October 12 – United Nations Spanish Language Day

Happy Spanish Language Day!

The United Nations has named a day of celebration for each of the world’s major languages. Spanish Language Day is celebrated on October 12th, the anniversary of Columbus’s arrival to the western world.

I looked through some of the things my mother had saved for me and I found one of my first picture books Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, written in Spanish and published in San Sebastian where my grandparents lived. I’m so glad she saved this for me!

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And then I searched my library for books having Spanish Words in the title. Look at how many I found in just a few minutes! This is certainly not a comprehensive list. Check out your local library and see what you can find!

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Here are just a few from my stack:

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Adios Oscar! written and illustrated by Peter Elwell (2009)

When Oscar meets Bob the Butterfly, who is on his way to Mexico, he finds out that he will become a butterfly someday too. Oscar’s friends think he’s crazy to believe anything a butterfly tells him. Oscar has to find out for himself. With the help of Edna the Bookworm, Oscar reads all about caterpillars and butterflies. He learns that everything Bob told him about butterflies was true. Now he wants to learn how to speak Spanish so that when he does become a butterfly and go to Mexico he will be able to speak the language. Then Oscar was ready to take his nap. He dreamed of riding the wind out of Cleveland and all the way to Mexico. When he woke up he found he had wings. But why was he craving socks? His friends were all flying around a lightbulb for no reason and tasting the sweater hanging inside the closet. Oscar realized he wasn’t a butterfly after all, he was a moth. Oscar tried really hard to be a good moth, but he just couldn’t get Mexico out of his mind. So he decided to be a moth who thought like a butterfly and he rode the winds to Mexico where he could speak Spanish and play with the butterflies!

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Numero Uno written by Alex Dorros and Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Susan Guevara (2007)

Hercules and Socrates always argued about who was more important. Each thought he was Numero Uno (number one). One was strong (fuerte) and one was smart (inteligente). When the villagers wanted to build a bridge they called on both men. Socrates figured out a plan and Hercules started the work. But they argued so much about who was numero uno, that the people of the village were tired of listening to them. One boy had an idea, he offered to take them both out of town for three days while the villagers worked on the bridge. Then they would decide who was missed the most. For three days they argued and the people worked. It was hard to build a bridge without the plans. And it was hard to build the bridge without the strength. After three days, when they returned the villagers agreed that they needed both men, but that the winner was the village because they realized that they needed both strength and intelligence to build the bridge.

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Mañana, Iguana written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by Ethan Long (2005)

Iguana wants to have a fiesta (party) on Saturday. Her friends Rabbit, Turtle, and Snake all agree it was a great idea. But when it comes time to do the work, Rabbit always says ‘No, I am too fast…’ and Turtle says ‘No, I am too slow…’ and Snake says ‘Mañana, Iguana, when I grow arms’. But mañana (tomorrow) would be too late and so she did all the work herself. No one helped her write the invitations, deliver the invitations, cook the food, decorated, or fill the piñata. On Saturday, her friends were very excited to greet the guests and let the fiesta begin. But Iguana told them ‘NO’ because they had not helped her prepare. That night Rabbit, Turtle, and Snake looked on as everyone else had fun. After the party, Iguana was too tired to clean up. ‘I’ll do it mañana’ she said and she went to sleep. Rabbit, Turtle, and Snake, feeling bad about not helping and not being invited to the fiesta, decided to surprise Iguana and clean up themselves. They worked all night and in the morning when Iguana woke up and saw what they had done, she said Gracias (thank you) and they all enjoyed the leftovers together.

*****

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Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios (2011)

This is a picture book about a little girl growing up with two distinctly different heritages, customs, and traditions, one from her mother’s side of the family and one from her father’s side of the family. The story is told in both English and Spanish for readers of either or both languages to enjoy. Go HERE to read the full summary and recommendation.

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