¡Es divertido hablar dos idiomas!

A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca - February Class

My goodness, 2016 has arrived with a bang! There are so many exciting things happening already. The Pura Belpré award turns 20, I'm serving my second term on the Pura Belpré award committee, my bilingual storytime manual (co-authored with Jamie Campbell Naidoo) comes out from ALA Editions in May, and I'm working on a second title for 2017! More information about all of these things will be coming soon, I promise, but for now, I just want to quickly let you know that I'm teaching a new session of "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" through Library Juice Academy in February.

I love teaching this class! It never fails that the group is dedicated, passionate and loves to share. I am always inspired by the ideas that come forward and heartened at the way children's librarians and other library staff involved with children's services are truly committed to serving ALL members of their diverse communities. If you are thinking about adding or updating a bilingual program in advance of your DIA celebration or summer reading program, now is a great time to learn some new techniques and find some new materials to share with your community. Though I stress here on the blog and in the workshop that you must be able to communicate with ease in both languages if you want to offer a bilingual storytime on your own, this class is not limited to those who speak Spanish. Options are included for all language skill levels, such as working in tandem with bilingual partners and/or being intentional about using materials that positively include Latino cultures in your English storytime programs. I hope you will consider joining us!

For more information and to register, please visit Library Juice Academy. You can also contact me if you have any specific questions. ¡Hasta luego!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Flannel Friday Guest Post - Soy un vaquero / I'm a Cowboy

Hi everyone! A large chunk of what I spend my time doing these days is leading online classes that teach participants how to design and implement bilingual storytime programs. Each session is so much fun! Participants share with each other, and I am always amazed and re-energized by the enthusiasm and creativity of the groups. From time to time, I like to share something special that was shared within the class by inviting a participant to do a guest post here on the blog. This post comes from Kate Cruz, a Library Assistant at the Washoe County Library System. Thanks, Kate, for being so generous as to share your ideas and these amazing flannel designs!

From Kate Cruz:
I Am a Cowboy/Soy un Vaquero
Duke was my solution to a classic bilingual story time dilemma—How do I to get the audience to participate in an activity/song, regardless of the language they speak, while keeping the program fresh each week?

I had heard a song called Cowgirl Clothes by GoGo Lingo and used that as a starting point. It’s a cumulative song, but has a simple tune that is easy to remember. You can check it out here:

I decided not to keep it cumulative, making the song easier for the younger audience to keep up with. I also decided to make the cowgirl a cowboy—because I felt that the one less syllable per line made the song easier to sing…
"Soy una vaquera" = 6 syllables

"Soy un vaquero" = 5 syllables

…especially as the weeks went by and I was trying to fit more vocab into the song for different themes.  Trust me on this one.

The first felt piece I made was Duke. He is dressed plainly, a blank slate. Then I created the clothing/accessories to match the cowboy theme (a hat, a lasso, boots, a bandana, a guitar, and a horse). When choosing Duke’s accompanying items, make sure you can easily fit the English and Spanish translations into the lines. 2-3 syllables is best, 4 can be done—but it’s a mouthful.

I set up the board with Duke on one side, and the items on the other. When I introduce the activity, I explain (going back and forth in English and Spanish) that Duke is a little boy who loves to dress-up in different costumes. Then I ask the audience what they think Duke will be dressing as today based on the items on the board. “¡Sí—un vaquero! A cowboy!” Then we review the items in both English and Spanish before we begin our song. I explain that we will begin in English and then alternate between English and Spanish throughout. I also tell them that even if they don’t know the whole song, that they can help me by naming each item Duke is going to wear as we go along. But don’t worry—they will pick it up quickly! Here is how I sing it:

I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) hat!

(place felt piece on Duke, repeat line without pause)

Pause for a moment here and remind the group that the next verse will be in Spanish.
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita unas… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡botas!

(place felt piece on boy, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “Y ahora en Ingles/and now in English.”
I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) lasso!

(place felt piece on boy’s hand, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “and now in Spanish/y ahora en Español.”
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita un… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡pañuelo!

(place felt piece on boy, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “Y ahora en Ingles/and now in English.”
I am a cowboy and a cowboy needs a…. (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) guitar!

(place felt piece on boy’s hand, repeat line without pause)

Pause a moment and remind them, “and now in Spanish/y ahora en Español.”
Soy un vaquero y un vaquero necesita un… (point to felt piece and pause for answer from group) ¡caballo!

(place felt piece next to boy, repeat line without pause)

(Taking a break from the song, tell the group that Duke’s Mom is calling for him to come eat lunch—“It’s time to take off your costume!”)
(Repeat song—this time do the Spanish lines in English, and vice-versa. Take the felt pieces off the boy as you sing about each item)

I don’t always stick to a theme in my story time, but I try to pair at least one book to Duke’s costume so it makes an easy transition in the program. For Duke the cowboy, we stayed on the farm and smoothly transitioned to Clic, Clac, Muu: Vacas Escritoras/ Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin.

You could do this activity in a variety of ways. I once did the entire song in English and then in Spanish, and I’ve also thought about bringing in props/costume pieces instead of using the felt board. If you have a small group, you can ask the children to help you place the items onto Duke as you sing. Another idea is to nix Duke all together, and instead create a background, adding items to the scene throughout the song. For example, you could start with a simple gray castle…
I am a castle and a castle needs a---MOAT! (gate, flags, etc.)
This activity is so versatile, and you can make it your own.  Here are some other themes that I’ve done:

I Am a Barber/Soy un Barbero

I Am a Doctor/Soy un Doctor

I Am a Pirate/Soy un Pirata

I Am a Ranger/Soy un Guardabosque

Wow! So creative and fun! Thanks again Kate for sharing these super cute flannels with us. If you give them a try in your bilingual storytime, let us know how it goes! What other ideas can you come up with for Duke?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

November Session of "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families"

November Session of "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families"

I want to quickly let you all know that I am leading a session of my outreach class November 2-27 through Library Juice Academy. This class is all about how to reach Latino and Spanish-speaking families in your community. It is designed as a companion workshop to "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca," though those interested in outreach/adult services who aren't interested in bilingual storytime are also encouraged to participate.  

The biggest challenge I hear over and again in "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" is that Latino and Spanish-speaking families aren't coming to the library for the program. So often we think that a bilingual storytime will be enough to draw new families to the library, but it just isn't. Outreach is critical. This class presents the basics of outreach and marketing, and can help you think through how to better deliver your bilingual programming (or library service in general) to the Latino and Spanish-speaking families you are trying to reach. You can find more information and register here if you are interested: http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php

This is a completely asynchronous online class that runs from November 2 - November 27. Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send me a question via my website if you have any questions. Hope to see some of you who follow the blog in the class!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Big Announcements and Recommended Music

Yes, I've fallen off of updating the blog lately, but I promise you, it's been for a great reason! I'm so excited to share that I am close to finishing a book that is all about bilingual storytime! I'm co-authoring it with Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, and it is being published by ALA Editions. Our working title is Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish. I've been pouring my heart into this work for the better part of a year now, and I'm feeling very excited about it as it gets closer and closer to finished. We are covering all of the "how-to's" of bilingual storytime planning, as well as the critical component of library outreach to Latino and Spanish-speaking communities. Whether you speak Spanish yourself or not, if you are wanting to develop library programming for young children that engages Spanish-speaking families, this book will help you find your way. And it will be full of awesome resource and sample program plans. I'll keep you posted with all the details as the book gets closer to publication!

Another announcement is that registration is now open for my fall session of "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca." This is always such a fun class! It's totally online and asynchronous, but we do interact a lot throughout the month, meaning that participants are often learning as much from each other as they are from me, which is one of the best parts of the class. Please consider enrolling if you'd like to learn more about establishing a bilingual storytime or if you're looking for new tips and tricks for your current program. 

Finally, since it's been so long since I've posted anything useful, I wanted to share some pretty great stuff today. I remember when I first started offering bilingual storytime, one of my biggest challenges was to find fun Spanish-language or bilingual children's music. José-Luis Orozco is, of course, one of the best out there, and I was so happy when I finally found him. Today, however, there are so many amazing children's performers creating really fun music bilingually or in Spanish. I wanted to share with you a few of my most recent favorites. Check them out, and have fun getting your groove on in bilingual storytime!

Basho & Friends
Favorite Song: "Baila con tu cuerpo" from ¡Aún Más!

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Favorite Song: "A bailar" from ¡Fantástico!

Mister G
Favorite Song: "Frota tu panza" from ABC Fiesta

Nathalia Palis
Favorite Song: "Animal Bop" from From Here to There

Patty Shukla
Favorite Song: "Muévete" from Canta y baila con Patty

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Session: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families

Back to school is just around the corner. This is a perfect time to commit to ensuring that your library is a welcoming, responsive place for EVERYONE in your community. My upcoming class "Building Relationships, Building Bridges: Library Outreach and Marketing to Latino and Spanish-Speaking Families" helps librarians and library staff learn how to truly engage with Latino families, with particular focus on serving first-generation immigrants and their children. If you are interested in taking "Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca" (begins September 7), it is strongly recommended that you take this class first. A new session starts August 3, and registration is open now. This is a four-week, asynchronous online class. Please be in touch if you have any questions!

Here is the course description:
"Public libraries across the country experiencing growth in their Latino and Spanish-speaking populations face similar challenges in connecting these communities with library service. Though libraries may offer Spanish-language materials and/or programming, these services may not attract the targeted community as desired. This class is designed to help libraries to bridge the gap and increase the use of their services by Latinos and Spanish-speakers, with particular emphasis on reaching first-generation immigrants and their families. Participants will increase their knowledge of Latino cultural values that impact library use, develop an understanding of common barriers that impede library use, and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers. Participants will also identify key people/organizations within their own communities for potential partnerships. This course is strongly recommended as a prerequisite for 'Bilingual Storytime at Your Biblioteca.'"

More information and registration at: http://libraryjuiceacademy.com/032-spanish-speaking.php

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Earlier is Easier en Español

Wonderful news...Earlier is Easier, the Denver based early literacy initiative, now has a sister website in Spanish! Take a look!

I first learned of the Earlier is Easier initiative about a year ago from Miss Mary Liberry, who is one of the geniuses behind it. For a long time there was a notice at the top that a Spanish site would be coming soon. And it is here! It looks wonderful, and was absolutely worth the wait.

So what is Earlier is Easier? Well, it's a super parent-friendly and easy to navigate website that presents fun and simple ways that parents can engage in early literacy practices at home with their children. It also includes lot of great information about resources and events in the Denver area. Activities are separated by each of the 5 early literacy skills (Read, Sing, Talk, Write and Play) and there is an additional Laugh category. Parents can view activities for all ages, or narrow down to Birth-8 months, 9 months-18 months, 19 months-36 months. 

Colorado, I'm a big fan of your commitment to early literacy. Between Storyblocks, the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Book Awards, and now this beautiful, bilingual website dedicated to supporting parents in their work as their child's first teacher, you are truly a state leading the way. 

What cool early literacy initiatives are taking place in your state? Brag on it by leaving a comment!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tortilla Time! ¡Tiempo de tortillas!

Food is always a fun storytime theme. Tortillas are a great selection if you want to celebrate a specific food and get a little creative. Below is a suggested Family Storytime using tortillas as a theme. This is designed as a bilingual storytime, but it could also be a monolingual Spanish program or a monolingual English program which is inclusive of Latino cultures through its use of materials by Latino authors/illustrators and celebration of a food item common in many Latino cuisines.

It is worth noting that the word "tortilla" does not mean the same thing in every Spanish-speaking country! For a family program, this would be a great discussion topic and a way to play around with geography and vocabulary as you introduce the theme in the beginning of the program. In Mexico and Central America, a tortilla is a flat bread, generally made of wheat or corn, used for scooping or wrapping vegetables, meats and beans. In Spain and South America, a tortilla is an egg dish, very similar to an omelet! For older kids, particularly in a classroom setting, this could be a great topic to explore. You could ask the students to brainstorm why a word may mean one thing in one country, yet mean something else in another country. Can they find any examples of this in the English language?

Opening Book: Round is a Tortilla - Roseanne Greenfield Thong

This English language story told in rhyme uses Latino imagery to introduce shapes. Options for extending the story abound - you could have shapes hidden in the room and have a scavenger hunt, you could go on a shape walk around the neighborhood, or you could have a shape sort activity for parents and children to work on together. There is no Spanish only version of this story, so monolingual Spanish language programs will need to replace this book with another title.

Rhyme: Tortillitas

"Tortillitas" is a very well-known children's rhyme. I believe that it originates from Mexico, but is also widely known in Central America. If I am mistaken, please leave a comment and let me know! Also, I'm curious if anyone who is from or grew up in the Caribbean or South America can let me know if this rhyme (or a variant of it) is something that you remember from your childhood, or if it is new to you. I know there is a similar version about papas/potatoes. I'd love to hear from you on this topic! There are several versions of the "Tortillitas" rhyme; here are two that I like to use:

Tortillitas, tortillitas, / tortillitas para mamá; / tortillitas para papá. / Las quemaditas para mamá. / Las bonitas para papá. / Tortillitas, tortillitas.

Tortillitas de manteca / pa'mamá que está contenta. / Tortillitas de salvado / pa'papá que está enojado.

Here is an English translation that I came up with. The literal meaning has changed in order to maintain rhythm and rhyme:
Little tortillas made of wheat / for my mom who is so sweet. / Little tortillas made of corn / for my dad who I adore!

Book/Flannelboard Story: La tortilla corredora - Laura Herrera

A cumulative story based on the Gingerbread Man that follows a runaway tortilla. Unfortunately no English version of this story is available, so you may want to replace it with one of the titles below in an English language storytime. Alternatively, you can tell this story using the flannelboard.

Ending Activity - Painting Tortillas

Time to get creative! Use tortillas as a canvas and have a paint party! You could encourage children to paint the various shapes or pick a favorite shape to paint in lots of different ways. Another blogger I found suggests keeping the whole activity edible by adding food coloring to water for paint (you could maybe try yogurt as well for different textures) and using lettuce leaves (or corn husks) as brushes!

Other Suggested Books: