The Book Bag, Bilingual Books (November/December 2008)

Feliz Navidad (Spanish)
Nollaig Shona (Irish – Gaelic)
Joyeux Noel (French)
Shen Dan Kuai Le Xin Nian Yu Kuai (Mandarin)

We hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Here are some of the fun bilingual books we’ve enjoyed these past two months, including one holiday story. Click the title to see our review; click the cover image to link to a bookseller. The Reading Tub uses its earnings from purchases to donate books to at-risk readers and keep the website subscription-free.

The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story written by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Fabian Negrin. La Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) should be a happy time, but Juanita is sad. Papa has lost his job, so there isn’t extra money for candy or toys. Because she has no gifts, she stays outside the church. What can she give that is worthy of Baby Jesus? “This is a simple story that is elegantly told. The illustrations (done with watercolor and oil pastels) offer a rich complement to the words. The images are detailed enough to carry the story if you want to use this as a wordless book.” (Barefoot Books, 2003) Reading Level 2.0

The Best Mariachi in the World / El mejor Mariachi del mundo written by J.D. Smith, illustrated by Dani Jones. Gustavo really wants to be a mariachi like his brother, father, grandfather, and cousins. But no one would let him touch their instruments. Upset about being left out, Gustavo went to the desert and started singing. One morning, he woke the neighbors! Is he destined to be the worst mariachi? “Every child who has wanted to “belong” will enjoy this story about a boy who wants to be in a mariachi band. Colorful illustrations help make the story sing.” (Raven Tree Press, 2008) Reading Level 3.7

Bursunsul and Paskualina: The Story of Two Friends written by Olesya Tavadze, illustrated by Evgueni Ivanov. Bursunsul and Paskualina are two very different dogs. One is big, the other is small. One is white, the other is black. Despite their differences, they are very good friends. That is, until Paskualina took something from Bursunsul, who got angry and bit her! Uh oh! “The story presents its messages of respect, friendship, and forgiveness very well. The vocabulary repetition and simple sentences make this a perfect story for first- and second-grade readers.” This book is available in seven languages. Read the complete story at (Reading Corner, 2007) Reading Level 2.3

Oranges for Everyone written by Daiga Zake, illustrated by Elena Stojanova Jimmy gets a bag of oranges. Having claimed them all for himself, he ends up giving them away, one by one, to family and friends. When he is left with none, he learns a valuable lesson: sharing is contagious.” This book is available in ten languages. Read the complete story at (Reading Corner, 2007) Reading Level 1.7