I stumble my way through the Spanish translations – trying to act casual. My son, who knows far more Spanish than I do, starts correcting me and helping me to pronounce the difficult words. He’s not using it as a “look what I know, silly old man” moment, thankfully, but more of a “here’s the correct way to say it, now let’s get back to the story.”
That’s interesting to think about, the language didn’t matter, it was all about the story. To him, it was just another way of sharing the new adventures of a dog in a sombrero (El Perro con Sombrero), sharing them in a way that perhaps other people might be able to understand far better than in English. What was even better was that the book had both English and Spanish storytelling- A bilingual children’s book! Reading a bilingual children’s book won’t make your child fluent in a different language, but it’s a great way to introduce and reinforce new sounds and words. Most importantly, it will expand their cultural awareness.
Why do we need bilingual children’s books? Why do we need to expand cultural awareness? In a recent study, nearly half of White Republicans, or 47%, say that it bothers them “some” or “a lot” to “hear people speak a language other than English in a public place.” This is very upsetting since the English language is in fact a foreign language on this continent, and it should be noted that the United States has no official national language! We live in a very diverse part of the United States where we hear many different languages spoken all the time; it adds to the wonderful diverse melting pot that is America! To raise a child that is used to hearing or even speaking other languages creates a generation more tolerant, open-minded, and with greater appreciation for the diverse cultures that makes our planet great.
Can this all be accomplished with a book? Maybe. I’d like to believe that books (reading alone, reading in small groups, book clubs, book fairs, book drives, book shelves, etc…) and reading with your kids, helping them to navigate new words in different languages that were once foreign, is a great start.
The Derek Taylor Kent book, “El Perro Con Sombrero meets Los Gatos con Gelatos” is a great second adventure in the El Perro Con Sombrero series. We join Pepe this time only to find that he is in a race against time- he must get to the school to deliver the forgotten homework. Finally a dog who gets it! It’s an entertaining book that I am glad is a hardcover- just like Pepe, I am sure it will be on many adventures!
Published by Whimsical World Books, I encourage you to explore the El Perro Con Sombrero series- I look forward to seeing more.
My review for the first book of the series can be found here.