In both English and Spanish, a young girl shares the story of how she and her family arrived in the United States.
My oldest daughter is spending her summer at a Spanish Immersion camp. That means that all of her teachers will only speak to her in Spanish. Before this summer, Brooke’s level of Spanish was a beginner; she knew the numbers 1-10, how to say, “My name is….”, “very well”, and “How are you?”, as well as some children’s songs in Spanish. Basically, she knew very little. The wonderful thing about an immersion program for children at Brooke’s age (first grader), their brain is ready to absorb and adapt to language. She is soaking up new words and pronunciation and even after a few weeks she is starting to throw in Spanish words here and there in our everyday conversation without even realizing it.
Living in Austin, Texas, particularly in our neighborhood, the majority of those around us are speaking English as a second language. Many stores within walking distance are geared towards Mexican or South American families and there are times when I have to speak Spanish in order to communicate. However, the area I grew up in Ohio was completely different. The families that I met from Mexico or South America had to struggle to learn the language and assimilate to life in America where English was the only language spoken and many things, like items in the grocery store, were unfamiliar. Having lived in southern Spain for a summer at a Spanish Immersion school in my twenties, I can honestly say I had a very similar experience. The area I lived in Andalusia did not cater to English-speakers and since I was renting an apartment, I had to adapt to different foods, culture, and the Spanish language rather quickly. I had one small television set that only had Spanish-speaking channels, so the only news I could hear/read in English was from a British newspaper I would pick up each week. I enjoyed the experience, of course, but it wasn’t so easy to adapt that late in the game. I knew that if I wanted my children to learn a second or even third language, it was something I needed to start building with them early, which is why I love getting English/Spanish books for my girls.
Just Like Home (Como en Mi Tierra) is a fantastic book for a bilingual curriculum since it has an alternating format that is designed for both English and Spanish-language learners. The story is familiar to many who live in Austin, a young girl’s family moves to the United States from South America and it shows a very honest account of the joys and challenges of a child who is facing a new culture and language. The girl in the book describes her experiences as being “just like home” or “not like home.” The words are very clear in both Spanish and English and there are repetitive declarative sentence structures like, “Look! Out the window! Snow! Not like home.” As the girl adjusts to life in America, the book does show the difficulties that a child faces when trying to make friends, missing favorite foods, and adapting to different weather patterns in an entirely new culture. Just Like Home is perfect for ESL or Spanish courses for young children and it’s engaging and sympathetic at how one has to adapt in a new environment. I enjoyed the glossary at the back of the book as well as having ‘Can You Find a…?” on each page to help with language studies. I also think this book is perfect for any child who is moving to a new location, because the overarching story line is that while you will miss your friends and all the things in your past, you are also moving on to an exciting new journey with all new experiences to learn and enjoy. Awesome read!
About the Translator: Theresa Mlawer is a widely respected translator and the president of Lectorum Publications, the largest distributor in the United States of children’s books in Spanish.
About Albert Whitman & Company: The Illinois Albert Whitman & Company has been publishing books to help educate, entertain and encourage children for over 90 years! Wow! Albert Gayne Whitman was a Chicago-born actor in both radio and film between the years 1904-1957. Albert Whitman & Company has always been independently owned and operated and is best known for the classic series The Boxcar Children Mysteries.
List Price: $ 6.99