Selecting Hispanic-American Books: Language Choices

There are several language formats to consider when selecting Hispanic books. Some books are available in separate Spanish editions and English editions. Spanish editions written entirely in the Spanish language are essential for students in programs aiming to maintain literacy in the native tongue. In addition to original Spanish works such as the insightful Mi Hija, Mi Hijo, El Aguela, La Paloma by Ana Castillo, some classic children's literature like The Very Hungry Caterpillar (La Oruga Muy Hambrienta) and The Snowy Day (Un Dia de Nieve) are now available translated into Spanish editions.

Other books use an interlingual format, in which the text is written predominantly in English but is sprinkled with Spanish words that flow naturally in the text. Don't let Spanish words intimidate you! They are easily pronounced and understood through context cues and glossaries provided by the authors as in Gary Sotos If the Shoe Fits and in Arthur Dorros' Abuela.

Still other books contain complete English and Spanish language texts in one single edition, such as Tony Johnston's My México – Mexico Mio. These books can be enjoyed by Spanish speakers learning English and English speakers learning Spanish, and all students gain multicultural insights and experiences with a taste of a new language.


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