Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English

I found Rose Zertuche Treviño’s Read Me a Rhyme in Spanish and English/Léame una rima en español e inglés mixed in with a stack of books at the library recently. Immediately curious, I flipped the book open and landed on a song called “Hola, Bebé.”

(Sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)

Hola, bebé. Hola, bebé
¿Cómo estás? ¿Cómo estás?
Muy bien, gracias.
Muy bien, gracias.
¿Y usted? ¿Y usted?

Not exactly pure lyrical gold or anything, but I got that darn song stick in my head right quick. So I decided to cart the book home and have a look through it.

In my Spanish class last year I had a middle-aged woman for a classmate who had adopted a baby girl from Guatemala and wanted to learn Spanish so she could teach her daughter the language as well. I had assumed at first glance that this book was aimed at a reader like her—one of the countless folks in the US who has a child adopted from Latin America or has a child with a Latino partner…or who just wants to teach their kid Spanish. But once I sat down with it, I quickly found out that this book is intended for librarians putting together reading programs for children from Spanish-speaking households. Neat!

Each chapter is set up as a program for a specific age group: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. The programs have songs, activities, games, and lots of recommendations for further reading. But for this particular reader, I was mostly interested in trying to mine the book for vocabulary. Unfortunately, there was nothing too interesting or new for me in the end, but my inner dork enjoyed singing the book’s songs nonetheless.

I don’t know if the book has much value for your average Spanish student, but if you’re thinking of going into library science or working with young children in a bilingual environment, I think it would certainly come in handy. As well, the folks I had originally thought were the intended audience would do well to seek this book out. It would be a really easy way to pick up some Spanish while having fun with your kid.

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