Wednesday, August 30, 2017

All the Way to Havana Giveaway

What would a Back-to-School Fiesta be like without any giveaways featuring new books by Latino authors and/or illustrators?

There have been lots of excellent books hitting the market in recent months. Most recently is the new children's picture book All the Way to Havana (aff) by Margarita Engle. You may remember Margarita's post here on MommyMaestra two years ago for the L4LL Dia Blog Hop.

Margarita is a remarkable Cuban American poet, and currently serves as the national Young People’s Poet Laureate. Many of her works highlight the people and places of her beloved Cuba and her new book is a great example.

All the Way to Havana is the story of a young Cuban boy who is traveling with his family to the big city of Havana to visit his new baby cousin. But first they have to get their family car, "Cara Cara" (a 1954 Chevy 210 series), up and running for the long trip. Once in Havana, the boy is mesmerized by all the beautiful cars, the noise, and the hustle and bustle of a big city. The writing is imaginative and the author's vivid descriptions will appeal to both parents and children.

Mike Curato's illustrations perfectly reflect the vibrant culture and the richness of the architecture found in Havana. (Take a look at the book trailer below!) Best of all, this book lauds the innovative spirit of the Cuban people, who must be resourceful to keep what they have running and in good condition. Curato traveled to Havana to research the book, and he accurately portrays the city and the culture in his illustrations.

But let me tell you why I especially love this book. Not only did my son and I enjoy reading it, but my husband, who rarely looks twice at any book that doesn't have to do with gardening or birds, happened to spot it on the kitchen table and apparently read it. The car on the cover caught his eye and when he flipped open the book and saw all of the other vehicles inside it, he was hooked. And he brought it up to me later, saying that he gave it a "thumbs up." Now, I'm ALWAYS happy when my husband reads to the kids, but it is hard to find children's books that he likes to read to them. So the fact that he enjoyed this book, too, seals it for me. All the Way to Havana is a book the entire family can enjoy. :)

Here's the official book trailer for a sneak peek of the book...

I think this book would be perfect for studies of Cuba, world cultures, family, family vacations/trips, ingenuity, old cars, Hispanic heritage, and more.

You can buy your copy here on Amazon (aff).

The Giveaway

Henry Holt and Company has generously offered to give away a copy of this book to three MommyMaestra readers in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and my Back-to-School Fiesta.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spanish Champs PreK & Kindergarten Program

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Spanish Champs. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new Spanish-learning program that hasn't been featured before here on MommyMaestra.

Name of program: Spanish Champs
Target age: Prek & Kindergarten
Amount of materials: Moderate
Price: $12 - $241.50

A few weeks ago, Spanish Champs reached out to me and asked me to take a look at the program and share it with you if it was a good fit. I frequently get requests from MommyMaestra readers who are looking for a good PreK program that doesn't involve a) internet access, and/or b) a lot of screen time.

So if this sounds like what you are looking for, then perhaps I have the program for you!

Spanish Champs has two programs and although they are promoted as being designed for preschool and kindergarten, the lessons can actually be used with children up to 10 years old. The programs have been used by Progressive Language for more than five years to teach Family Spanish, Summer Camps, and Preschool Spanish. Both curricula come with a good number of materials to help parents/teachers teach their children Spanish. 

Spanish Champs 1

The spiral-bound Teachers Manual makes teaching the lessons very easy. Inside you'll find: 
  • a program overview chart, 
  • a sample parent letter (for educators), 
  • an overview of all the resources included in the curriculum, 
  • a guide on how to use the program,
  • progress charts
  • and the lessons
There are 16 lessons in all and each one includes the lesson layout, a take-home activity, and references to illustrations that teachers will find on the resource CD. The manual suggests that each lesson be taught 5 days a week over a 2-week period, and last around 25 minutes. There is a suggested schedule.

Although the curriculum does include a video, the Teachers Manual urges educators not to over use it, but rather to simply use it one or twice a week to supplement the lesson of the day, typically in relation to the song being learned.

I love how the daily lessons are split up into manageable chunks for little learners. The lessons focus on no more than one or two activities to help reinforce specific concepts, sneaking in repetition through different activities. 

Here's a look at Lesson 1 to give you an idea...

Program 1 also comes with three other books: a story book, a coloring book, and one full of songs and activities. As you can see, the illustrations are fun and colorful, perfect for preschoolers.

Spanish 2

Building on what children have learned in the Spanish 1 program, this set doesn't include a coloring book, but it does come with an additional CD featuring new songs and introduces more topics. 

The Teachers Resource CD is basically pdf and Word versions of the workbooks, plus flash cards, lots of activities, lyrics to the songs, etc. So for those of you looking to save money, you could buy the Teachers Manual and the Teachers Resource CD and simply print everything you need for each lesson. Similarly, the Story CD contains fun read-alouds of the stories used in the program.

I personally, prefer the books because it is good to snuggle with your little one on the couch or allow them to turn the pages on their own. They also help keep all of your student's work in one place rather than have coloring pages floating around all over the place.

Again, there are 16 lessons, plus a bonus Christmas lesson. The lessons are more story focused than those in Spanish 1, and the final lesson focuses on a performance that your young students will enjoy performing!

The DVDs feature animated versions of the books. I think it is good for little Spanish learners to watch them because that way they hear Spanish being spoken by someone other than you/the teacher.

I love that both programs have a Karaoke CD so that your little kids can sing along to the melody and you can listen to see if they are understanding/repeating the words and can listen to their pronunciation. And you know they are having fun singing their little hearts out! 

What I like best about this program is that everything is how age appropriate it is. Preschoolers have a really short attention span and this program keeps the learning time short and focused, using songs, stories, role playing, games, and other fun activities to teach Spanish.

You can purchase the materials individually or as a complete set

The Discount

Spanish Champs is offering a 10% discount to all MommyMaestra readers! Just enter the coupon code "mama" when you check out. 

Thanks, Spanish Champs!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Booklandia Monthly Bilingual Subscription Service {GIVEAWAY}

I've been excited about ALL of the great giveaways happening this month, but today's makes me extra giddy simply because it is so unique.

You may remember me telling you last year about Booklandia, a monthly service of bilingual and Spanish children's books delivered directly to your mailbox. Well, I just love it because there aren't that many companies out there promoting bilingual or Spanish children's lit. And this one makes it so much easier for parents raising bilingual children to get these books every single month.

Booklandia offers several different subscription packages for parents to choose from:
  • Board Books ($26/mo)
  • Spanish Picture Books ($30/mo)
  • Spanish Chapter Books ($30/mo)
  • Bilingual Picture Books ($30/mo)
  • Spanish Young Adult Books ($28/mo)
And as you can see from the pictures, their book selections are excellent!!


Booklandia has generously offered a 20% off discount to those who enter the giveaway if they purchase any of the multi-months subscriptions (3 or 6 months).

Just use the following code at checkout:  MOMMYMAESTRA2017

The Giveaway

Booklandia has graciously offered a 3-month subscription of the Booklandia Box of your choice to one MommyMaestra reader!

To enter, simply use the rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Risas y Sonrisas Online Program {GIVEAWAY}

Long time MommyMaestra sponsor, Risas y Sonrisas, has one of the best elementary Spanish curricula available for schools and homeschools alike. You can read more about their K - 5 program here

Did you know, however, that they just launched an online program? It is designed with kids in mind - full of color, music, and more.

Once you log in, you're taken to your dashboard which features 25 different options from which you can select. Each category has a variety of activities that you can enjoy. From a video lesson to animated songs and matching flash cards, all of the options are meant to help your child learn and remember new vocabulary. The games are engaging and super fun for kids.

Here's a peek at some of the pages and activities included in the program:

The Giveaway

Risas y Sonrisas has graciously offered to giveaway a single user annual license to 5 (FIVE!) MommyMaestra readers.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mozartistic CD {GIVEAWAY}

I love it when people take educational concepts and transform them in order present the information to kids in a way that makes learning fun. I have to give the creators a slow clap of appreciation.

And today's giveaway falls into this category.

Mozartistic is a new CD from 2017 Grammy winner Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, who recorded with the highly respected pianist Orion Weiss, DJ Marley Carroll, and the entire cast of Asheville Symphony.

This CD is so unique! It breaks new ground in blending symphonic music with hip hop technique, combining the rich and deep strains of classical with the boom bap drums of classic hip hop. Says 23 Skidoo “By combining Mozart’s music and the story of his youth with hip hop we hope to reach new ears with the timeless message that talent can be awakened and its gifts of beauty and love shared with the world.”

The title track is a lush and funky take on the story of young Wolfgang. As a child prodigy, Mozart toured across Europe with his sister and father, not only performing for the locals but often besting them in improvisational competitions as well. This became the creative window into this unique song. A high energy, raucous reframing of Mozart’s most famous works in hip hop format provides the backbeat for rhymes telling his story, relating it to an audience of kids who may themselves be dormant prodigies. You and/or your children may recognize some of Mozart's most famous pieces embedded in the music and merged with the hip hop beats.

The Mozartistic EP debuted as part of the Asheville Amadeus Festival, an Asheville community-wide music event celebrating the music and life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Asheville Symphony’s Executive Director, David Whitehill said “The Mozartistic album provided us each with the opportunity to create something really unique and dive into each other’s worlds of classical music, hip-hop and children’s music. The album is also an opportunity to tell Mozart’s story and share this wonderful message for kids that everyone has their own inner prodigy and we all have something special inside of us.”

Check out this behind-the-scenes peek of the making of Mozartistic:

MOZARTISTIC is available on both iTunes and Amazon (aff).

The Giveaway

I'm happy to have the opportunity to giveaway a copy of the CD to two MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 11, 2017

Spanish Mini Books by Lectura para niños {GIVEAWAY}

Today's giveaway comes from one of my favorite Spanish immersion resources, Lectura para niños. If you've followed MommyMaestra for a while, then you may remember many of the free downloads that they've shared on the site. Their focus is on creating educational printables for students in PreK through 2nd grade, mostly materials for learning to read in Spanish, like this set of mini books.

They are aligned with the same letter of the week and site words as the Maravillas Reading series. You can read more about this series on the McGraw Hill website, or order books directly from Amazon using this search...

Leah, the owner, says...

"I created these little books to work on during small groups. Students will reinforce the beginning sounds, syllables & automaticity with their sight words taught throughout the week. They will also practice segmenting words into syllables as well as blend syllables to form words.

To use them, print enough books for one group. Then laminate and bind them together.

One teacher or assistant will go through this book with the students at the pacing of the students in your group. My more advanced group will be able to get through more pages than the others. I will also be using this during my intervention time with my students who need extra time.

My small group reading happens for 45 minutes. My students are required to switch between myself and two assistants. We rotate groups every 15 minutes. One of my assistants will work on this with my kiddos.

My materials are in no way associated with or endorsed by McGraw Hill - Maravillas reading series. I have created these small books to complement the program and our small reading groups.

How to play the board games:

1. Practice reading around the board, tracking and following the letters and words. We do this a lot before we start playing the game. These game boards really help students with tracking and staying together. The colors help, as well. If the student loses their place, the colors help when I say, "We are on the word yo. The color is red," etc.

2. Roll the die (In the beginning, I use a die that only has 1, 2, & 3 on the die because there aren't that many spaces. We roll the die, move that many spaces. The student needs to say the letter or word or they have to return to their prior space. The first person to make it to the end of the board wins.

The Giveaway

Lectura para niños has graciously offered a free set of these mini books to 3 MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües {GIVEAWAY}

I know that many MommyMaestra readers are raising bilingual children or are bilingual ed teachers. As such, this next giveaway is something I think you will very much enjoy. Even if this description doesn't apply to you, it's quite possible that you know someone who would benefit.

It's no secret that I greatly respect the work of authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy. They have contributed a tremendous amount of materials to bilingual and bicultural education in this country. Not only books, but videos, curricula, and other materials. And at the center of their work is always the needs of Hispanic families, especially the children.

Once again, they have created an invaluable resource, this time in Spanish. Guía para padres y maestros de niños bilingües (aff link*) offers parents raising bilingual children both hope and guidance. (It's actually a second edition.) They give realistic descriptions of the joys and challenges associated with teaching bilingual children.

Most of the book is laid out in a Q & A format, and they do provide answers to some of the most common questions related to this topic. You'll find information about
  • bilingualism in the digital era
  • up-to-date research on the mixing of languages or code-switching
  • the influence that siblings have on the family language
  • the intellectual benefits of bilingualism
  • and the effect it has on a child's personality, identity, and self-esteem.
While the majority of the book is directed at parents, the authors have also included a section for educators on how to best support the home-school connection.

And one of my favorite topics, nurturing literacy at home and reading suggestions for adults and children. 

This is not light reading material. It is very informational and a comprehensive resource for parents who are serious about raising bilingual children. 

The Giveaway

Multilingual Matters, the publisher, has generously offered a copy of this book to three MommyMaestra readers!

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below. 

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 7, 2017

Spanish for You! GIVEAWAY & Free Download

It's week two of my annual Back-to-School Fiesta!

Today's giveaway and free download comes from MommyMaestra sponsor, Spanish for You!

First, the free download.

For the rest of the year, the freebies from Spanish for You! will focus on numbers. This month's 3-page mini-lesson will help your little one learn their numbers in the 20s, as well as how to spell them. It comes with an audio file to help young students learn proper pronunciation. The activity includes directions, memory cards, and a game sheet.


Spanish for You! has generously offered a homeschool package of your choice to one MommyMaestra reader. Retail value $39.95 and includes 24-30 weeks of lessons per themed package. Take a look at the choices here.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Friday, August 4, 2017

BILINGUAL One-Minute Mysteries: MATH!

Last year, I told you about One-Minute Mysteries, a new bilingual book series that was perfect for nurturing your kid's love of science.

This year, I'm excited to share that a second book has been released focusing on MATH! Just in time for going back to school. :)

Short Mysteries You Solve with Math!/¡Misterios cortos que resuelves con matemáticas! (aff) is an award-winning book for young mystery and math lovers. Each mystery takes exactly one minute to read and includes real-world connections to help develop your student's critical thinking skills.

Inside this book, you'll find 40 different brain teasers that require your child to use their math skills to find the solutions. PLUS a bonus science section at the end.

And the best part is that all of them are in English and Spanish, so you can choose which language you want to read. On the left page, you'll read an English one-page mystery, and on the right page, the same mystery is available in Spanish. Once you think you've solved the brain teaser, just turn the page to read the answer and see if you were right!

And before you ask, yes, the Spanish is well done. Last time, I couldn't find any information on the translators, but this time, when I went to their website, I found that two translators were used for the book. The first, Yana Alfaro, is from Costa Rica with a Masters in English-Spanish Translation. And the second, Karen R. Geating, is a language services consultant born and raised in Puerto Rico.

Bonus for public/private school teachers: All Science, Naturally books align with both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. And the content in these books also correlates directly with the math and science standards laid out by the Center for Education at the National Academies.

Bilingual materials are still really hard to find, which makes this book is a treasure for homeschooling parents who are looking for ways to make learning fun, while nurturing their child's bilingualism. Dual language teachers will also enjoy using this book as a fun time filler with their classes.

It is best suited for children ages 10 - 14.

So if you are looking for a fun way to keep your kids' science skills sharp, this book is for you! Visit the publisher - Science Naturally - website to learn more about it, read some sample mysteries from the book, and place your order.

The Discount

Science, Naturally has kindly offered a discount to MommyMaestra readers! Use code PREPUBSET to get $12 off + free shipping*

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Vocales Video GIVEAWAY

Next on my annual Back-to-School Fiesta is a giveaway of a really popular product that I shared with you earlier this year. 

"Spanish for Babies and Toddlers: Vocales" is an animated video to help young children learn the proper sounds of the vowels in Spanish. It was created by José Dominguez, a physical therapist who is raising his four kids in a bilingual home. He is originally from Venezuela and his wife is from Pennsylvania. But he noticed that his kids were struggling with learning the pronunciation of Spanish words.

If you live in a bilingual household where one parent speaks Spanish and the other speaks English and you find that your children or students are pronouncing their Spanish vowels with an English accent, then this may be just the video you need! 

Technically, it was created for children ages 0 - 5, but older students in K - 2nd might benefit as well. The video makes learning the vowel sounds fun through colorful characters, original songs, and repetition.

Watch a sample of the video and read more about José's story on my previous post.

I highly recommend this for bilingual or Spanish-immersion Pre-K - 2nd grade classes, including homeschools.

The Giveaway

José has graciously offered to give away a copy of his DVD to 3 MommyMaestra readers! (But of course, if you want to be sure you get it, you can buy a DVD or direct download directly from his website.)

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling

It is officially August 1st and that means my annual MommyMaestra Back-to-School Fiesta begins!

I'm over the moon to finally - FINALLY! - announce the launch of my book, The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling!!

I didn't realize it at the time, of course, but this book has been 8 years in the making. I began writing it when I started this blog. But I didn't realize that I had the content for a book until early this year with the entrance of our country's new administration. Suddenly, I began receiving emails from parents who were scared to send their kids to school and wanted to know how they could start homeschooling. It's all here on MommyMaestra. But I know that it can be hard to navigate through 8 year's worth of content. And if you are like me, you like a physical book that is laid out in an orderly fashion that you can just pick up and reference, write notes in, and take with you.

Really, homeschooling has been around forever. Currently, however, it is considered the fastest-growing form of education in the United States. It is estimated that there are currently more than 2 million children being homeschooled in the United States. And it is quickly growing in popularity among minority families. In fact, according to an article on the Intellectual Takeout, Hispanics now comprise 15% of the homeschooling population and that number is expected to double.

At any rate, it was reading about how recent ICE raids and an increase in bullying were scaring Latino parents into keeping their children out of school that finally prompted me to put together this guide. And for the last 6 months, I've been compiling and editing and asking permission and pleading with other Latino homeschoolers to share their own stories. Then there was the issue of formatting and the cover and...ay-yay-yay! You get the picture.

Plus I chose to self-publish because I felt it was the fastest way to get this book into your hands.

It's like giving birth to a home. By yourself. Ha!

And I'm so happy to announce that The Latino Family's Guide to Homeschooling (aff) is now available!

Whatever your reason for considering homeschooling (i.e., wanting to nurture your child's bilingualism at home, unhappy with the level of educational opportunities in your area, a mobile/travel lifestyle, fear for their safety...), this book was designed to help you get started and provides resources for those of you who are already on the journey.

Inside this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn the following:

  • what is homeschooling?
  • how to get started 
  • bilingual homeschooling
  • homeschooling children with special needs or learning differences
  • preschool & kindergarten
  • homeschooling older children
  • preparing for college

You’ll also read the stories of other successful homeschoolers, most from a variety of Hispanic or bilingual backgrounds. Learn about how and why they began homeschooling, and read their advice for teaching at home. I am SO grateful to all the wonderful parents and professionals who have shared their tips, knowledge, and stories with MommyMaestra readers over the years. Every single one that I contacted about sharing their story in this book quickly agreed, and a few even wrote a piece specifically for this book to help me make it complete.

In these pages, you’ll read about the homeschool experiences of families that represent the diversity of the Latino culture. A veteran Cuban-American mom homeschooled her four children long before homeschooling was considered commonplace, and despite negative reactions from family and friends. A Spanish-American mom decided her autistic child wasn’t getting the support and education he needed from his public school, so she took the chance to homeschool him and couldn’t be happier. And a Chilean-American mom shares five tips that may help you arrive at your final decision as you consider this option for your family. These and many other homeschooling mamis share their stories to encourage other families who may be considering educating their children at home.

Filled with resources and tips for finding great curricula, as well as advice for daily learning, this book is a must-have for every Latino family considering homeschooling.

You can purchase this book directly from my shop or on Amazon:


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