Friday, January 12, 2018

On Princesas, Peas, and Agua, Aguita

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit sweet, zany Jan at bookseedstudio for Roundup.

Once upon a time our eldest son confessed that that his biggest complaint about his childhood was that he isn't bilingual.

Well. Since WE are not bilingual, that's kind of up to him, isn't it? :)
But his comment has stuck with me because I, too, would love to be bilingual. (Maybe after I master the cello? Hmmm)

ANYHOW. I wish I could have shared with my son when he was wee THE PRINCESA AND THE PEA by Susan Middleton Elya, illus. by Juana Martine-Neal (G.P. Putnam's Sons). It tells the traditional story, but with a Latino twist: many of the words are Spanish! For instance, this passage:

Mama sneaked away
to the royal jardin
and found a small pea
that was fit for a queen.

Okay, so reader can tell from the picture that jardin means garden... and because of the rhyme scheme, readers learn how to pronounce jardin. (There's also a glossary in the book.) Isn't that brilliant?

Here's another passage:

The girl stretched her brazos
and yawned with her boca.
But the bed felt so lumpy,
like there was a roca.

Readers can tell from the picture that brazos means arms, and we yawn with our mouths, and roca is so similar to rock, it's easy to decode.

Who knew learning another language could be so much fun? Well, it SHOULD be fun, methinks.

There's an additional title by the same team I want to check out called LA MADRE GOOSE.

Another bilingual picture book book I've enjoyed recently is AGUA, AGUITA/ WATER, LITTLE WATER by Jorge Tetl Argueta, illus. by Felipe Ugalde Alcantara (Pinata Books). Readers learn about the water cycle in poems presented in Spanish and English -- in the voice of water.

Here is a passage:

Soy de todos los colores
y no tengo color.
Soy de todos los sabores
y no tengo sabor.
Soy de todas las formas
y no tengo forma
Soy Agua,
soy Aguita

I am all colors
and have not color.
I am all flavors
and have no flavor.
I am all shapes
and am shapeless.
I am Water,
I am Little Water.
What a fun way to learn Spanish! It's the best I can do for now. :)


  1. This IS brilliant! I need this book in my middle school. Thanks for the rec. Learning another language through poetry....what a concept. LOVE it. Also, it's really nice to see both languages in a book. I had an idea for a bilingual project but was told that its super difficult to get it to press because of the two languages. But, I see more and more coming out. That's great news for all of us. Thanks for this post today.

  2. I have read La Madre Goose. You will love it, Irene. Thanks for sharing this one also. I imagine it is wonderful for those children who are bilingual to see their first language, too. Agua/Aguita-Water/Little Water is also one I enjoyed. Nice to see these books being published.

  3. Hola!
    Que bueno!

    Buenos suerta
    hijo eldest
    con el
    la idiomia
    espanol. . .

    (not correct Spanish, but I'm trying...)

    When we lofted across the pond to stay with family
    on the island of Sicily I learned that in
    Europe 2 languages spoken fluently aren't nothin' to brag about
    & conversationally, 3, 4, 5 are the norm. Yes, they work with
    closer borders, but... still...

    Appreciations for sharing these titles. And for my new Z title!

  4. My youngest and I are watching a Spanish TV show (Gran Hotel) and it's making me remember the little Spanish I know. I hope I can find one in French, for the same reason. Thanks for sharing these with us :-)

  5. I highlighted a bilingual picture book today too! Oh my! I want to get my hands on La Princesa and the Pea. It is one of my favorite fairy tales. I especially love The Cowboy and the Black Eyed Pea and The Princess and the Pack of Frozen Peas. Thanks for the recommendations.

  6. I studied a second language from kindergarten all the way up to twelfth grade, but because I rarely actually used what I learned outside of the classroom, I've forgotten it all! But it's never too late, it seems! :-)

  7. Replies
    1. Here's another for your collection, just a few clicks away in the roundup!

  8. I wanted so much for my daughter to grow up bilingual, but had the same problem--we are not bilingual. We did watch Muzzy tapes (for language learning) from the BBC, and I found a few Spanish language picture books my brother taught me to read, but I would have loved these books! Maybe it's not too late to read them to her? I am also using Duolingo to learn a little Spanish myself. I'm coming along pretty well with my 10 minutes a day.

  9. What a wonderful way to learn another language,or to increase one's awareness of other languages, or just to have fun! I can imagine some kids viewing this as a sort of puzzle and having all sorts of fun figuring out those Spanish words. I'm going to add this one to my wish list and La Madre Goose as well. Gracias!

  10. Gracias, mi amiga! These look and sound wonderful, and that cover on AGUA is to die for. XO

  11. Thanks for sharing both of these Irene. I'm familiar with "Agua, Aguita, Water, Little Water," it's a lovely book in words and image–I love the colors also. I'll have to take a look at the other two.

  12. Learning a new language should be fun, I agree. Since I grew up in New Mexico, I can often "read" Spanish texts aloud as if I knew what they meant, but really I'm just pretending. Fun party trick.


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