Spanish Is the Language of My Family

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jul. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823450046.
K-Gr 3–A powerful picture book that accessibly educates readers about linguistic discrimination and cultural resistance. The story is told from the perspective of a child entering his school’s annual Spanish spelling bee. While helping him practice, his grandma shares stories of how speaking Spanish in school was not only disdained when she was his age but also grounds for physical punishment. The child proudly celebrates his family’s language in the competition, spelling words like “poderoso/powerful” and “respeto/respect.” The text is primarily in English with a sprinkling of translated and untranslated Spanish words and phrases. Untranslated Spanish will not impede understanding for non-Spanish speakers. Short, simple, and powerful sentences make the text perfect for reading aloud or independently. Parra’s distinctive style shines in the illustrations with many thoughtful details that will keep readers engaged. Back matter about the author’s personal connection to the story and the history of language and education in the United States will answer readers’ questions and prompt new ones.
VERDICT An eye-opening and uplifting first purchase for children’s collections.

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