Helping children develop their American and native cultural identities together.

Archive for June, 2009

New book at bububooks: Quinito’s Neighborhood/El Vecindario de Quinito

Posted by bububooks on June 30, 2009


The Cover of Quinito's Neighborhood

The Cover of Quinito's Neighborhood

Written by Ina Cumpiano and illustrated by José Ramírez, Quinito’s Neighborhood is a concept book that highlights the various aspects of a community.  In beautifully illustrated art, Quinito introduces us to the jobs of his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and neighbors.  Children learn of various businesses and jobs that exist within neighborhoods—in both Spanish and English.  Booklist cites Quinito’s Neighborhood as a “vibrant depiction of a variety of individuals and the talents that energize the community in which they live.”  And Criticas writes the illustrations “introduce children to modern role models that reflect the changing workplace.”

Ms. Cumpiano is a Puerto Rican poet and translator who lives in San Francisco.  She has written nearly 20 children’s books and currently volunteers at a local kindergarten.

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Author highlight: Nancy Maria Grande Tabor

Posted by bububooks on June 26, 2009


Cover of We are a Rainbow/Somos un arco iris

Cover of We are a Rainbow/Somos un arco iris

Nancy Maria Grande Tabor writes bilingual Spanish/English books for children.  Some of her titles include Somos un arco iris / We Are a Rainbow and Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario / Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book.  An American, Tabor grew up mostly in Mexico.  She now teaches Kindergarten in northern California.


Inside look to A Taste of the Mexican Market/El gusto del mercado mexicano

Inside look to A Taste of the Mexican Market/El gusto del mercado mexicano

Nancy Tabor was one of the first bilingual teachers in her school.  She discovered there existed very few bilingual books to help her teach her class.  Indeed, because the thought of bilingual education was so new, Tabor struggled to find any resources or even support as she developed her teaching program.  One night, Tabor expressed her frustrations to her daughter who replied, “Why don’t you write your own book?”  That same night, Tabor sat down and wrote her own book.  She cut out her art from construction paper.  And an author was born!


Tabor went on to write several more books, creating her own beautiful and colorful artwork for each.  A huge fan, bububooks offers all of Tabor’s books.

Inside look to Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book/Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario

Inside look to Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book/Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario



*The information provided in this blog was gathered from a presentation Tabor gave at the Multicultural Children’s Literature Conference in San Francisco, March 2009.

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bububooks’ Top 10 Summer Reading List for Spanish/English Books

Posted by bububooks on June 22, 2009

Summer break is in full swing.  We’ve listed our top ten books for summer reading below as well as Laura’s review of each of them.  Buy them at www.bububooks.com for your kids’ enjoyment during the summer break!

1. My First Book of Proverbs/ Mi primer libro de dichos

Brilliantly illustrated, this book offers insight into Mexican proverbs or “kisses of language.”  With an introduction by Sandra Cisneros, this book is a hit with parents and children alike!

2. Somos un arco iris / We Are a Rainbow

This book openly discusses the issues children face as they get to know each other’s cultures.  I like it because Nancy María Grande Tabor focuses on cultural similarities and differences as well as the misunderstandings and happiness friends experience together as they grow.  Beautifully illustrated by her own construction paper cutouts, this book serves as a great introduction into building cultural identities.

3. Celebrations / Celebraciones: Holidays of the United States of America and Mexico / Dias feriados de los Estados Unidos y Mexico

Another one of my favorites, Tabor highlights the various holidays in America and Mexico, their importance and how they are celebrated. 

4. In My Family/En mi familia

Carmen Lomas Garza brings another fascinating book to us.  She takes her readers through life with her family ranging from earaches to cooking to special days.  Included with her magnificent paintings, this book takes us into Latino culture as experienced by Garza.

5. Cincuenta en la cebra: contando con los animales / Fifty on the Zebra: Counting with the Animals

This book and #6 are fantastic interactive books.  Using her trademark construction paper artwork, Tabor offers an opportunity for you to practice the alphabet (in Spanish AND English) and counting with your child.  On each page, Nancy Tabor introduces a letter/number followed by questions such as, “Can you find two candles?” and “Is if a fat cat or a skinny cat?”  These books will keep you and your child occupied for hours!

6. Albertina anda arriba: el abecedario / Albertina Goes Up: An Alphabet Book

See #5.

7. The Woman who Outshone the Sun/La mujer que brillaba aún más que el sol

Adapted from a Mexican folktale, this story shares the importance of treating others with kindness.  With a lesson that transcends various cultural differences throughout the world, this book offers a folktale most American children will never know.  Its beauty in the story is also reflected in the artwork.

8. Angel’s Kite/ La estrella de Angel

I love this story because it is magical.  Alberto Blanco draws you in, making you follow the kite with your whole heart, eager to see what happens.  And the ending just makes you happy!

9. Baby Rattlesnake/Viborita de cascabel

Baby Rattlesnake is a Native American tale that offers valuable lessons for children.  I love it because it illustrates its theme so clearly and colorfully.  This story is one of my favorite’s to read out loud to children.

10.  Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risueños y otros poemas de primavera

While I love all four of the poem books by Francisco Alarcón, I think this one is my favorite because springs if my favorite season.  In this book, Alarcón shares poems about spring, great food, holidays, fruits, gardens and his beloved grandma.  Each poem works into its structure colorful illustrations.  I highly recommend all four books.

There you have it.  The Top 10 books we like for the summer.  Feel free to email us for any other recommendations at service@bububooks.com.  Enjoy your summer!

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Help your child learn in two languages

Posted by bububooks on June 1, 2009

I attended the monthly Bilingual Parents Advisory Council meeting in Elgin, Ill., this past weekend.  It was great to see so many parents interested and involved in children’s education.  There were some great performances too! 

During the morning, I read two books to a little girl whose mom was attending the meeting.  She spoke Spanish, was learning to read in Spanish and spoke a little English.  I read to her in English since I don’t speak Spanish and she seemed to comprehend most of what I was reading—she could answer many of the questions I would ask her.  That is also the beauty of children’s books—the beautiful illustrations aid in comprehension!  We had a fun time and I enjoyed sharing with her.

I have high hopes for this girl’s future.  Her mother is doing the right thing—ensuring she learns to read in her native language while also learning English as a language.  Because of this experience, I want to share with you a tip sheet called, “Helping Your Child Learn in Two Languages,” provided by the Illinois Early Learning Project.  For more tip sheets, visit www.illinoisearlylearning.org


Helping Your Child Learn in Two Languages

Many families new to the United States face an important choice. Should their children focus on learning only English? Or should the children also be fluent in their home language? Children who know more than one language often benefit in school and later in life. Also, many parents and grandparents find that talking to older children about important life matters is easier if the children retain their home language skills. Here are some ways that parents have helped young children keep their home language while learning English in school.

Be aware of skills and habits of mind that are important in any language.

  • Keep in mind that your preschooler can build good speaking and listening skills and habits when he listens and talks to people who are fluent in any language. In school, he will learn from teachers and peers who know English well. At home, you are the language expert!
  • Talk with your child in your home language every day so she sees you using words and gestures with ease. Express feelings and complex ideas. Tell jokes and funny stories. Let your child see you reading, making lists, and writing notes so she learns how people communicate through print.
  • Help your preschooler count, estimate, compare, measure, and solve problems in your home language so he understands that math concepts are the same in any language.
  • Nurture your child’s curiosity about the world around her. Use your home language to help her ask questions, describe things she observes, and make predictions. Being able to do those things will help her in school.

Make your home language the foundation for literacy.

  • Help your preschooler learn the alphabet and read signs in your home language. That way, he can begin to understand that letters and symbols have meaning.
  • Tell stories or read aloud to your child in your home language. Record yourself reading aloud, so your child can listen independently.
  • Teach your child songs and musical games in your home language.
  • Make books with your child. Your child can dictate stories to you. You might also create fantasy tales or books of true-life family stories. Try making a bilingual dictionary together. Illustrate the books with drawings or magazine cutouts.

Stay in touch with preschool staff.

  • Let your preschooler’s teachers know that you support your child’s education at home by reading, writing, and talking with her in the language you know best.
  • If you have time, offer to help out in your child’s classroom. You might even try teaching the other children some words and phrases in your home language.

Keep in mind that having a bilingual family is not always easy!

  • Look for support groups for bilingual families in your area. Arrange playgroups or outings with other families who speak your home language.
  • Help your child to understand that knowing two languages well will be useful to him, even if he now feels some peer pressure to speak only English.
  • Treat language learning as a puzzle your family is working on together.


Ayude a su hijo a aprender en dos lenguas

Muchas familias en los Estados Unidos hacen frente a una decisión importante. ¿Debería su hijo enfocarse solamente en aprender el inglés? ¿O deberían los hijos hablar con fluidez la lengua materna también? Los niños que saben hablar más de una lengua frecuentemente tienen ventajas en la escuela y más tarde en la vida. Además, muchos padres y abuelos han hallado que es más fácil hablar con los niños mayores acerca de cuestiones importantes en la vida si los hijos mantienen la fluidez en la lengua materna. He aquí algunas maneras en las que algunos padres y madres han ayudado a sus hijos pequeños a mantener la lengua materna a la vez de aprender el inglés en la escuela.

Esté consciente de las habilidades y hábitos mentales que son importantes en cualquier lengua.

  • Tenga en cuenta que su hijo de edad preescolar puede desarrollar buenas habilidades y hábitos de hablar y escuchar cuando escucha a personas que hablan con fluidez cualquier lengua y conversa con ellas. En la escuela, aprenderá de maestros y compañeros que dominan el inglés. En casa, ¡usted es el perito!
  • Converse con su hijo en su lengua materna todos los días para que lo observe utilizar palabras y gestos con facilidad. Exprese sentimientos e ideas complejas. Cuente chistes y cuentos divertidos. Deje que su hijo lo vea leer, hacer listas y escribir notas para que aprenda cómo la gente se comunica a través de la palabra impresa.
  • Ayude a su hijo preescolar a contar, calcular, comparar, medir y resolver problemas en su lengua materna para que comprenda que los conceptos matemáticos son los mismos en cualquier lengua.
  • Estimule la curiosidad de su hijo acerca del mundo que lo rodea. Utilice su lengua materna para ayudarlo a hacer preguntas, describir las cosas que observa y hacer predicciones. La capacidad de hacer estas cosas ayudará a su hijo en la escuela.

Convierte su lengua materna en el fundamento de la alfabetización.

  • Ayude a su hijo preescolar a aprender el abecedario y a leer rótulos en su lengua materna. De este modo empezará a entender que las letras y los símbolos tienen significado.
  • Cuéntele cuentos o lea en voz alta a su hijo en su lengua materna. Grábese a sí mismo leyendo para que su hijo pueda escuchar de forma independiente.
  • Enséñele a su hijo canciones y juegos musicales en su lengua materna.
  • Haga libros con su hijo. Su hijo podría dictarle cuentos a usted. Podrían crear también cuentos fantásticos o libros de historias de la vida real de su familia. Intenten hacer juntos un diccionario bilingüe. Ilustren los libros con dibujos o con fotos cortadas de revistas.

Manténgase en contacto con el personal del programa preescolar.

  • Comunique a los maestros preescolares que usted apoya la formación de su hijo en casa aleer, escribir y hablar con él en la lengua que usted habla mejor.
  • Si tiene tiempo, ofrézcase como voluntario para ayudar en el aula de su hijo. Hasta podría intentar enseñarles a los demás niños algunas palabras o frases de su lengua materna.

Tenga presente que ¡no siempre es fácil tener una familia bilingüe!

  • Busque grupos de apoyo para familias bilingües en su ciudad. Haga arreglos de grupos de juego o excursiones con otras familias que hablan su lengua materna.
  • Ayude a su hijo a comprender que el dominar dos lenguas le será útil, aun si ahora siente alguna presión de los compañeros hacia hablar solamente el inglés.
  • Trate el aprendizaje de una lengua como un rompecabezas que su familia está colaborando en hacer.

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