Learning a New Skill

tia lolaWriter, poet and essaying, Julia Alvarez has crafted a great book for young readers. When Miguel’s family moves from New York City to rural Vermont, he must come to grip with a world where he is different. And he’s not so sure how he feels about it.

To make matters worse, his Aunt Lola comes to visit from the Dominican Republic. Although he loves her, he worries his friends will not accept her wonderfully colorful personality and this will might make things even more difficult with his new friends. What will it take for Miguel to understand how special his family and their cultural heritage is?

I particularly liked this book because it talks frankly about language. In the beginning Miguel understands Spanish but refuses to speak it. And Tia Lola isn’t too comfortable learning English. This book is a great conversation-starter about how hard it can be to bridge a cultural gap by learning a new language – but how incredibly meaningful it is!

Find it in English on Amazon.com here:

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay (The Tia Lola Stories)

Or, read it in Spanish:

De como tia Lola vino (de visita) a quedarse

De como tia Lola vino (de visita) a quedarse (The Tia Lola Stories) (Spanish Edition)


Sophia's Jungle AdventureWritten by Giselle Shardlow, Illustrations by Emily Gedjyk

Sophia is off on an adventure with her family.  They’ll be taking an airplane to Costa Rica and exploring the jungle and the rainforest.  As you can imagine, her whole family will explore an exciting new world.  And, as the story unfolds, we watch to see how certain activities, objects or animals remind Sophia and her little brother of yoga postures they know.

Although yoga is an art form that dates back centuries, it can be practiced by very young children in a way that immediately inspires and delights.  This book is a perfect way of sharing yoga poses and practices as well as a love and curiosity for our beautiful, bright planet.

I reviewed the Spanish version of this book and recommend it highly to my readers, especially those with “all abilities kids”.  Link for the Spanish language version is below.

Sofia En Una Aventura Por La Selva







Written By Cress Sia, Illustrated By Lisa Butler

How exciting to take a trip to the Philippines!

In Hartlyn Kid’s new release; The Bamboo Dance, readers can visit a schoolyard in this country and meet two good friends, Paco and Diego.  It’s an exciting time as many of the children are learning to do a special dance with bamboo poles called the tinikling. It’s fun to watch and participate in, but requires fancy footwork in order to not get your feet stuck as the bamboo poles tap on the ground and then click together.

Paco is very good at the tinikling dance right away, but Diego finds it a bit more difficult.  In fact, he’s almost ready to give up trying.  Will his friend let him feel defeated, or can Paco find a way to help him succeed so they can both enjoy their new skill together?

The answer is in this beautifully illustrated, collage-style book that also shares many details of everyday life and fun in the Philipines.  Pick up this beautiful book to learn about friendship, fun, encouragement and a really exciting dance tradition called tinikling.

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