Sonrisas Spanish Blog

Review by Brooks Lindner

¡A comer! has always been one of our favorite children’s Spanish books. The author, Ana Zamorano, was born in Madrid but resides in Sidney, Australia. ¡A comer! is her picture of Spanish life told through the eyes of Salvador, the youngest in a family of seven. The illustrator, Julie Vivas, uses beautiful watercolor illustrations to present the setting of a traditional, small Spanish town, and throughout the book she does a wonderful job of capturing the emotions of the different family members.

¡A comer! begins with Salvador telling the reader about his family and how every day, at 2:00 in the More >

Review by Brooks Lindner, Spanish teacher and co-author of the Sonrisas Spanish School Curriculum

Arriba y abajo comes to us from Everest Editorial based in León, España. The Spanish in this book is rich and authentic with phrases such as, “Aquí arriba toco la corteza de los árboles y sus ramas que se inclinan con el viento.” The most remarkable thing though about Arriba y abajo are the colorful, captivating illustrations. In the book a father and son compare and contrast the different worlds of their senses “up here” and “down here.” The illustrations are done in pastels with broad brushstrokes, and More >

Review by Brooks Lindner

Margarita y Margaret by Lynn Reiser has long been my go-to book for the beginning of the school year. It tells the story of two young girls whose mothers take them to the park even though they do not want to go because they each are worried that there will be no one to play with. In the park they meet and quickly realize that one of them speaks only English and the other only Spanish. After timidly introducing themselves, they begin to play together, learn some of each other’s language, and then become good friends.

The simple More >

Authors: Stella Blackstone and Maria Carluccio

Review by Blue Lindner

Thank heavens Barefoot Publishing decided to keep this indispensable book in print. Very few children’s books run through every month of the year with such engaging, jam-packed illustrations.

I use this book with all of my elementary Spanish students (currently ranging 6-13), and it can certainly be used with preschool Spanish students as well. It is an excellent resource to accompany the calendar activities in the Sonrisas Spanish School Level I and Level II curricula. It is specifically recommended for Sonrisas Level II, Lesson 26.

Starting with January, each page brings a playful illustration of More >

This is the third part in a series of tips for teaching Spanish to preschool and elementary students. 

1. WATCH YOUR PACING—One of the biggest challenges with teaching young children is keeping them engaged. Your pacing has a lot to do with this. Keep your lesson moving so that your students feel like they are doing one exciting thing after another. Be flexible enough so that if your students’ attention starts to wander, you can stop what you are doing and move on to something else. Most important, pay attention to your students and adjust your pacing to their needs.

2. PLAY WITH More >

This is the second part in a series of tips for teaching Spanish to young children. You can employ these tips everyday in your preschool and elementary Spanish classes. Read Part Three.

1. BE DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE—When you are teaching young children a second language, it is not developmentally appropriate to explicitly teach grammar. Student workbooks are not effective either—it does not benefit students’ language acquisition to regurgitate isolated vocabulary on a worksheet. What is appropriate is giving children the opportunity to use their second language in a practical way in fun and meaningful contexts with lots of repetition.

2. MAKE CONNECTIONS—Connect the language to your More >

De la cabeza a los pies by Eric Carle

Review by Blue Lindner

There are many reasons why Eric Carle is one of the most popular children’s literature authors in the world. His art is expressive, bright, and captivating. His stories are simple yet engaging. His themes are universal—speaking to children of any culture in any language. For a second language learner, the text is concise and repetitive—two fabulous qualities for a language teaching tool.

Throughout the years I have used many of Eric Carl’s books to teach Spanish to young children. De la cabeza a los pies might be my favorite book of his More >

This is the first part in a series of tips for teaching preschool and elementary Spanish. These simple yet practical tips are specific to teaching Spanish to young children, and they represent some of the “aha” thoughts that have come to us in our 16 years of teaching Spanish to kids. Read Part Two.

1. BE PRESENT—When you are teaching young children they demand, and they deserve, your total attention. Give it to them. You cannot be thinking about a song you heard, or the bills you have to pay, or what you are going to have for dinner. Look your More >

La vaca que decía oink

By Bernard Most

Review by Blue Lindner

This is my all time favorite book for conveying the incredible advantages of knowing more than one language. I have never read this to a child that didn’t love it. It can be easily understood, even by a novice Spanish speaker, through the context of the expressive illustrations, and is effective for both preschool and elementary Spanish lessons.

Just as the title conveys, the book is about a cow that can oink, but cannot moo. All the farm animals make fun of her, but one day she hears a friendly moo. It More >

Review by: Blue Lindner

Title: ¡Nos vamos a Mexico!

Authors: Laurie Krebs and Christopher Corr

I searched for a long time before I stumbled across this gem. This book can be shared with children of all ages and does not stereotype or simplify the rich, diverse culture and geography of Mexico. Parents and teachers that have the Sonrisas Spanish School Cultural Curriculum can use this book to take an imaginary journey to Mexico and can end up en la playa, en las montañas, en las piramides, en un mercado, or en el hogar de las mariposas monarcas. If you are teaching Cinco de Mayo or El More >