Review of Language Together’s Spanish Books!

Hi!  It’s me! How have you been?  I hope everyone is fabulous!

I wanted to pop in and let you know about a great program for kids to learn Spanish. I was lucky enough to be able to share these awesome books in Spanish with my littles and now I get to share them with you! 

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Language Together offers programs in different languages for kids. We used the Spanish set, of course.  The set comes with 10 super cute books that introduce new words to kids in a fun way. 

The books are easy to read, have drawings the kids really like because they are funny and the stories are short and sweet.  Since we got them, my boys each get to pick one before nap. I read each page to them and they repeat it back to me. Sometimes we make it fun by saying it as loud we can, singing it or acting it out just to make it fun. I really think it is helping them not only identify words, but build their vocabulary to form clear sentences in Spanish.  This was something I struggled with as they only really wanted to give me one word answers to my questions before. 

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My boys love how silly the books are.

The books are very kid friendly which means the boys do not find them intimidating in the least.  Other programs I have tried have SO much information that they find it overwhelming. That can make learning seem like a chore.  These are little books just the right size for little hands that they can take to their room to browse.  They can share them, trade them and even copy them on their own paper. 

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My oldest is 6 and practicing his reading.  The way these books are written are perfect for him to practice his reading skills as well. I think these may be just what we need to learn to read in Spanish, too! I am very excited about this!

Here is Language Together’s decription of why they work (and I totally agree).

Step by step, our deceptively simple Flashcard Stories introduce new words and phrases. Target vocabulary is woven into short, clever stories that make kids laugh — and forget they are actually learning. Students pick up language naturally, effortlessly, through repeated exposure to comprehensible input.

Click HERE to find out more about the company. 

I completely recommend these books for your little ones.  Making a game out of them makes learning a new language not feel like a task. It’s a great program.  I wish there were more books!

Hope you like my review.  Have a wonderful week! 

Amazon link: Language Together 

“Last Stop on Market Street” Book Review

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For Black History Month I was able to review another children’s book thanks to Multicultural Kids Blog. This time our book was “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt De La Peña. I review books based on how my children see them and if they can relate to them. This book is not only bright and colorful but teaches a good lesson to little ones.

The book tells the story of a little boy and his grandmother that take their regular bus ride after church one day. The little boy can’t understand why he can’t stay behind and play or why his friends don’t have to go to where they are going either.  The grandmother then helps him see the beauty in their surroundings when he cannot. When they arrive at their destination, it is revealed to the reader that they were going to volunteer at a soup kitchen as they do every Sunday.

It really is a lovely story that teaches kids about charity, helping others, family and finding beauty in the most unlikely places. I love telling my kids stories like that. My only issue with the book is the grammar. I find myself correcting it every time I read it.  I know that it was written to show the way people sometimes speak, but I have worked very hard to speak English properly and intend to teach my children the correct way to do so as well.  In my mind if I show them how not to say things, they may do it just to spite me. Yes, I know how silly that sounds.  I will try to teach them that people speak differently around the world; not only in different languages, but in different ways in the same language. I will continue to correct them when I can, though. That is just a mama thing. That might be a post for another time.

Back to the book: It was a great story with lovely pictures and a good lesson. I would recommend adding it to your collection. I hope you enjoyed my review. Now go out and read more!

“I Am Jackie Robinson” Book Review

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We are almost at the end of Black History Month and I did not want the month to end without adding a little something.  Thanks to the fabulous folks at Multicultural Kids Blog, I recently received this book to review for it.  I am very happy to be a part of this celebration and to be able to share a little bit of history with my boys.  The book we read is “I am Jackie Robinson.”  Not being a baseball fan or knowing much about him, I learned a lot from this book about this amazingly talented man and the obstacles he faced growing up and throughout his career.

The book is written for children and the illustrations are great for kids as well. The author, Brad Meltzer and the illustrator, Christopher Eliopoulos, have a series of books dedicated to teaching children about real heroes in the world they can look up to. I love the idea of such a great series.

My boys are 2 and 4 and love stories. This is a great way to teach kids a little history in a fun colorful book.  My only issue with it was the violence and some of the remarks. I know that is a subject we need to teach our kids because ignorance is the same as intolerance. I guess I just wasn’t as ready to teach it just yet. I probably should have read it first to prepare myself for questions. We read it for the first time together and I had to pause to explain to them why the way we treat people is important. I wanted them to understand that judging people for, not letting them participate in things or being mean for any reason is not ok. Once I gave them a little background and explained a little history to them so they could get an idea about what many people have suffered through to be treated equally, we were able to continue reading the story. I must confess that I completely skipped over the pages where Jackie got into a rock throwing fight with a little girl and her dad.  I just couldn’t bring myself to read that a grown man was so mean to a little boy.

Other than that, my boys really loved seeing a little boy be so good at sports. They were also very excited to see the real life pictures at the end of the book of the real Jackie Robinson and his family. They really liked that this was a true story.   The quotes are also very inspirational, I enjoyed those myself. I think it is the first biography we have read together so that was a good treat. I can’t wait to read more books from the series and learn a little bit more about some amazing people.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review: “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes”

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I am beyond excited to be a part of such a great community. And now I get to share with you an exciting event as well as a review of a very cute book, “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes” written by Shanequa Davis and Illustrated by Barbara Mason Rast.

First let me tell you about the wonderful event. It is Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th, 2015. Here are some great facts about the celebration from their website:

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Read Your World

January 27, 2015

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Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo will be hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.

  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.

  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.

  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.

  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.

  • Visit MCCBD sponsors (you can find them HERE)

  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27th to view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors:Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books  Muslim Writers Publishing,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view themhere.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your support!

Here is My Review

A childhood memory becomes a beautiful picture book.

A childhood memory becomes a beautiful picture book.

 “Chloe and Her Two Red Shoes” is a lovely story of a sweet little girl who gets her very own pair of brand new shoes for the first time instead of the usual hand-me-downs. It is told as a memory from the author’s point of view which makes it very unique and honest. I love the idea of turning something personal into a book, and the author does a great job taking you back in time with her.

I come from a family of six girls and know all about hand-me-downs.  If you have siblings, the story will most likely resonate with you, too. I read it to my boys soon after M received a new pair of shiny tap shoes.  This of course made the book extra special for him as he and Chloe had something in common. He really liked how she wore her shoes everywhere. He even asked if he could wear his shoes to bed like she does.  This, of course was a no, but he was cute for asking.

I love the illustrations of this book as well. I really like how realistic they are. They make the book even more authentic for the reader. I am all about raising my kids in a multicultural world and this book is perfect for showing diversity.

I especially like how in the end, those very same shoes become a part of all of the cherished items kept by the mother that had belonged to all of the children. Everything is kept in a very special treasure chest and the shoes will remain there for another little girl to fall in love with as well one day. Lovely!

Play Acting

If you are looking for an activity to do with your little ones, let the book lead your way. Open up your closet, let your little ones look through it and dress as silly as they can. My little guys really love walking around in their papa’s shoes. Just letting them pretend to be you can bring hours of entertainment if you let them. Also, if you or a family member with a chest full of things that belonged to you when you were younger, that would make for a new world of imagination for you and your kids. You would be surprised at how childhood memories can come rushing back to you as look through all of those beautiful things. You can tell them your own memories from those clothes and treasures and have a beautiful and fun bonding moment as well.

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Here is to always making memories with those with love with anything and everything around us.

Happy Multicultural Children’s Book Day!!

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A Little Mandarin Review

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Disclosure: A complimentary copy of this kit was kindly provided to me for review purposes. All opinions stated here are my own.

I was fortunate enough to review another multicultural product.  This time around, my kids and I are able to learn a little more about Mandarin. We received music through ITUNES from Little Mandarin called “Chinese Children’s Classics. Col. 1.0”. This CD is so lively and inspiring to my kids, we couldn’t help but dance to it. Even the ballads were lovely. They make me wish I could sing them to them at night.

I love the fact that I received the lyrics to the songs in both English and Mandarin so that I could tell my kids what the songs were about. This made them more relatable to them.  Since the songs are for children, the lyrics were short and sweet making it easier for my kids to understand.  

The singer has a beautiful voice. It is the type of voice that both kids and adults can like. If you are a parent, you know a lot of kid singers and characters can be a little grating to us. The music and singing is very pleasing to all.  I would say it’s even whimsical.  It does really make you want to dance.

Another great thing about the CD is that it incorporates some songs already familiar to children like “Happy Birthday” and “[Twinkle Twinkle] Little Star”.  They recognized the music right away and were very excited about that. I feel it made them make the connection with music and language. I’ve been trying to teach them that there is so much in the world to learn and so many cultures to respect and this CD definitely helps broaden their sense of the world.

I also loved the creator’s, Toni Wang, description of each song.  It makes them more relatable to me as a parent.  I especially liked the description of “Find a Friend”. The dance beat is a “‘tribute’ of that era of our lives” when we would go clubbing in our younger days.  Thanks for including our past in your music. 🙂

This CD has won a number of awards including Creative Child CD of the Year in 2013. It is educational, entertaining, engaging and uplifting. This is one we will include in our dance parties at home in the future. As I have previously mentioned in my blog, our dance parties are held pretty much daily when we play fun music to jump around in case we have a little too much energy or need a release at home just because.

I would recommend buying this CD for your children or students to introduce them to Mandarin. This would make a great cultural lesson as you go through a world map showcasing different parts of the world.

You can listen to samples of the songs here: A Little Mandarin Music Samples

If you would like to purchase this CD you can do so several ways:

  • You can purchase them on ITUNES by searching for “A Little Mandarin” in the ITUNES store.
  • You can purchase the MP3 on Amazon  or Google Play
  • You can purchase hard copies of the CD through their website here

If you want more information about the CD, the creators and their project you can find their website here.  You can also find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed my little review. Keep on dancing no matter what music you choose. Remember kids love movement and doing a little silly dance with them doesn’t hurt either!

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it under www.bilingualeyes.wordpress.com. You can also find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. And don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

Book Review: “Dances of India”

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Disclosure: A complimentary copy of this book was kindly provided to me for review purposes. All opinions stated here are my own.

When we received our copy of Dances of India, we were pleasantly surprised with how beautiful it was. From the box it came in, to the pages throughout, the book was so engaging with its bright colors and friendly characters. It is full of colorful images, which my kids love. The words have a rhythm to them which helps them read like music. This is perfect for a book about dance. The book not only teaches us about Indian dance and culture, but makes it fun for little ones to read. You can feel the music that they portray through the text. Their own website says it best “this is no ordinary board book. It’s an experience” and they aren’t kidding.(http://ourlittleloka.com/about/)

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Maya and Leela are two sisters exploring all the world has to offer.  I love this because I have two sons and they love pretending to have their own adventures as well. Seeing two siblings in the book makes it more relatable to them. Dances of India is the first in the series and my kids and I can’t wait to see where else their adventures take them.  I love the idea of introducing the young people to the beauty of the world through dance. (My vote is for one that includes Ballet Folklorico.)

Not only does this book help my children learn about the world around them, but the website creates awareness for important issues felt in the community the book talks about. A great thing about this book is what the authors stand for. They believe in supporting social change. To help with that, a portion of the profits will help fund projects by very special social entrepreneurs. This year, they are supporting two projects funded by two amazing individuals in Mumbai. The first is Sumeet Gade of the Pragati Holistic Development Trust, which creates activities for children in hospitals to “help them feel safe, more at home, and forget their pain at least temporarily, in an often depressing and intimidating environment.”  The second is Aarti Naik of Sakhi for Girls Education which was established to help young girls improve their basic literacy and numeracy skills while building their confidence.  

I love that they are giving back while teaching kids about the world. I can’t wait to join in their adventures for years to come.

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