Bilingual is Better

children's book in Spanish

I’ve become a big fan of Barefoot Books for several reasons. First, I love that the variety of topics their books cover: from world cultures to monsters & magicians. Then, I love how they have a growing selection of books in Spanish and French. You might remember I wrote about their Bilingual Bear series at the beginning of the year.

Navegamos a Galápagos: una semana en el Pacífico by Laurie Krebs falls under their category of travel and adventure. As soon as I saw that the translation to Spanish was made by Yanitzia Canetti, I knew it would be flawless. Beside teaching my kids about geography, traveling and nature, I love that the book incorporates the days of the week to tell the story. Vanessa knows from lunes to jueves already, but she still doesn’t remember the order of the other three.

The illustrations by Grazia Restelli are uniquely vibrant and go perfect with the topic of the book, an exploration of the exotic animals found on the Galapagos Islands: piquero patiazul, focas peleteras, and aves fragatas. At the end of the book, there are additional notes related to the animals, the islands and Charles Darwin.

Laurie has written several other picture books in the category of travel and I’m truly looking forward to checking them out, especially the one about my home country, Perú, entitled Sube y baja por los Andes.

Laurie’s books are also available in English only in both hard cover and paperback editions. You can also experience Barefoot Books through its free digital content in the form of podcasts, digital videos and activities by going here and looking on the left hand side.

1) Where did the idea for your book come from?

My husband and I were lucky enough to travel to the Galapagos Islands. In fact, all my books are about places I have visited. I was teaching first grade at the time and wanted to share the remarkable animals who live on the islands with my students. I chose to use the days of the week as a vehicle for describing the creatures of different islands and as you know, all of my picture books are written in rhyme. It was fun to know your daughter has learned the repetitive verse. Do you know you can sing it, too?

2) Why was it translated to Spanish?
The Galapagos Islands belong to the country of Ecuador and Spanish is the official language there. So translating the story into Spanish was a logical choice. Now, however, Barefoot Books has Spanish versions of all my picture books, which makes it perfect for your organization, SpanglishBaby.
3) What are your thoughts on bilingualism/biculturalism?
My thoughts are very positive about this subject. I think it’s important for children of the world to know about different people, different cultures and traditions. And then, of course, I hope they will find out that even with different languages, children are more alike than different in many important ways.
4) Why is this book a good option for parents raising bilingual/bicultural children?
Being able to read the same text in two languages helps children become more comfortable with a new language. I often wish my own children had the chance to grow up being able to speak two languages. The world is growing smaller and these skills can be helpful in understanding people who live in a different country.

An elementary school teacher for 20 years, Laurie Krebs began her writing career by creating stories for her class. She is drawn to projects that combine her love of children’s literature with her love of travel to unusual places. Her multicultural picture books, written in rhyme with detail and informative end notes, allow children to peek inside a different world.

In addition to four grown children, Laurie has five active grandsons, all of whom she enjoys immensely and none of whom live quite close enough to suit her.
The Giveaway

We have a copy of Navegamos a Galápagos to give away to one lucky winner. To enter this giveaway, please visit Barefoot Books and tell us which book(s) caught your attention and why.

This giveaway ends at midnight EST on Sunday, April. 10, 2010. Entries/Comments that do not follow the submission guidelines will be invalid and automatically deleted. Sorry, just need to keep it fair. Good luck to all!

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