Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Día de los muertos Spanish Picture Book List

When I set out to make this list, I had NO IDEA how many great books were out there to celebrate Day of the Dead. It just took a little bit of digging. Between Amazon and my local library's card catalog I have found for you all of the must-read picture books (and more!) for Day of the Dead.

If you haven't heard of this holiday celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America, make sure you visit the Day of the Dead Blog Hop hosted by Multicultural Kid Blogs that I participated in this year. You can find lots of information and ideas for celebrating there.

You probably know by now, books are our favorite way to learn and celebrate around here. I have so much fun making these Spanish picture book lists, especially because I always come away with more books in my library holds list that are new to me! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, and if you have any to add, be sure to let me know about them in the comments!!!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Simple Ways to Learn About DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS

Día de los muertos is not a holiday I grew up celebrating. In fact, I hadn't heard of it until I started teaching Spanish after college. Muerto or "dead" is a word we tend to tiptoe around in English, therefore if it's your first time hearing about it, it might not sound like a happy or festive tradition, especially if you see all the skulls used for decorations. 

In fact it is, like many things from Mexico, steeped in tradition and reverence for family, gathering, and the sharing of food. Día de los muertos is a holiday that celebrates the dearly departed or difuntos. Families set up altars in their homes with mementos and photos of their loved ones that have passed away, and ofrendas or offerings of their favorite foods. Some families set up their ofrendas in cemeteries and burn incense and candles and spread marigolds along the paths to lead their loved ones' spirits back from the dead. 

It can be hard to introduce a holiday to your kids that you don't celebrate. How do you explain all the little traditions and meanings behind everything that has been passed down for years and years.  Of course my answer is always books! Día de los muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong (pictured above) is the book we checked out from our library to learn more about the holiday, and it has been perfect for a first introduction. The text rhymes, it teaches some Spanish words throughout, and it walks you through all the celebrations and traditions that families partake in with simple explanations of the meanings behind them.

Depending on the ages or Spanish-speaking levels of your kids (or students) here are some articles and videos that help explain the holiday as well. I use the English ones for beginning students, and the Spanish ones for the more intermediate or advanced students (or for good practice for myself!)

I got this really neat Lotería game from the Shop Hola Amigo Etsy store. My 7yo and 8yo played with me and we had fun! Any time you can use a game for learning it's a win for everyone. I was happy we were learning Spanish, and they were happy because I let them play for money! We got to learn the Spanish words for many elements of the holiday, and we also practice using some game-playing phrases. 

I think this year I'm going to try to actually work with the kids to set up an altar. Even though our family's beliefs are different from what the holiday practices, I still think it will be a neat learning experience to talk about the different symbols and elements. For the papel picado we're going to go the easy route and make some from doilies. We already have some made from Hispanic Heritage Month that we made with friends, and the project was fun and simple enough we will probably do it again. I got the idea from Latinaish  maaaany years ago! She has some really good posts about Day of the Day also. 

If you would like to learn some Day of the Dead Spanish vocabulary, or would like help with some of the pronunciation of the words, I made a quick guide for you to download here. It would make a great companion to the videos and articles above, as well as any books you check out from the library about the holiday. What simple ways are you learning about or celebrating Día de los muertos this season? Check out all the learning and fun in the BLOG HOP below!!


Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don't miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:

Monday, October 8, 2018

October Spanish Picture Book List

Fall holds so many great themes for reading. In this list of Spanish picture books I have chosen to highlight books with the themes of pumpkins & fall, as well as a few of my current favorites to go along with celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month!! You can also check out my book list of Barefoot Books that Celebrate Hispanic Heritage.

Spanish Books About Hispanic Heritage


Dreamers (Ages 4-8)
by Yuyi Morales

Oh my word. This book is amazing. You don't need to say anything except, "It was written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales" and I'm sold. I have only read parts of this book by peeking inside on Amazon, and I have also seen parts from reviews on Instagram, but what I have seen is amazing. Yuyi Morales tells the story of her move to the United States from her home country, México. It's the story of many, and so worth telling. 

Bravo! (Grades 4-7)

by Margarita Engle

Eighteen poems about Hispanic figures of past and present—some famous, others not so famous. Each poem is accompanied by a beautiful portrait drawn by illustrator Rafael López. The back of the book also contains a small biographical paragraph about each figure represented in the book for readers to learn more about the lives of each. 

En mi familia (Ages 6-12)

by Carmen Lomas Garza

I loooove this book. Author Carmen Lomas Garza has painted scenes from her childhood growing up in southern Texas, near the U.S./Mexico border. Each painting has a vignette to go along with it, describing the scene. Some scenes are from everyday life, and others from very special occasions. It's such a lovely tribute to Hispanic culture, family, language, religion, and history.

Spanish Books About Pumpkins & Fall

La calabaza rodante (Ages 3+)
by Junia Wonders
Illustrated by Daniel Volpari

One of those fun books where the phrases are repeated over and over again (great for language learning and comprehension!). Marla Pequeña's pumpkin starts rolling down the road and all through the town without any signs of stopping. Marla follows it shouting for help along the way.

La cosecha de calabazas - Pumpkin Harvest (Ages 4-7)
by Calvin Harris

Learn about how pumpkins grow on a vine, change colors, and how they are harvested. This book is part of a series called "Todo acerca del otoño" (All About Fall).

Calabazas (Ages 5-8)
by Jacqueline Farmer
Illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Paying tribute to the star of the fall season, the pumpkin, through this book kids can learn about where the pumpkin originated in use, how it grows, how it is used today and more fun facts. The illustrations are done with colored pencil giving this book a cozy and cheery feel. It also includes a list of websites where kids can go to learn more about the pumpkin!

La viejecita que no le tenía miedo a nada (The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything) (Ages 4-8)
by Linda Williams
Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Here is a classic fall book that I was so happy to find in Spanish! Another entertaining tale that uses repetition. A little old lady sets out to collect some herbs and spices from the forest. She runs into some spooky things, but each time says "I'm not afraid of you!" Or is she? You can also find this book read aloud in Spanish on YouTube!

Carlos and the Squash Plant (Ages 5-8)
by Jan Romero Stevens
Illustrated by Jeanne Stevens

A silly tale about a boy who refuses to take a bath after working in the garden each day, and then a plant sprouts in all the dirt in his ear! Carlos learns a lesson about the importance of cleanliness, and that Mamá always knows best. ;) In the back of the book, you can find a recipe for calabacitas traditionally cooked in the Southwestern United States.

Sopa de calabaza (Ages 4-7)
by Helen Cooper

We've read this book in English and it is a great story about friendship. The three animals always make pumpkin soup together, but one day duck decides it's time for something different. Thankfully the animals figure out a way to compromise and work through their differences.

¡El otoño ya está aquí! (Ages 5-6)
by Albert Asensio

Little squirrel Nin pays attentions to the signs and knows that fall is here! Bears are eating more, animals are getting their nests ready, leaves begin to fall. What other signs of fall does the forest have to tell?

El otoño (Ages 4-8)
by Julie Murray

These books with simple text work well for kids who are learning Spanish! Talk about all the things that make us think of fall!

Estamos en otoño (Ages 8-12)
by Celeste Bishop

Fun illustrations and a narrative-style text walk you through all the fun activities you can do in the fall: hayrides, raking leaves, and more!

This post contains affiliate links. Read our Full Disclosure for more info.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Barefoot Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Today's post is part of Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Series! You can join in by linking your own posts below, and be sure to check out all the other great articles that have been published this month listed at the end.

Recently, I became a part of the Barefoot Books publishing company as a Barefoot Books Ambassador. I immediately fell in love with the company because its mission aligned so well with what I strive for in our home: sharing stories with my kids that help them to connect with and value different cultures, countries, languages, and people around the world.

I also loved that company had so many books to offer in Spanish, and that many of the books celebrated Hispanic heritage. We already own most of these on the list below and I can't wait until we have collected and read them all. In the list below you can read excerpts from the Barefoot Books website about each book, and some of my thoughts on what makes these books a must-have for your home or classroom library.

La frontera: El viaje con papá - My Journey with Papa
"Based on a true story! Join a young boy and his father on an arduous journey from Mexico to the United States in the 1980s to find a new life. They’ll need all the courage they can muster to safely cross the border — la frontera — and to make a home for themselves in a new land. Inspired by the childhood immigration experience of co-author Alfredo Alva, this story of perseverance is told in both Spanish and English to empower language-learning. Includes 4 pages of endnotes that unpack facts about Alfredo’s story and other stories like his / borders and borders around the world to help 
parents and educators talk with children about immigration, resilience, empathy and belonging."

A Junior Library Guild Selection for the 2018 elementary Spanish category.

Ages 3 to 11 years

Written By: Deborah Mills, Alfredo Alva
Illustrated By: Claudia Navarro

What a moving story. I love how the authors are able to tell this story of such hardship and divisive topics so that kids can see the humanity in it. When immigration is told through the eyes of a child it helps us to understand a broader perspective and to empathize. Great learning topics that stem from this story: geography of Mexico & southwestern United States; history of borders, history of immigration in the US; Reagan presidency; culture of Mexico; and much more! Barefoot Books does such a great job telling stories that get kids wanting to learn more. 

"NEW! Eight Mexican folk heroines come to vibrant life in this fascinating anthology illustrated by Pura Belpré Award-winning artist, educator and activist Maya Gonzalez. Drawing on centuries of Mexican traditions, Fiesta Feminina celebrates brave young girls, clever mythological characters and ambitious historic women leaders. With an illustrator’s note by Gonzalez and enthralling art throughout, Fiesta Feminina joins Barefoot’s popular anthology collection as an engaging tool to weave a captivating storytime in the classroom or at home."

"A sparkling treasure in any folklore collection" —Booklist, starred review

Ages 6 to 10 yearsWritten By: Mary-Joan Gerson
Illustrated By: Maya Christina Gonzalez
I haven't read this one yet because it is a new release for Fall 2018! It would be a perfect companion to the book above if you are wanting to learn more about Mexican culture.

The Wheels on the Bus - Las ruedas en el autobús
"Take an exciting bus ride from a Guatemalan village to a market town with this fresh approach to a favorite song. Features a Guatemalan-inspired, marimba-flavored singalong and endnotes about life in Guatemala. Includes audio singalong and video animation."

Written By: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated By: Melanie Williamson
Sung By: The Amador Family
Have you ever read a Barefoot Books sing-a-long book? They are really fun! I love that you can get this one in English OR Spanish! This is a great book to get youngsters involved with learning about the country of Guatemala. See what their towns and villages are like, what their markets are like, and hear the rythms of marimba music. You can also learn a few Spanish words with the English edition. The cultural end-notes of the book teach you about the map of Guatemala, the mercados, the camionetas de pollos, Tejido textiles, Guatemalan money, the Guatemalan flag and the Quetzal bird. 
Lola's Fandango - El fandango de Lola
"Lola is a young Spanish girl in awe of her glamorous older sister. However, she discovers her own talent and duende, or spirit, through secret fandango lessons from her father. The text is infused with the rhythms, movements and sounds of the dance and the humanity of Lola’s family is beautifully portrayed by Micha Archer’s collage-paintings. Spanish language edition of Lola's Fandango."

Written By: Anna Witte
Illustrated By: Micha Archer
In this story you can learn about Spain! One of the most famous aspects of Spanish culture, especially in the south, is Flamenco dancing and music. You can use this book as a jumping off point to study Flamenco, the guitar, life in modern Spain and wherever your curious minds take you! Lola's Fandango was written by Anna Witte who grew up in Madrid, Spain.
If you are curious, check out this video or this one to see what the Fandango dance is like.  
Off We Go to Mexico! - ¡Nos vamos a México!
"Travel to Mexico and discover its many wonders, from the amazing monarch butterflies in the highlands to a mariachi show in a village square. The rhyme and lyricism of the text is complemented by endnotes about the history of the country, national fiestas, and a glossary of simple Spanish vocabulary."

Ages 4 to 10 years
Written By: Laurie Krebs
Illustrated By: Christopher Corr
We LOVE this book at our house!! I appreciate so much that it shows so many beautiful aspects of Mexico--its culture, history, language, landscapes, people, festivals, and more. If you read the English version, you will learn many Spanish words from glossaries at the bottom of each page. The illustrations are so colorful and will make you want to travel to this country in real life! The text is also very rhythmic and my kids have been walking around reciting different parts of it after reading it recently. 
If you read this book, be sure to check out these videos as companion studies for the book:

The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies
Families Around the World: Families of Mexico
Families Around the World: More Families of Mexico 

Up and Down in the Andes
"This rhyming text takes readers from Lake Titicaca all the way to the city of Cusco for the highly popular Inti Raymi festival, celebrated in
June each year. Children from many areas of southern Peru are traveling to the festival, each using a different mode of transport."

Ages 4 to 10 years

Written By: Laurie Krebs
Illustrated By: Aurélia Fronty

I have not read this one yet, but I can't wait to!! Perú holds a special place in my heart, and all the places in this book I have experienced first hand! I got to visit Lake Titicaca and lived in Cusco, Perú for a month. I can't wait to read to my kids about Inti Raymi and then share with them photos from my trip ten years ago. 

Books are such a wonderful way to celebrate and learn about culture and heritage. I hope you can check some of these books out and share them with your family. Let me know what books you love to read to celebrate Hispanic heritage!!

**Links in this post may be affiliate links. Please read Full Disclosure for details.**

  Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2018 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
We are so excited for our seventh annual Hispanic Heritage Month series! Now through October 15, you'll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids, plus you can link up your own posts on Hispanic Heritage! Find even more ideas on our Latin America Pinterest board:
September 26 All Done Monkey
September 27 Crafty Moms Share
October 3 LadydeeLG
October 5 Mama Tortuga

Don't miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Apple Activities in Spanish

Apples conjure up so much nostalgia for those of us in North America. Is it the same elsewhere in the world? This time of year means back-to-school, apples, apple orchards, apple picking, and in our house LEARNING ABOUT APPLES IN SPANISH of course!

Here we'll show you some of the apple activities in Spanish that we have been up to! You can use apples for learning numbers in Spanish, colors in spanish, sizes in Spanish, and you can also learn about apples in Spanish!

Read below for:
  • Books About Apples in Spanish
  • Apple Activities in Spanish
  • Apple Mini-Book in Spanish
  • Apple Anatomy Printable 
  • Apple Videos in Spanish

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Linguacious Flashcard Game Review + GIVEAWAY

Linguacious Flashcards Review

Who has enough time or money to test out all the resources available for teaching children a foreign language at home? How do you know which products are really worth it? Not to mention, every family is different and has unique needs and learning styles to consider. That’s why I was so excited when the Linguacious company reached out to me to offer a set of their Spanish Foods and Drinks Flashcard Game for review. It’s great to see products in action, and to hear how other people are utilizing the different resources in their own home, and I'm glad to offer that on this blog through reviews. For a while I've been seeing and hearing about the Linguacious flashcards. I was anxious to see how they would work out in our own home, particularly because my kids are wanting to start learning a few languages that I don’t know myself.

Keep reading for:
  • how to enter the GIVEAWAY for your own set of Linguacious cards
  • a FREE Spanish alphabet printable
  • fun ways to use Linguacious flashcards for learning Spanish

What Are the Cards Like

When I received the cards in the mail, I was quite surprised at their size. That’s the funny thing about ordering online...you can’t hold products in your hands first or see them in person! I had imagined the cards would be very large, but they are actually small—the size of regular playing cards. This makes sense and makes them easier to use for games!  They also have the feel of playing cards, that slick and shiny material that makes them easy to shuffle and handle, not to mention more durable and easy to wipe off. Oh is that just my kids? (Not even kidding, I’ve already had to wipe syrup off our set.) *face palm*

Aren't they purdy though? I love the clean, crisp photographs.

How Do the Cards Work
Each card has a QR code on the front and one on the back. You simply download the Linguacious QR code reader app (super easy and small enough to fit on my phone that has practically ZERO space left on it). I don't really like to let my kids use my phone (because I use it for work-related things), so we put the app on an iPad. Here you can see even my 3-year-old using it. She kinda thought it was magical. She would hold the reader above the card to scan it, and every time the app said the word she would look up in surprise and smile. :D

What I Really Like About Linguacious

Pronunciation Help
For families who are learning a new language that is indeed new to everyone in the family, these cards would be an invaluable resource. Last fall my kids and I tried to start learning French, and I can't tell you how many times I became frustrated by not knowing how to pronounce things! This app pronounces things very clearly and slowly, enough so that my kids were able to repeat each word correctly. That's pretty amazing considering they are just listening, and not watching someone talk and move their mouth for cues.

Print Free Front
I love that the cards have zero print on one side of the card. This is great for Spanish learners like my oldest son who is already a proficient reader in English. If he sees Spanish print he will try to pronounce it with English phonetics. This way he looks at the picture and hears the Spanish word. So no mispronunciation, and no translating from English (in other words, when we read the word first in our native language we tend to teach our brains to translate, whereas in this situation we are associating the picture with the Spanish word).

This also makes the cards great for quizzing yourself!! Look at the side with the picture only, and see if you can remember how to say it. If not, either scan the card or flip to the back to read (after you've learned them all with the scanner first of course!)

Interactive + Easy to Use
Most of the Spanish learning in our house happens like this MOM --> KIDS. I'm really happy to have a resource where the kids can feel like they are learning independent of me. My older kids especially are needing more of that these days, wanting to feel independent of Mom. ;) Linguacious makes the learning interactive (not just receptive), and makes it so that kids can take charge of their own learning.

I find that a lot of times tech can bog learning down. "Is the battery charged?" "Are we connected to the internet?" "Oh darn, it's taking forever to download." "Where's the remote?" "Oh no, the DVD is scratched!" Can you tell we're not a tech-y family? But even for us this was fairly easy to use. As long as we don't lose our iPad and make sure that it is charged.

What I Didn't Love About Linguacious

Like I mentioned above, I don't really love technology for learning. However, in the case of languages you just can't get around needing help from technology...unless you are able to travel abroad for immersion. So what I don't love about theses flashcards is actually what's really necessary about them. And I will say, for a tech-y toy this one makes it as simple and screen-free as it can be. Think, if it was French we were learning, I would have to go to WordReference.com and look up each individual word and click on the pronunciation button. (Which I was doing last fall.) These cards makes it so much easier on me!

Ambiguous Pictures
Just a few of the pictures were ambiguous and I had to tell the kids what the word meant. This was only for one or two pictures of the entire set, and this could be avoided by looking up all the words on each card in a Spanish-English dictionary. I plan to buy the Chinese set for our house as well (Yes! Linguacious has many languages to offer) and it will be interesting to see how it goes with a non-Roman alphabet. I'll keep you posted! But if you're learning Spanish, this shouldn't be a problem if you have a dictionary on hand (if you don't WordReference.com is the best).

You can also go to the Linguacious website, hold your mouse over the AUDIO option in their menu, and click on the set that you own. You will be taken to a page with a list of all the words (with English translation written beside it) and a button for the audio.

Those are really my only complaints! These cards are great and a really fun learning tool to have on hand.

Fun Ways to Use Linguacious Cards

Sorting by Type
The possibilities are probably endless for the games you could come up with for these cards. For the food set, we had fun sorting them by type of food. You could sort by Fruits, Vegetables, Meals, Sweets, Proteins, Grains, etc. You could even turn it into a Spanish lesson about health and what the human body needs to eat to be healthy!

Sorting by Beginning Sounds
I created some alphabet cards so we can sort the cards by the beginning sounds. Right now I'm trying to work with my preschoolers on learning the Spanish alphabet. You can see some of our sorting below. I would recommend picking out just a few letters and a few cards to work on at a time if you are working with littles. For example, maybe on one day you could just pull out the cards that begin with A. Then the next day work on a different vowel, until you've gone through all the vowels. Then you can get out all the vowels together and have the kids sort!

For older kids who have worked with the alphabet and Spanish sounds a lot, you can get out the entire alphabet. I see that being a fun project my older boys (7 and 8) would enjoy.

Of course, it wouldn't be a For the Love of Spanish post if I didn't share some sort of free printable, right?! You can download your own copy of the Alphabet Cards in the pictures. You can cut out the letter by itself, or as you can see in the photos, there in italics is how you pronounce the name of each letter.

Let me know in the comments if you decide to download it and how you plan to use it! The letters that are in lowercase used to be part of the Spanish alphabet. I kept them in there 1) to go with one of my favorite alphabet songs on YouTube and 2) I thought it would be helpful to single those sounds out for sorting!

Sorting by Color
We got out some of our blank colored paper and sorted the food by colors as well! You can say ¿De qué color es el tomate? for example. Help the kids answer, ¡Rojo!

Here's how to pronounce that question: day kay koh-LOHR ehs ehl(lah)...

Notice I put "lah" in parentheses, because the word "THE" can be EL or LA (masculine or feminine). You can just look on the back of the card and insert exactly what it says on the card where I have underlined and highlighted in the question.

Other Fun Games

Make It a Race
Once you have been over the cards multiple times (or maybe you could master different sections one at a time, for example first learn all the fruits really well), you can make it a race! Have the first player hold the scanner and scan one card at a time. They try to beat the app to saying the word. The player gets to keep going until the app beat him or her, or if he or she makes a mistake. Then it's the next player's turn. Play continues until all the cards are gone. Player with the most cards at the end wins.

Me gusta, No me gusta
Have a player hold up a card and the other players try to guess if the holder likes, or does not like that food. If players think he or she does like it they say "¡Te gusta!" If players think he or she does not like it, they say "¡No te gusta!" Once each player has "voted" the holder reveals the answer by saying "Me gusta" or "No me gusta."

Remember if the food is plural, be sure to insert gustan in place of gusta.

¿Qué tengo?
This is like that Headbands game. One player holds up a card on his or her forehead (without looking at it) and the other players try to help him or her to guess what is being held. You can describe the food by color, shape, texture, etc. You could also let the holder ask yes or no questions about the food. This would be for players who are a little more advanced in Spanish, or if you have an adult on hand that speaks Spanish really well to guide the game.

You can check out more game ideas on the Linguacious website as well.

Now that you have all these awesome ideas and examples of how the cards can be used, you want a set of your OWN don't you!!?!?! I thought so. :)

The Linguacious company has been so generous to offer a set to one lucky winner!!! The giveaway is being held on Instagram, and is super simple to enter. Just make sure you are following me @fortheloveofspanish and Linguacious @linguacious_llc, like the photo, then tag a friend or comment for an entry. A random winner will be selected on September 18, 2018. And as an added bonus, the winner will also receive a Linguacious "I love languages!" wristband!

And don't worry, if you don't win, Linguacious has also been generous enough to offer a 10% DISCOUNT code to all the For the Love of Spanish readers that is good through October 1, 2018. Just enter the code FORTHELOVE at checkout on Amazon!

Be sure to check out the Linguacious store to see all the have to offer. The languages include:


And there are different themes of sets you can get as well. Here are the Spanish options:

Spanish Animals
Spanish Around the Home
Spanish Foods and Drinks

Thanks to Linguacious for the awesome set of cards to review. All opinions in this post are my very own honest opinions. I did not receive any compensation (besides the card set!) in exchange for this review. This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure for details.

Go enter the GIVEAWAY now, and BUENA SUERTE!!! Good luck!!