Have you heard of Libros Arellano Spanish books for children? You’ve got to get your hands on these Fun books!
Since I love looking at, buying, and using children’s books for our home school library, I was asked by Marisela to review a series of Spanish books written by an up and coming American author, and fellow Stay at Home (work at home) Mom, Marianne Arellano Pazos. At first I thought, “Great, I love new books, and I happen to be looking for better resources for my girls’ Spanish boot camp we just started, so I can’t wait to get my hands on something new”. What I am used to finding and purchasing are baby alphabet and vocabulary type books or books about different Spanish speaking cultures or, finally, translations of English books (in the latter, I’m sad to say, some of the intention is oftentimes lost in the translation). While I am grateful for all of the above, I have recently been seeking a different kind of Spanish book. As my girls get older and have a growing Spanish vocabulary under their belts, I am finding myself seeking out advice on online home school forums for Readers or Read-Alouds about everyday life. What I mean is not something that feels like a vocabulary or foreign cultural lesson, but rather, I have been looking for books that a young Spanish reader would pick up just for fun and read on their own or that my little baby would find as a treat to snuggle up with me on the couch for me to read to him in the evenings or during his morning reading time. That is, I wanted something fun…not so “school-y”. I’ve been on this quest for a few months, and like I said, I’ve put it out there several times online to see if I get any feedback, but haven’t been successful. And then, Voila! I was asked to review Arellano’s books and my requests were all answered. It’s going to be so much fun shopping for our upcoming school year; I know I am definitely going to include this series in our home school budget! Hang on to find out why: When our little package arrived, I laid the two books aside so that I could read the correspondence that came with them. It took two seconds for my 16 month little guy’s new book radar to kick in and in no time he was on the floor devouring them! I looked down and he was pointing at all of the colorful images and baby babbling to himself. It’s funny because I had intended the books to be for my older girls (middle school age) who can read in Spanish around second grade level or so pretty confidently. But here he was, my little baby just bursting at the seams over his new books. I finished reading the printout that came with the books and reached down to take a look at one of the books myself, but he wouldn’t share! He only agreed when I said I would read it to him. That was a good sign!
So, first impression: BEAUTIFUL. The books are very colorful yet, very simple. The illustrator includes just enough images to engage your child, but not overwhelm him. The layout is clean and very well done, very impressive for a self-published book. Big publishing companies, listen up, your time is running out! Second, the books take place IN suburban America. This is so important to me because although I love books about my ethnic culture and learning about my parent’s home, and there is an important place for that in our home library, this time, I was really looking for books that my kids could feel totally immersed in and comfortable reading for their “fun” reading time. That is, like I said before, that they would not feel like this was another home school assignment, but instead, something they could just pick up and feel at home with and connect with instantly without having to try too hard by having to place themselves in a foreign culture. I wanted them to be able to picture themselves as the kid in the book doing the fun things in their own backyard or elsewhere in their own neighborhood here, in America. These books definitely fill that gap in our library. That’s a second big plus for this book series.
Finally, the kids in the books are adorable and very clever, just like my kids 🙂 My girls can totally relate to making forts and having tea parties (or serving Café, as the little girl in El arbol de Amanda) . I can totally see my energetic precocious little guy getting into stuff at the doctor’s office, thinking he’s being “helpful” (just like the little boy in Miguel ayuda en la oficina de la pediatra). They are normal, fun kids, no pretenses, totally relatable. My kids will love that!
So, I had notes already on all of these observations before we did our live Podcast interview with the author, and I was all ready to comment on all of these things, when I was so pleased to hear from her how she planned and put so much thought and heart into all of these things, particularly the first two aspects I wrote about. It was so nice to have a voice to go with the beautiful writing, I really hope you all listen to the show and hear for yourself. You will definitely appreciate the author and want to add this precious little collection to your own home library. Don’t delay, check our Libros Arellano now. I know I can’t wait to order the rest of the series come book shopping season! Hurray for me!
p.s. I don’t get paid for saying any of this. I never knew of or spoke to the author prior to reviewing these books. We did receive these books for free for the purposes of reviewing them. My intention is simply to share a great Mommy resource for other Mommies looking to help educate their children in a bilingual manner, 🙂 that’s my disclaimer -Claudia Lee, contributing writer at EverythingSAHM.net