No one in my family can speak Spanish but we’ve been trying for more than ten years to learn to converse. Our efforts have gone in waves of high effort and burn out but we are now at a good place where my kids actually want to go on immersion trips to learn to speak Spanish.
They weren’t always so enthusiastic about learning, however. And their lack of effort resulted in very little retention. Still, I don’t consider the lessons they took to be a total loss; the two youngest kids can roll their “r’s.”
It’s been my experience that learning a language when you don’t speak it yourself requires stealthiness. You need to keep the kids exposed more than just weekly tutoring sessions and it has to be fun or they will resist.
I’ve just discovered a great series of board books by Lil Libros that combine bilingual basics like counting and colors with Spanish culture. Her story is one of can-do entrepreneurship. Unable to find bilingual first concept books she could enjoy reading to her baby, Patty Rodriguez created her own.
Counting with Frida: A Bilingual Counting Book by Patty Rodriguez and Adriana Stein
With bright and engaging illustrations, you can count the images associated with one of Mexico’s most iconic artists in English and Spanish! [board book, ages 0 and up]
Zapata: Colors – Colores by Patty Rodriguez and Adriana Stein
Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, introduces little ones colors in both English and Spanish. [board book, ages 0 and up]
Loteria: First Words/Primeras Palabras by Patty Rodriguez and Adriana Stein
Inspired by one of the oldest games of chance, this book will introduce your little reader to their first English and Spanish words! [board book, ages 0 and up]
Lucha Libre Anatomy- Anatomia: A Bilingual Anatomy Book by Patty Rodriguez and Adriana Stein
Freestyle wrestlers — Lucha Libre — from Mexico are the perfect hosts to introduce young ones to parts of the body in both English and Spanish. Colorful masks and illustrations full of movement will keep readers coming back! [board book, ages 0 and up]
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