Bilingual is Better

 

Where to find quality books by and about Latinos

Happy Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros! Back in the summer of 2008, when Ana and I started thinking about the idea of launching this blog, we were prompted by what we took as a lack of resources for parents raising bilingual kids. One of our biggest problems was finding quality bilingual or Spanish children’s books without having to resort to traveling to Latin America to get our hands on them.

While we did find some options, back then, it truly felt like there was a huge void. Almost five years later, I’ve come to the realization that these books do exist, but many of them are not as easy to find or as readily available as they should be. Latino authors, such as Pat Mora, Alma Flor Ada, Isabel F. Campoy, Gary Soto, Rudolfo Anaya and Pura Belpré, have been writing about Latino themes and/or the Latino experience in the United States for decades. While some are better known than others, the truth is there’s a plethora of children’s books by and about Latinos to be discovered… if you know where to look.

That’s why I was so excited when my husband came across an extremely informative document about this very topic as he was working on a project about stereotypes in books. It was put together by Jamie Campbell Nandoo, an assistant professor at the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies and it is aptly titled: “Celebrating Diverse Latino Cultures, Literature, and Literacy Every Day.” The document includes both online and print resource on where to find quality children’s and young adult books about and by latinos, resources for latino literacy and library programs, guidelines for evaluating children’s books about Latinos and a long list of recommended Latino children’s books.

In essence, it’s a treasure trove for parents raising bilingual children.

Today being el Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros, I figured I would share a sampler of what you will find in the document:

Growing Up Around the World: Books as Passports to Global Understanding for Children in the United States — Put together by the Association of Library Services to Children, this includes a list of books about growing up in the Americas divided by country. I can’t believe I’d never heard of most of the books on the list!

Reading is Fundamental Latino Outreach Initiative’s Recommended Books — A comprehensive list of children’s books recommendations divided by category including: family, inspiring people, folklore and jobs.

Imagínense Libros: Celebrating Latino Children’s Literature, Literacy, and Libraries — A blog by Jamie C. Nandoo, the author of the document, dedicated to helping parents, teachers and librarians choose quality books by and about Latinos. The blog hasn’t been updated since Sept. 2012, but its shock full of great reviews.

Essential Guide to Spanish Reading for Children and Young Adults — This extensive list compiled by America Reads Spanish can’t be any more complete. All recommendations include title, author, illustrator, publisher and year of publication, ISBN and recommended reader’s age.

{Photo by sean dreilinger}

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