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Archive for the ‘book’ tag

May 11th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

6 Blogs To Follow If You’re Raising Bilingual Kids


If you’re raising bilingual children, you should know you’re not alone. There’s a ton of other parents just like you who’re in the same journey and several of them share all about their experience in their blogs. Since one of my tips when raising bilingual kids is to make sure you have support from others like you, following some of these blogs is a great idea.

1. Bilingual Monkeys: Adam Beck’s blog is full of great resources and it’s simply super fun to read. This dad lives in Japan and him and his wife are raising them bilingual in Japanese and English. Adam’s posts are inspiring, funny and very honest.

2. Kid World Citizen: One of my favorite blogs to help you with ideas and resources when raising global citizens. Raising bilingual children is about the language, but it’s also about the culture, history and traditions that go with that language. In this blog, you’ll find everything you need to help your children become world citizens.

3. Growing Up Bilingual: A bilingual blog by Guatemalan mom-of-2, Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, who writes about culture, travel and family. In this blog you’ll find anything from recipes to crafts always with a Latino touch.

4. Latinas 4 Latino Lit: A great blog dedicated to promoting and pushing for more literature that represents Latinos. Its Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program is about to launch and it’s definitely worth checking out with your kids.

5. Mommy Maestra: This blog is full of resources. Created by a mom who homeschools her children, it’s great for those of us whose kids don’t go to a dual-language immersion school. I’ve found a lot of great recommendations for materials I can use with my own bilingual kids at home.

6. SpanglishBaby: (Disclaimer: I’m the co-founder of this blog). Although we’re no longer updating this blog, all the information we gathered there the last five years is still available and searchable. From book reviews to Ask-an-Expert posts, there’s something for everyone. Plus, we’re still very active on Facebook where we interact with an ever-growing community of over 65,000 followers!

Are there any others you’d add to this list?

Photo Credit: Mark Evans, Flickr

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April 28th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

5 Fun Kid Activities to Celebrate Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros


Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros is an annual celebration of books, children and cultural diversity. Although celebrations take place the entire month of April, the 30th, which is tomorrow, is the actual day known as DIA. Libraries throughout the country will have some kind of event so check yours to see if there’s something going on. If you can’t find anything, here are a few ideas for activities you can do with your kids to partake in this awesome celebration of children and books!

1. Children’s handmade books: There are tons of ways of doing this from the most basic ones (with paper and crayons) to the more elaborate. Either way, your kids will have tons of fun and you’ll be surprised by where their imagination takes them. Plus, they’ll be super proud of their creation and will want to share it with everybody!

2. Bookmarks: The possibilities are endless with this activity too, but the one I highly recommend is Scratch Art. My daughter has done several of these and they’re not only super easy, but lots of fun!

3. Help them send a DIA e-card: You can get these from ether Colorín Colorado a bilingual website dedicated to children literacy or from Reading Rockets. Both are absolutely beautiful, inspiring… and bilingual!

4. Read!: Sounds simple, but it can be so much fun. Take your kids to the library and let them roam for a while picking the books they want you to read to them or that they want to read to you. Make silly faces and funny voices and ask a lot of questions. My 4-year-old son’s current favorite book is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, which we own in its bilingual edition. Although he doesn’t know how to read, he’s memorized and loves to ask me if I want him to read it to me. It’s crazy fun to hear his interpretation of this beautiful book.

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March 31st, 2014 at 5:39 pm

5 Easter Children’s Books in Spanish


Although Easter is still three weeks away, it’s never too early to start getting your kids excited about this celebration. One of the best ways to do this is to teach them all about it based on their age. I love to do this through books and since in my house we only speak Spanish, I’m always on the lookout for books in my native tongue.

Here are the ones that have become favorites in my household through the years:

1. La aventura de Dora y el Conejo de Pascua: Dora and Boots come to the rescue after Swiper snatches the Easter basket from the Easter Bunny. The thing about Dora the Explorer books is that most kids are familiar with the characters, so they’re perfect for introducing them to new concepts and celebrations.

2. Pascua: A colorful book perfect for preschoolers to learn all about Easter.

3. Baile de los cascarones: Cascarones (hollowed eggs filled with colorful confetti) are a cultural tradition that all kids, regardless of whether they’re Latino or not, should partake in at least once in their lives. This book will teach them all about it. And hopefully, will get them excited about making their own cascarones too!

4. Clifford y el día de Pascua: Another great option to teach little kids about Easter through characters they already know. In this particular story, Clifford helps his friends find the hidden Easter eggs.

5. Jane decora un huevo de Pascua: Kids learn about Easter through the adventures of a trio of friends: a hen, a bear and a cat.


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September 17th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Hispanic Heritage Month: 5 Children’s Books About Prominent Latinos

Hispanic Heritage Month is underway and if you’d like to teach your kids about the rich and diverse history of Latinos in the United States, I have the perfect books for you!

1) My name is Celia by Monica Brown — A biographical tale about the iconic salsa singer Celia Cruz. Brown starts the story in Cuba, where a young Celia starts her career and then follow her to New York and Miami where she becomes famous.

2) Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter — An inspiring story of a little girl of Puerto Rican heritage who was able to achieve one of the highest honors by becoming the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

3) Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown — A tribute to the two of the most powerful Latino activists that every child should know.

4) Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Johan Winter — All kids, regardless of their heritage, should know about one of the greatest baseball players ever: Puerto Rican Roberto Clemente who was a right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite facing all kinds of challenges, Clemente had so much talent that he came to be known as “The Great One.”

5) Tito Puente, Mambo King by Monica Brown — Learn all about the life of five-time Grammy winner  Tito Puente. As she does in the other biographies she’s written about important Latino figures, Brown introduces children to the life of this musical prodigy in a fun and simple way.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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May 28th, 2013 at 5:00 am

5 Books for Older Kids Written by Latinas

I can recommend a lot of children’s books in Spanish because I have two kids who love books and reading in general. But they’re only 3 and 6, so my list of recommendations tends to be limited to those age groups.

Even so, I often get asked if I can make suggestions for books that would appeal to kids who are a little bit older, say in the 8-12 age range. That’s why I decided to do some research and came up with a list of five books for older kids written by Latina authors. These women are all prolific and award-winning writers. Some do children’s books only, while others started out as adult fiction authors.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros — The poignant story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. This is a classic that all children — and adults — should read.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan — A story of immigration and assimilation as told through the eyes of a young girl who is forced to leave her comfortable life in Mexico to go work in the California fields right before the Great Depression.

Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada — A beautiful story about two young girls who just want to fit in. One is the child of immigrants who wants to prove she’s 100% American and her cousin who is a recent immigrant and is having a ton of difficulties adapting.

How Tía Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez — This book is part of series written by the talented Julia Alvarez, whom I only knew as an adult fiction writer. This books tells the story of Miguel, who moves to Vermont after his parents’ divorce and how his Aunt Lola moves in with them from the Dominican Republic to help out. But Lola is no ordinary aunt…

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende — The first one in a coming of age trilogy featuring Alexander Cold in an adventure in the Amazon. The perfect book for those kids who love adventure and mystery.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.


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April 16th, 2013 at 5:01 am

Celebrating El Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros

El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is a month-long celebration of children and books which culminates on April 30. As a bookworm, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate reading and children! Día, as it’s now known, was created back in 1996 by the talented writer Pat Mora, who has  penned countless bilingual and bicultural children’s books — many of which are favorites at our house.

One of those is ”Book Fiesta,” which is specifically about this awesome celebration and includes great ideas on how you can honor kids and books. One of those ideas sounds so fun and easy that I figured it’d be a good idea to share it with you:

Host a Book Fiesta with food, music and games making sure books are at the center of the celebration! You can select one book as a theme for the party and decorate your home accordingly. In terms of activities, you can get children to dress up as their favorite book characters or make their own books and/or bookmarks. Another great option is to include storytellers or puppet shows, which kids always find super entertaining. Finally, you can give books as party favors.

Even if you don’t have the time to organize a book party, you can still celebrate this day by giving your children a brand new book. The idea is to them know you’re celebrating them and the importance of reading. I’ve made this a tradition in my house and my daughter is already counting the days to Día. I think this time around, she gets to choose her own book… as long as it’s either bilingual or in Spanish.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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April 2nd, 2013 at 5:00 am

Libros bilingües para celebrar el Mes Nacional de la Poesía

Por si no lo sabías, abril es el Mes Nacional de la Poesía y es un buen momento para introducir a tus hijos a los poemas. Si estás criando hijos bilingües, los poemas escritos en ambos idiomas son una excelente manera de enseñarles nuevo vocabulario de una forma divertida. A mis niños les encanta el ritmo y la sencillez de los poemas en los siguientes libros, así que pensé que sería buena idea compartirlos con ustedes:

1) ¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes por Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy — Perfecto para los más pequeños. Este hermoso libro está lleno de las rimas de mi propia infancia, así que me encanta compartirlas con mis hijos y ayudarlos a que memorizar algunas de ellas.

2) Jitomates Risueños y Otros Poemas de Primavera por Francisco X. Alarcón — Tuve el placer de entrevistar a este autor Chicano de gran prestigio y me encanta cómo él ve la poesía de los niños como una manera de fortalecer sus propias habilidades en cuanto a la escritura. Este es sólo uno de los libros de poesía sólo que Alarcón ha escrito.

3) Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding: Un poema para cocinar/A cooking poem por Jorge Argueta — Este es el segundo libro de una serie de tres que contienen poemas de cocina escritos por Argueta. Tal y como lo dice el título, es un poema para aprender cómo hacer un delicioso arroz con leche.

4) Confetti: Poems for Children por Pat Mora — Ninguna biblioteca bilingüe para niños está completa si no tiene por lo menos un libro escrito por la prolífico autora Pat Mora. Aunque éste en particular no es totalmente bilingüe, los poemas incluyen palabras clave en español que hará que sea divertido para los niños aprender palabras nuevas.

¿Cuáles son los favoritos de tus hijos?

Roxana A. Soto es cofundadora de SpanglishBaby, el sitio en línea para padres que están criando niños bilingües y biculturales. Actualmente está escribiendo su primer libro, basado en su blog, que será publicado en septiembre. Roxana también es redactora de MamásLatinas.

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February 5th, 2013 at 5:01 am

5 Bilingual Children’s Books to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

February is the month of love and I wanted to share a list of great bilingual and Spanish children’s books you can read to your kids to talk about Valentine’s Day — which is less than two weeks away — and just love and other feelings in general.

Some of the books on this list are strictly about Valentine’s, but some others are about relationships, friendships and family. So you can have a little bit of everything to read to your little ones.

El primer San Valentín de Clifford — Like most kids, mine love Clifford and this adventure is as fun as usual. Join Clifford before he became the Big Red Dog as he gets into all sorts of trouble on his first Valentine’s Day.

Dora quiere mucho a Boots — Another well known characters that both my children like. In this book about Valentine’s Day, Dora tells kids just how much her adorable little monkey, Boots.

¡Feliz Día de la Amistad, Gus! — Gus wants to make a Valentine for his mom, but it’s turning out to be harder than he thought!

Before you were here, mi amor —  A tender story about how a family lovingly prepares for the birth of a child. I love reading this book to my kids because it allows me to explain how we prepared for them as a family and how excited we were to finally meet them!

El ladrón de estrellas — A super cute love story about what a little boy is willing to do to show how much he cares for a little girl. A great opportunity to talk about friendship and the value of friends with your kids.

What books do you read to your kids about Valentine’s Day?

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.

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November 13th, 2012 at 5:01 am

4 Thanksgiving Books for Bilingual Children

Although Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated in Latin America, it’s definitely one of the traditions most representative of American culture. And since it encompasses all of the things near and dear to Latinos — mainly sharing good food with those we love — it’s an easy tradition for most immigrants to embrace.

If you know somebody that hasn’t been in the U.S. for a long time and may be celebrating her first Thanksgiving with her children, maybe the following list of books might help her. If you don’t, but you’re raising bilingual kids, these books are a great way to introduce your kids to Thanksgiving vocabulary in Spanish. Enjoy!

1) Gracias – El pavo de Thanksgiving — The story of a Latino boy who helps save the life of his pet turkey in New York City.

2) Clifford y el Día de Acción de Gracias — Follow the Big Red Dog as he journeys into the city to visit his mom during Thanksgiving.

3) Gracias * Thanks — Written by beloved children’s author Pat Mora, this bilingual book is perfect to teach kids about the true meaning of the holiday. Mora tells the story of a little boy who lists all the things for which he is thankful. Great way to get kids thinking about their own lists.

4) Celebra el Día de Acción de Gracias con Beto y Gaby — Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy, another two well-know bilingual children books’ authors, tell the story of what happens when a group of elderly friends of Beto and Gaby’s grandmother are stranded during Thanksgiving with nowhere to go because of a snowstorm.

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s the co-author of her first book, based on her blog. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.


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August 30th, 2012 at 5:01 am

5 Reasons to Raise Bilingual Kids

If you’ve toying with the idea of raising bilingual children, but haven’t gotten around to it just yet, I wanted to share some very valuable information with you in an attempt to convince you. But first let me tell you that raising me bilingual has been one of the best gifts my own parents have given to me and one that has changed my life forever in so many meaningful ways.

So here are 5 reasons why you should raise bilingual children, according to the Multilingual Children’s Association::

1) It’s easier to learn another language from birth than it is during any other time in your life. Why? Not only because our brains are wired that way, but also because, in essence, a newborn baby will be learning both languages at the same time. In other words, he’ll have two first languages.

2) Bilingualism has been proven to help your child develop superior reading and writing skills. I’ve seen this with my own daughter who was taught how to read and write in English in kindergarten last year and then came home and transferred those skills to Spanish. She currently reads above grade level in both.

3) Multilingual children also tend to have overall better analytical, social and academic skills than their monolingual peers.

4) Knowing more than one language helps your child feel at ease in different environments. It creates a natural flexibility and adaptability, and it increases his self-esteem and self confidence.

5) Career prospects are multiplied many times over for people who know more than one language. Not to mention that their pay is usually much better than their monolingual counterparts. I know this one for a fact.

For more information, resources and ways to raise bilingual children, I invite you to read my forthcoming book, Bilingual is Better, which will be released Sept. 18.

Can you add any other reasons to why we should all raise bilingual kids? 

Image credit: GoodNCrazy

Roxana A. Soto is the co-founder of SpanglishBaby, the go-to site for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children. She’s currently working on her first book, based on her blog, to be published in September. Roxana is also a staff writer for MamásLatinas.


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