by: Sarah Momo Romero
This month is National Hispanic Heritage Month! (More precisely, September 15- October 15 are the official dates of celebration, so we’re just about in the middle of it.) As a young girl, I have memories of my mom reading bedtimes stories, with books either in English or Spanish, never both. As a Japanese Peruvian writer, I wanted to showcase books I would’ve loved to have read as a little girl. Hopefully you and your little ones will enjoy these bilingual gems too!
Marta! Big & Small written by Jen Arena and illustrated by Angela Dominguez is a simple, but fun book following Marta and her animal friends. Easy to learn words in Español are dispersed among the story of this a little girl running with a horse, hiding from a lion, and escaping from a snake. Arena’s simple but key words in Spanish will help kids learn fast (rápido), slow (despacio) and different animals names as they follow Marta along her adventures. I especially love Dominguez’s energetic illustration style, creating the playful characters in the book. Dominguez also wrote and illustrated Maria Had a Little Llama, another fun bilingual book with Peruvian roots. Marta! includes a glossary at the end for easy translation and fun learning.
Moví la mano / I Moved My Hand is a poem written by Argentine poet Jorge Luján and illustrated by Mandana Sadat. Unlike Marta! Big & Small, Luján’s beautifully imaginative poem has both English and Spanish sentences side by side on each page. Sadat creates an ethereal almost space-like world, with each colored illustration floating or popping from the page in warm tones of reds and pinks, then transitioning into a beautiful rainbow of colors. Kids will enjoy the many textures and colors created in this dreamy, imaginative story.
La Princesa and the Pea, a Pura Belpré Award winning book, is written by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. Discovering Martinez-Neals’ illustrations of the adorable llamas and cuy (guinea pigs) connected with my little Peruvian heart immediately. A note from the illustrator describes the textiles in the book as “inspired by the weaving and embroidery of indigenous people of Peru”, but the entire book is a Latin-inspired tale of the Princess and the Pea. From the characters’ rosy cheeks to the crimson patterned ponchos, the Peruvian influence feels very distinct and authentic. Readers will delight in this Latin twist on the traditional fairy tale. La Princesa and the Pea includes a glossary in the beginning, for translation of the slightly more challenging words in Español.
I hope these three delightful stories will inspire you to also celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month in your own way, even if it only means learning a few Spanish words through these picture books. Do you have any favorite English/Spanish bilingual books?
Sarah Momo Romero is a Japanese Peruvian American artist, a graphic designer by day and children's book author and illustrator by night. She’s loved drawing and painting since she was chiquita and now crafts stories of adventure and wondrous creatures. Sarah is an active SCBWI member who draws inspiration from her life in sunny Los Angeles with her husband/creative partner and dog/infamous escape artist, Peanut. Look out for her first picture book coming out in October 1, 2018!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Maggie Brown.
And 5th Mondays will feature the wonderful Ave Maria Cross