me a question via my website if you have any questions. Hope to see some of you who follow the blog in the class!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Big Announcements and Recommended Music

Yes, I've fallen off of updating the blog lately, but I promise you, it's been for a great reason! I'm so excited to share that I am close to finishing a book that is all about bilingual storytime! I'm co-authoring it with Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, and it is being published by ALA Editions. Our working title is Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish. I've been pouring my heart into this work for the better part of a year now, and I'm feeling very excited about it as it gets closer and closer to finished. We are covering all of the "how-to's" of bilingual storytime planning, as well as the critical component of library outreach to Latino and Spanish-speaking communities. Whether you speak Spanish yourself or not, if you are wanting to develop library programming for young children that engages Spanish-speaking families, this book will help you find your way. And it will be full of awesome resource and sample program plans. I'll keep you posted with all the details as the book gets closer to publication!

Another announcement is that registration is now open for my fall session of "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca." This is always such a fun class! It's totally online and asynchronous, but we do interact a lot throughout the month, meaning that participants are often learning as much from each other as they are from me, which is one of the best parts of the class. Please consider enrolling if you'd like to learn more about establishing a bilingual storytime or if you're looking for new tips and tricks for your current program. 

Finally, since it's been so long since I've posted anything useful, I wanted to share some pretty great stuff today. I remember when I first started offering bilingual storytime, one of my biggest challenges was to find fun Spanish-language or bilingual children's music. José-Luis Orozco is, of course, one of the best out there, and I was so happy when I finally found him. Today, however, there are so many amazing children's performers creating really fun music bilingually or in Spanish. I wanted to share with you a few of my most recent favorites. Check them out, and have fun getting your groove on in bilingual storytime!

Basho & Friends
Favorite Song: "Baila con tu cuerpo" from ¡Aún Más!

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Favorite Song: "A bailar" from ¡Fantástico!

Mister G
Favorite Song: "Frota tu panza" from ABC Fiesta

Nathalia Palis
Favorite Song: "Animal Bop" from From Here to There

Patty Shukla
Favorite Song: "Muévete" from Canta y baila con Patty

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Session: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Back to school is just around the corner. This is a perfect time to commit to ensuring that your library is a welcoming, responsive place for EVERYONE in your community. My upcoming class "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families" helps librarians and library staff learn how to truly engage with Latino families, with particular focus on serving first-generation immigrants and their children. If you are interested in taking "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" (begins September 7), it is strongly recommended that you take this class first. A new session starts August 3, and registration is open now. This is a four-week, asynchronous online class. Please be in touch if you have any questions!

Here is the course description:
"Public libraries across the country experiencing growth in their Latino and Spanish-speaking populations face similar challenges in connecting these communities with library service. Though libraries may offer Spanish-language materials and/or programming, these services may not attract the targeted community as desired. This class is designed to help libraries to bridge the gap and increase the use of their services by Latinos and Spanish-speakers, with particular emphasis on reaching first-generation immigrants and their families. Participants will increase their knowledge of Latino cultural values that impact library use, develop an understanding of common barriers that impede library use, and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers. Participants will also identify key people/organizations within their own communities for potential partnerships. This course is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for 'Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca.'"

More information and registration at: http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Earlier is Easier en Español

Wonderful news...Earlier is Easier, the Denver based early literacy initiative, now has a sister website in Spanish! Take a look!

I first learned of the Earlier is Easier initiative about a year ago from Miss Mary Liberry, who is one of the geniuses behind it. For a long time there was a notice at the top that a Spanish site would be coming soon. And it is here! It looks wonderful, and was absolutely worth the wait.

So what is Earlier is Easier? Well, it's a super parent-friendly and easy to navigate website that presents fun and simple ways that parents can engage in early literacy practices at home with their children. It also includes lot of great information about resources and events in the Denver area. Activities are separated by each of the 5 early literacy skills (Read, Sing, Talk, Write and Play) and there is an additional Laugh category. Parents can view activities for all ages, or narrow down to Birth-8 months, 9 months-18 months, 19 months-36 months. 

Colorado, I'm a big fan of your commitment to early literacy. Between Storyblocks, the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Book Awards, and now this beautiful, bilingual website dedicated to supporting parents in their work as their child's first teacher, you are truly a state leading the way. 

What cool early literacy initiatives are taking place in your state? Brag on it by leaving a comment!

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.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

February Class: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Hi everyone! This is a quick post just to let you know that there is still time to register for my February class on library outreach to Latino communities being offered through Library Juice Academy. The details are below. One important point is that I strongly encourage taking this class if you are interested in later taking "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" (next offered in March). Outreach is a key component of setting a bilingual or Spanish language storytime program up for success. Hope to see some blog readers in the group!

Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Instructor: Katie Scherrer
Dates: February 2-27, 2015
Credits: 1.5 CEUs
Price: $175
Public libraries across the country experiencing growth in their Latino and Spanish-speaking populations face similar challenges in connecting these communities with library service. Though libraries may offer Spanish-language materials and/or programming, these services may not attract the targeted community as desired. This class is designed to help libraries to bridge the gap and increase the use of their services by Latinos and Spanish-speakers, with particular emphasis on reaching first-generation immigrants and their families. Participants will increase their knowledge of Latino cultural values that impact library use, develop an understanding of common barriers that impede library use, and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers. Participants will also identify key people/organizations within their own communities for potential partnerships. This course is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for “Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca.”

Register here - http://www.libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Latino Art! ¡Arte Latino!

Yuyi Morales' recent bilingual book Viva Frida has inspired me to share some ideas for programs that celebrate Latino art and artists. This programs can be done bilingually or monolingually, as needed to best meet the needs of the group and with the resources your library or school has to offer. Remember, you do not need to be bilingual to use bilingual materials or to be inclusive of Latino cultures in your programming! And you don't have to wait for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Toddler / Preschool Storytime

Song: Mister G: Colores - A simple, bilingual song that introduces the colors with a fun beat. 
Add color scarves or egg shakers to this song. Kids can even look for the various color items as they are introduced in this song, depending on the size of the group. 
Book: Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Flannelboard Activity: Practice the colors in English and Spanish and the Spanish vocabulary introduced in the book by adding the items one at a time to the flannelboard. This could also be done digitally for those using iPads and other technology tools in their storytime programs. 
Book: Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
Final Activity/Craft Ideas:
  • Color Sort: Have parents/caregivers work together with children to sort objects of various colors into groups. This helps children not only to learn their colors, but also to develop the Kindergarten Readiness skill of recognizing similar attributes. 
  • Self-Portraits: Use paints, markers or any other art supplies suitable to your group and have children create their own-self portraits. You may want to first show them self-portraits done by artists such as Frida Kahlo for inspiration. 

Early Elementary School Age

Book: Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh
Activities: There are several art activities you could do with children based on this book. 
  • Talk about murals and have them work together in small groups using butcher paper to create their own murals. 
  • Show students works of art by Diego Rivera and have them create their own individual art that explores similar themes or uses a similar style. 
  • Introduce students to the Mixtec Codices, which inspire Duncan Tonatiuh's stylized illustrations, and have them create their own symbol based language.

Mixed-Age Family Program

Book: De Colores = Bright with Colors by David Diaz
Board Books for Young Children: I always recommend having board books available for mixed-age programs. It's something that babies can have in their hands and parents can softly read one on one, while older children are engaged with other activities. Any of the books in the Arte Kids series, such as Colores Everywhere! would be great for this program.
Song: "De Colores" with color balls and a parachute. I like the version by José-Luis Orozco.
Book: Colors! ¡Colores! by Jorge Luján
Family Activities:
  • Painting!: Kids love to paint, whether its with brushes, sponges, or their fingers, but the materials may be too expensive and the cleanup to extensive for this to be a family-friendly activity to share at home. Help families share in the joy of creating a masterpiece with their child by doing it together at the library or program center. Cover tables with newspaper and have old t-shirts or smocks for the kids to put on to reduce the mess. Provide supplies and some fun music to set the tone and let the creativity flow!
  • Pattern Play: Using dot paint markers or something similar, have adults work with their children to practice identifying and extending pattern, an important school readiness skill. Parents can make patterns, beginning with very simple ones and then perhaps working up to something more challenging, and ask their children to predict what comes next. Then children can work on creating their own patterns for their parents to complete!
If you try out any of these ideas, leave us a comment and let us know how it goes! Happy programming!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Colorín Colorado - A Resource to Know!

Part of what I'd like to do with the re-launch of this blog is to introduce readers, particularly librarians and educators, to great resources that are available that can help you to better serve Latino and Spanish-speaking families in some capacity. The first resource that I would like to share is one that I have been using for years, ¡Colorín Colorado!.

¡Colorín Colorado! is a completely bilingual (Spanish/English) website, dedicated to providing support to anyone working with English Language Learners. There are special sections for educators, administrators, librarians and families. It is a project of WETA (based out of Washington, DC) and a sister site to Reading Rockets. The website is extensive--definitely one that I would recommend bookmarking in order to browse through during slow periods on the desk in order to better get to know what all it has to offer. Here are my highlights of some of the website's fantastic components and how I use them:

  • Reading Tip Sheets: These tip sheets for parents are available as PDF downloads in 11 languages. Tip sheets cover babies through grade three. I like to have these handouts distributed at storytime and with books in the children's area for parents to pick up. Would also make a great tool to send home with homework. 
  • Early Literacy Articles: Over 30 articles about early literacy skill development, many of which are excellent for parents and which include tips of activities to do at home to help reinforce early literacy skill development. Click the "En español" button on the left side to access the articles in Spanish. I like to print out articles relevant to what we are exploring in storytime in both English and Spanish to provide to parents as a take-home. 
  • Free Guides and Toolkits: A number of helpful resources. Particularly excellent is the Engaging ELL Families: 20 Strategies for School Leaders document. Library staff working to better serve diverse communities can also benefit from the information and strategies in this document. 
  • Multimedia: Videos and podcasts with authors, experts in ELL education and classroom teachers provide excellent professional development opportunities for anyone serving ELL's in their work. 
Take some time exploring this valuable site, sign up for relevant newsletters and check back often, as new content is always being added. FYI, I am not being compensated in any way for my recommendation--I genuinely use this site frequently and hope to share its spectacular content with others. Already using ¡Colorín Colorado!? What's your favorite resource on the site? How are you using the site with colleagues and/or families?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bringing it Back!

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted on here and I'm so glad to let you know that I have decided to make the effort to revive the blog. I really thank you all for your patience while I was away. Things got very busy for a while. I got a book deal with ALA, I partnered with my local mentor to take on my first library strategic planning job, and I spent a month and a half in South America with my husband. I simply could not keep pace with social media for a while. Blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, all of that stuff is important, but it's difficult for me to prioritize it when it feels as though there are so many other things to do. However, I have come to realize that this blog is truly a useful resource for those out there dipping their toes into the waters of bilingual storytime, and that means a lot to me. I believe this programming is important, and I want to share what I can to offer support, encouragement and fresh ideas to those of you out there doing it! So I am back to the blog, and am going to make a dedicated effort to stay on track with offering you updated content on a regular basis. My thoughts are to bring you book reviews when I can, program plans, great resources and possibly some videos. This is something I could use your opinion on...what would you thing of a ¡Es Divertido Hablar Dos Idiomas! YouTube channel where I demonstrate flannel stories, songs and rhymes? I'm sort of on the fence on this one because it makes me nervous, but if it's something that you want, let me know and I will get over my nerves and go for it.

One quick thing to share today as I relaunch this blog is a story that I heard yesterday morning on NPR about the role libraries have in encouraging parents to Sing, Talk, Read, Write and Play with their children. Not only did the story nail the importance of empowering parents to engage in early literacy practices with their children, they also touched on the reasons why library outreach to some communities, such as Spanish-speakers, is so vital. It's definitely worth a listen if you missed it!

So, gracias otra vez por su paciencia. ¡Espero traer a ustedes muchas ideas útiles aquí en este blog en los días y meses que vienen! Happy New Year everyone! I am truly looking forward to interacting with you in this space once again!