Monday, December 27, 2021

Popular New Year's Traditions from Latin America


New Year is a time to celebrate, to bid the year goodbye goodbye, and and welcome a new one with open arms. It’s a time of joy and renewal. People across the world practice different New Year’s rituals and traditions in hopes that it will come in with good luck, health, love, and fortune. 

Latin America is no exception to the rule. Latin Americans celebrate the New Year with joy, great food, and unique traditions. Some are pretty classical, while others are quite quirky. Here is a list of some of the most popular New Year’s traditions that people love to practice in Latin America to start the year right!

Popular New Year's Traditions in Latin America


Eating Twelve Grapes at the Stroke of Twelve Bells

One of the most popular ways to welcome the new year in Latin America is by eating twelve red grapes as the twelve-second countdown begins before the clock strikes midnight. Each grape represents a wish, one for every month of the year. This tradition can get pretty fun, as twelve seconds isn’t really a lot of time to stuff 12 grapes into your mouth, so rushing is essential.

This ritual was imported from Spain and is practiced by people in several Latin American countries, including Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. 

Sweeping


Yep, you read that right! In some countries, people actually take a broom and sweep as the New Year begins. Some sweep the old vibes out the door in order for the new ones to come in, while others throw a few coins right outside the door and sweep them into the house at midnight to beckon fortune for the household.

© Can Stock Photo - nebari


Carrying a Suitcase Around the Block

Another fun New Year’s tradition for many Latin Americans is to throw some clothes into a suitcase and carrying it around the block. As you probably already guessed, this is done with the hope that the new year brings in a lot of traveling. It can be quite uncanny seeing people wandering around with their suitcases at midnight, but well, on December 31st, this is a pretty common sight in Latin America!

Jumping Seven Waves


In Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro and other coastal destinations, people approach the ocean waters and jump seven waves at midnight on New Year’s eve. This is done with the intention of attracting good health and fortune in the coming months. Some people also like to offer presents to the sea, including flowers and fruit as a way to give thanks for the blessings that will come.

Wearing Colored Underwear

Believe it or not, this tradition is very common in many Latin American countries! A lot of Latin Americans carefully pick their underwear’s color on New Year’s eve, having in mind what they hope to find in the coming year. 

Red undies are believed to attract love, while yellow ones bring in fortune, and white beckons peace. In Argentina specifically, pink underwear is worn to attract good things in general.


© Can Stock Photo - StudioLightAndShade

Wearing White Clothes

In countries like Argentina and Brazil, people typically dress in white clothes on New Year’s Eve. White symbolizes new beginnings, peace, and prosperity, so they pick their outfits in the hopes of filling the coming year with everything white represents.

Burning the Old Year Away

As a way to celebrate the coming of the new year, people in Ecuador have a tradition of burning the old one away. 

This is done by getting together with the closest people in your life (be it friends or family) on the evening of December 31st and then throwing a doll made of cardboard and cloth into a bonfire. The doll symbolizes the year that is ending. If the year was a bad one, it can be thrown and hit before being tossed into the fire! On the other hand, if the finishing year was good, the doll can be cuddled with joy before going into the bonfire.

I hope this list of New Year’s traditions in Latin America has shone some light on how people in this region of the world bid the year goodbye to make space for the new one! 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Book Review: Mis Cuentos Ecológicos

The following is a sponsored post with Nacho Books. All thoughts and opinions are the writer's own.

This review is one of a series of educational books in Spanish available from the new Nacho Books website. Find additional reviews in this series here

Stories about Caring for the Planet

Mis Cuentos Ecológicos is a hard-cover Spanish story book from Nacho Books that transports children to a magical world through nine short fairy tale-like stories that focus on the importance of taking care of the natural world. Each tale introduces how human actions harm nature and how personal decision making can make a difference in keeping animals and the environment clean and happy. 

Talking animals, walking trees, messages in the sky all implore humans to reverse their ways before nature is destroyed. The protagonists in each story realize the value of recycling, stopping deforestation, not using pesticides, keeping land and water clear of trash and reducing harmful pollution. 

The full-page illustrations are vibrant and full of emotion. Each page shows the contrast of emotional responses from animals and humans when the right and wrong decisions are made. 

It’s target audience is beginner and fluent Spanish speakers in K-2nd grade (5-8 years old). The stories present a clear right and wrong choice for the environment, and consequences for the wrong choices like littering, polluting, or not recycling are severe. They do not shy away from the stark reality that some human behaviors can have dire consequences. 


Animals, humans and mythical beings send clear messages about what the right choices should be and the stories always end with people realizing their errors and restoring the environment to what it was. It also presents the government and companies as being easily and quickly convinced of what needs to change and their being on board for immediate and dramatic action. 

The book presents several environmental issues as clear moral choices. Possible conversations that could develop from these stories could be about personal choices and systemic change and what role young people can play in taking care of the planet as well as who the power holders are, i.e. governments and companies. 

Click over to Nacho Books to order this and other titles to support your child’s emerging reading and listening comprehension in Spanish as well as their understanding of pressing environmental issues. 

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Monika Aldarondo is a former arts educator, and current photographer and creative shape-shifter with Puerto Rican roots. She posts about her bilingual home/un-schooling journey on Instagram @librolovinmama. Her photography and creative projects can be found at laancla.com.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Free Vicente Fernández Reading Passage


Five days ago, the remarkable Vicente Fernández passed away. Often referred to as "Mexico's National Treasure," Chente (as he was known to many) left behind an amazing legacy of more than 80 albums and more than 300 songs. But what matters to most of his adoring fans is not the number of songs he sang, so much as their own personal memories and emotions that were tied to those songs.

Many people asked me for a printable dedicated to Fernández. I finally sat down and did a bit of research and created one for you. For those who are newsletter subscribers, keep an eye on your inbox this weekend for my latest newsletter, which includes a free download of this one-page reading passage with a brief history of the musical icon's life. 

If you aren't a newsletter subscriber, you can find the download in my TpT store here.

And if you'd like to go ahead and get your copy, you can subscribe to my newsletter and get an instant download of this printable reading passage delivered (for a limited time) right to your inbox.


You May Also Like Learning About...


Here are some of my other posts and reading passages that you may enjoy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Las Posadas Printable Resources



Las Posadas start tomorrow! Are you looking for resources to teach your students/children about this nine-day celebration?

Las Posadas is a re-enactment of the night that Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and asked for shelter. These evening celebrations begin each year on December 16th and end on Christmas Eve.

I have a ton of resources here on MommyMaestra for learning about Las Posadas, including crafts, videos, books, and more. Just click here or use the sidebar search box.

And if you are looking for a quick, no-prep, print-and-go activity to teach your child about this holiday celebration, then check out my Las Posadas collection! It has printables for a variety of ages and they are ALL available in both English and Spanish.

Here's a peek at what you'll find:


for preschool and elementary grades


for preschool and early elementary grades



for early elementary



for elementary


elementary grades



for 4th - 8th grade (and higher!)



For upper elementary grades

Friday, December 10, 2021

Christmas Words in Spanish - Free Daily Activities

This year is coming to an end and the holidays are upon us. I am deeply thankful to all the wonderful sponsors of MommyMaestra, but especially to Spanish for You! who provides such wonderful free downloads every month for Spanish learners. If you've been using their freebies, please consider purchasing directly from them. Any of their affordable products would make the perfect gift for young language learners!

This month's freebie is a set of daily activities for learning Christmas words. They'll help your young student learn the vocabulary associated with the holidays. This two-page download comes with a list of activities and a printable word search. You can also fine an audio file below to help with pronunciation.

Download the printable file here

Download the audio file here

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!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe Reading Passage

 

December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When I was growing up, her image was everywhere in my 'Buelita's house: on candles, jewelry, little cards that she carried in her purse, and other places. 

If you don't know the story behind the Virgin of Guadalupe, read on!

The Legend of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe

Legend has it that on December 12th, 1531, Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary) appeared and spoke to Juan Diego, an indigenous Mexican whose birth name was Cuauhtlatoatzin. It was one of four instances in which she appeared to him.

Not much is known about Juan Diego’s early life, other than his indigenous heritage and the fact that he and his wife had no children. They both were some of the first converts to Catholicism shortly after the arrival of 12 Franciscan missionaries in Mexico in 1524.

The story goes that on December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was on his way to mass when he had a vision of the Virgin Mary. She was bathed in a heavenly light and told him to tell the bishop to build a shrine for her there on Tepeyac Hill, just outside Mexico City... and she spoke to him in his native tongue - Náhuatl - not in Spanish.

Of course, the bishop didn’t believe Juan Diego but said he would think about it. Diego saw Mary again later that day and suggested she send someone else. But at her urging, he agreed to make her request again in the morning. This time, the bishop asked for proof of the vision. Diego immediately sought out The Virgin on Tepeyac and she told him to return the following day. 

Can Stock Photo - Shakzu

However, the next day, Diego’s uncle fell ill and he stayed home to take care of him (Diego’s wife had died two years before). But his uncle’s condition became so bad overnight that on December 12th, Diego went out in search of a priest to administer the last rites. While doing so, Mary once again appeared to him, though he avoided going up Tepeyac Hill for fear of seeing her.  She told Diego that his uncle would be fine and then directed Diego, who was wearing a heavy tilma (cloak) to stay warm, to fill it with roses and take them to the bishop as proof. Despite it being winter, he found the flowers blooming on the rocky hill and filled his tilma. But when he took them to the bishop, not only did fresh Castilian roses spill from his tilma, but a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe shone from the inside of his cloak. The bishop was convinced and immediately ordered a shrine to be built.

Juan Diego was allowed to live in a small hut near the Basilica and spent the rest of his life serving the poor and needy in Mary’s name.

To this day, the tilma hangs in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It has survived 500 years and shows no sign of cracking or fading. And careful testing has shown, “the image was made using no underdrawing, no sizing, no protective over-varnish and no brush strokes.”

The Printable Mini-Lesson

For a few years now, I've been wanting to offer a reading passage on the legend of Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I finally uploaded it to my TpT shop this morning. 

If you'd like to use this mini lesson with your own students or children, you can find it here in my TpT store. This one-page reading passage shares this legend based in Mexico. The informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade, and it includes an 8-question comprehension quiz plus answer key.

And, as always, it is available in both English and Spanish.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Holiday Gifting: Shapes Puzzle

 


If you're like me, then you spend a lot of time trying to find gifts that are educational in some way, shape, or form for your kids to open during the holidays. Today's gift recommendation is for those of you with preschoolers!

This post uses affiliate links. 

Shape Puzzles

One of my favorite finds that I gave my preschooler last year is this set of LIKEE pattern blocks. When I was growing up, I was obsessed with tangrams. I loved the challenge of these puzzles. But they were definitely a little TOO challenging for my preschooler. Fortunately, I found these and they are perfect!

This set comes with 36 wooden pieces painted in bright, non-toxic colors. Overall, they are larger than most pattern blocks so that makes it easier for little hands to manipulate them. 


The set also has 60 pattern cards of easily recognizable patterns for your child to create. The items include animals, transportation, household items, and more. They range in complexity from simple (like the boat shown above) to challenging (like the excavator). One side of the card shows the completed design and the name of the object. The other side shows you the pieces needed. Your child must figure out how they fit together and if there are layers.

This game is great for developing critical thinking skills, fine motor skills, and analyzation. It also helps you teach colors, shapes, counting, and vocabulary (round, half, combine, layer, etc.)

This set is best suited for children ages 4 to 7, but my then 3-year-old was able to use them easily last year and even my teen enjoys doing them with my youngest. (Okay, in all honesty, I enjoy them, too!)

If this shape puzzle sounds like something you've been looking for, you can find it here on Amazon:



Monday, December 6, 2021

Holiday Gifting: Picture Book of World Celebrations

 

This is one of the books on my list to buy this year! 

Celebrations Around the World

Let's Celebrate! Special Days Around the World features 13 holidays found in different cultures. What a fabulous resource for those of us raising global citizens. 

You'll read about holidays like Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day) in Japan, Matariki in New Zealand, Diwali in India, New Yam Festival in Nigeria, and many more. It even includes Día de los Muertos! :)

The book includes a timeline so that you can see on what day of the year each holiday is celebrated. There's also a section of fun facts for each holiday that includes words in different languages as they relate to each celebration.



And the illustrations are fantastic. This is a vibrant picture book with just enough information so as not to overwhelm young readers. Instead they are left engaged and wanting to learn more.

Online Theatrical Story Time

And if you'd like to extend the learning, the Fort Worth Kimbell Art Museum is hosting a BILINGUAL theatrical story time for FREE and ONLINE, tomorrow, Tuesday, December 7th at 11 am CT. You read that right - it's in English AND SPANISH.

The name of the event is Pictures and Pages/Fotos y Libros. You can either RSVP to their FB event page or subscribe to their YouTube channel to get notified so that you don't forget.

Get It!

Be sure to visit your local library to ask for this title. 

And if you'd like to purchase this book, you can find it on Amazon or Bookshop:

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Holiday Gifting: Aula Creativa 5

Aula Creativa 5: Art Workbook in Spanish

The following is a sponsored post with Nacho Books. All thoughts and opinions are the writer's own.

This review is one of a series of educational books in Spanish available from the new Nacho Books website. Find additional reviews in this series here

Aula Creativa 5: Art Workbook in Spanish


Aula Creativa 5 “Serie Educatión Artística” by Susaeta

Aula Creativa 5 by Susaeta is part of a series of books designed to support your child’s artistic thinking and skills. This series is all in Spanish and is geared toward advanced Spanish speakers in Pre-K through upper elementary/middle school. You can find the whole series books 1-9 at Nacho Books. 

Aula Creativa 5 introduces a variety of artistic skills, including drawing, mark making, color theory, simple instrument making, origami and more. Each activity is followed by it’s theme, goals, interdisciplinary theme, and further exploration. There are also spaces for recording the students’ prior knowledge and assessment of what they’ve learned through the activity. 

Aula Creativa 5: Art Workbook in Spanish


The lessons include jumping off points for studying artists within the western canon, art movements and interdisciplinary themes through a brief paragraph and an internet link for further investigation. For example, an image that asks for elements of an ocean scene be drawn and colored in is followed by a paragraph on what role the oceans and marine life play in Earth’s ecosystem and oxygen production.  The interdisciplinary nature of this book allows for an expansive view of art and how it connects to many areas of life. 

The introduction of the pedagogical approach and book’s structure for parent teachers is thorough and speaks to why and how visual and music education are important in learning and life. This is a great starting point or supplemental book for your child’s visual arts education, and music education to a lesser degree. The structure is good for parents who would like to see how to integrate art in an interdisciplinary way. 

Aula Creativa 5: Art Workbook in Spanish


If this sounds like it would support your child’s artistic growth head over to Nacho Books for this series and others on drawing, cutting, and creative writing. 


If you're looking for more art resources, check out these on MommyMaestra:

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Monika Aldarondo is a former arts educator, and current photographer and creative shape-shifter with Puerto Rican roots. She posts about her bilingual home/un-schooling journey on Instagram @librolovinmama. Her photography and creative projects can be found at laancla.com.

Monday, November 29, 2021

5 Star Wars Gifts For Kids


Since its release in 1977, Star Wars has almost always been a mainstay franchise in toy aisles everywhere. Kids all over the world love Star Wars and all of the amazing toys offered depicting some of the galaxy's most beloved characters.

However, there are a lot of options when it comes to Star Wars merchandise, and at tops, the choices available might seem overwhelming. Fear not, however, as the following list will help you find the perfect Star Wars toy for the child in your life.

This post contains affiliate links.

Play-Doh Star Wars BB-8 And R2-D2


Play-Doh is a classic, all-time favorite toy, so it’s no wonder it has gotten the Star Wars treatment as well. This year, Amazon released it’s exclusive R2-D2 and BB-8 Play-Doh set. Kids can have loads of fun making all sorts of stuff out of the colorful clay-like toy.

With the included figures, kids can stamp and mark up their creations with the help of two of the most iconic droids in the Star Wars franchise. Plus, kids can use Play-Doh to create all sorts of scenes and props for the characters to interact with. When it comes to creative fun, Play-Doh is a great way to go for kids.

Star Wars Galaxy Of Adventures Figures


The Galaxy of Adventures figures are chunky, durable action figures featuring some of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars franchise. These figures are poseable and come with accessories making them great for kids who are getting into action figures but don’t need the small parts.

There are a plethora of characters to choose from and even some vehicles on the way. These figures are bright and fun and make for perfect gifts for the younger Star Wars fan in your life.


LEGO Star Wars Boba Fett’s Starship Building Set


With the release of The Book of Boba Fett fast approaching, fans everywhere are chomping at the bit to get more Boba Fett action. With this set by LEGO, fans can build and play with one of the most popular spaceships in science fiction.

With the included mini figures and detailed model, kids can have all sorts of adventures with one of popular cultures most loved characters. This set is perfect for the Lego fans and Star Wars fans alike!


Star Wars Galactic Snackin’ Grogu Toy


Since its release in 2019, The Mandalorian has dominated pop-culture, with a large part of that being due to the loveable character of Grogu (A.K.A. Baby Yoda). With this toy, kids can play with Grogu and take him on all sorts of playtime adventures.

This toy also includes some great features, such as food for Grogu to eat. With all sorts of sounds and movements, this toy is incredibly fun for everyone!

For years, Star Wars has dominated toy aisles with millions of kids clamoring for Star Wars themed gifts. With the current slate of offerings, there is something for everyone. However, that comes at the cost of being near-overwhelmed with options. With the entries on this list, you can find the perfect gift for the Star Wars fan in your life.


Star Wars Night Light


Lessen going to bed battles with this fantastic Star Wars Night Light! Made with novel 3D technology, these night lights let you change 16 colors and 4 patterns. It comes with a remote that allows control of brightness, and different color changing options like fading and strobe. You can also change these settings using touch control.

This set comes with three different image plates (Death Star, Millennium falcon, R2-D2) - your child can just switch them out to fit their mood!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Air Fryer Churros Recipe

 Air Fryer Churros

Early in the morning, in most towns in Spain, las abuelitas gather in the town squares where they cook and sell their delicious churros. It's something that I miss most about Spain. 

Air Fryer Churros

In the larger cities, you can find churros in the little cafés that are scattered throughout the city. I took the photo above in Zaragoza about five years ago. We were there for a wedding and my dad introduced my two older children to churros. I prefer to just dip my churros in sugar, but my kids went on a sugar overload and enjoyed dipping theirs in chocolate.

At any rate, when I saw this recipe for making churros in the air fryer of all things, I was intrigued. So I'm sharing the recipe here with you in case you are looking for a little adventure to enjoy with your children this holiday season.

Let me know how they turn out for you!


Air Fryer Churros

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 6-8 minutes


Ingredients:

  • ½ + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Caramel sauce, optional
  • Chocolate sauce, optional

Instructions:


Air Fryer Churros


In a medium size pot, add your water, salt, and butter. Bring heat to medium and keep stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the butter is melted. Once melted reduce heat to low.

Air Fryer Churros


Add your flour and keep stirring, to keep the dough smooth, for about 3-5 minutes. 


Air Fryer Churros


Add in your eggs one at the time, and make sure to immediately mix them in well. Remove from heat when the dough is smooth and thickened.


Air Fryer Churros


Put your piping bag in a glass, with the tip folded up, and add your dough to the piping bag. I used a larger churros tip.


Air Fryer Churros


Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might have to work in batches. Use a cooking spray to avoid sticking. Pipe and cut about 8 pieces of churros into your air fryer tray, make sure they have enough space in between. You can make them as long as you wish. I made mine about 1-2 inches long.

Cook the churros for 6-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of your churros) on 370 degrees Fahrenheit. And repeat until you’re out of dough.


Air Fryer Churros


While your churros are cooking, mix your cinnamon and sugar into a bowl (large enough for your churros).


Air Fryer Churros


Dip and roll each churro into the cinnamon sugar. If you like a thicker layer of cinnamon sugar, melt some additional butter and brush it onto the churros first, and then dip into the cinnamon sugar.

Serve warm with caramel or chocolate sauce, if you like.

Click Here to Print Recipe

Enjoy!

Air Fryer Churros

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ways to Nurture Gratefulness in Children


I was super surprised to look back through MommyMaestra and discover that I don't have a post on gratefulness. This year has been a difficult one for my family - especially the last two months. In September, I brought my abuela home on Hospice so that I could care for her and so that she would not die surrounded by strangers who were paid to take care of her.

We celebrated her 93rd birthday here. And I watched as she declined both mentally and physically. This weekend, she passed away.

It was a HUGE lesson in compassion for my kids. And it taught my kids many other important lessons, including gratefulness. They learned to be grateful for family, love, and kindness. Thankful for the support and blessings we received while caring for her - especially from the Hospice provider who worked with us. Thankful for the friends who came to our rescue more than once.

Even though I have always tried to nurture gratefulness in my kids as they were growing up, since the teen years have come around, I've watched them really struggle with being grateful. Instead, I've seen self-criticism, doubt, and anxiety creep in. So while this may have been an extreme way to refocus them on being thankful, it was an opportunity none the less.

It's never too late to try and instill gratefulness in your children. Parents should set an example by always being thankful and encouraging children to give back and be aware of the good things they have been given.

A great way to practice gratitude is through giving thanks in your own life: pray, meditate, count blessings one-by-one, or simply take 10 minutes out of every day to think about those things for which you are grateful.

Teaching children the meaning of gratitude will help them find joy in everyday living and appreciate all they have been given. It will also help them to develop their emotional maturity and harness positive emotions.

Is Appreciation the Same as Gratitude?

There is often confusion regarding the two words "appreciation" and "gratitude." But in essence, they are both similar.

Here's how you can distinguish between the two:

Appreciation means to recognize or admire the positive qualities of someone or something. For example, if your child receives an A on their report card, you might let them know that you appreciate their hard work by congratulating them for doing well.

Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness. You might show appreciation as part of your gratitude. For example, if your child comes home with a report card and you ask them what grade they got, you might say, "I'm so grateful for your hard work. Thank you for always trying your best."

The two overlap in many ways, but essentially, if someone is showing heartfelt appreciation to you, it's because they are feeling grateful.

How Do I Make My Child More Grateful?

If you feel like your child is lacking in gratitude, there are numerous ways you can nurture it. 

Genuine gratitude is one of the most important virtues that people should practice daily. Still, it can be difficult for some people to find within themselves.

This could mean helping them thank someone who has helped them in the past or even taking a walk outside and thanking Mother Nature for all of her beautiful creations.

As a parent, one should make their child aware of these things and encourage them to be grateful for what they have been given, especially the seemingly small things.

Another great way to practice gratitude with your children is to create a welcoming and open environment for them to explore the world around them.

You can do this by always showing them how thankful you are, encouraging them to give back, and being aware of the good things that life has to offer. 

How Do You Nurture an Attitude of Gratitude?

Gratitude is an attitude that can be easily nurtured in children, but it needs to start at home.

Parents often wonder about the best way to teach gratitude to their children. This means coming up with ways to encourage thanking people for what they have done for them instead of getting more things.

Children are very good at taking what they have for granted, simply because it's something they've always had. If your child never knows any different, how do you get them to appreciate what they have?

It really starts by helping your child notice all the good things around them and talking about why having these things makes life better. 

Start small by helping them say thank you when someone does something nice. If your child is old enough, have them write a short note or draw a picture that can be given to someone in appreciation. 

When they receive something new, whether it's a toy or clothing item, encourage them not just to play with it but let them know how special it is because someone was thinking of them when they got it.

You might think that your child isn't capable of being grateful at such a young age, but you'd be surprised by what they can understand.

Here Are Some Great Activities to Nurture Gratefulness in Your Children


Sign Your Children up to Volunteer

Having your child volunteer in their community is a great way to encourage them to be grateful for the things they have.

The act of working with other people will also teach them how to work together and show them that there are always ways to help out others.

Have Your Children Practice Gratitude Daily

It can sometimes seem like a chore for your children to thank their grandparents, parents, teachers, etc., for all they have done. However, digging deep into everyday life will ensure your children never lose sight of the essential things in life.

There are many ways to do this. Here is just one: Even if it's just for a few minutes at night before bedtime, go over what you're grateful for and let your children tell you what they're feeling grateful for, too. 

You could also help your children to start to write in a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is a notebook where they can write down what they are feeling thankful for each day.

Here Are Some Great Books to Nurture Gratefulness in Your Children

It's never too late to try fostering gratefulness in your children. Some great books can help you do just that, and they're listed below.

Gratitude is My Superpower: A children’s book about Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity by Alicia Ortego

The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving by Ellen Sabin

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp

(Also available in Spanish: Gracias Te Damos: Una Ofrenda de Los Nativos Americanos Al Amenecer de Cada Dìa)

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan Berenstain

The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

Nurturing gratitude in children is a quality that many people have a hard time with. It can be difficult to teach them how to find the good things in life and see the blessings they’ve been given because it takes practice, patience, and understanding.

If you want your child to grow up feeling grateful for what they have, make sure you model this behavior yourself by always being thankful and encouraging them of all their gifts as well as appreciating everything around you.

Although it may take some work at first, if done right, practicing gratitude will become second nature over time. So don't give up on teaching your child these important qualities! image source: © Can Stock Photo / Nikki24

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Nacho Aprende, Lee y Colorea

The following is a sponsored post with Nacho Books. All thoughts and opinions are the writer's own.

This review is one of a series of educational books in Spanish available from the new Nacho Books website that shops these popular books across the United States. Find additional reviews in this series here



A Spanish Workbook for PreK - 1st


Nacho Aprende, Lee y Colorea
is a fun 192-page practice book for young children from Nacho Books. At first glance it is a coloring book with an image to color on each page that is identified in Spanish and English. A wonderful way to introduce vocabulary in both languages or for English dominant speakers to learn the Spanish vocabulary. It would also work for Spanish dominant speakers who are younger and working on vocabulary development, hand strength and writing skills. 

The images themselves are cartoons of the items or roles connected to the words themselves. However, those looking for culturally sensitive materials should know that it does have a Eurocentric aesthetic. For example, the image for "Indio" has a boy, that does not have indigenous features, with a headband and three feathers... 


A great feature in this book is that the vowel tracing on the first few pages quickly progresses to full sentences to copy by the end of the book. Each phrase or sentence is written in both print and cursive, which is a nice touch. My son and I compared the two and identified similarities and differences in print and cursive so he could see that cursive doesn’t have to be intimidating.



There is an emphasis on syllable recognition. Syllables are highlighted in the main Spanish vocabulary word on each page, in the phrases, and children are given opportunities to fill in the correct syllable for lists of incomplete words several times throughout the book. The visual cues and repetition take it beyond a simple vocabulary coloring book. There are also word searches throughout to reinforce the vocabulary through play. My son was very excited about the word searches...



This book is a great practice workbook for young learners to build vocabulary, writing skills, motor skills and creative expression.

Click over the Nacho Books to order this and other titles to support your child’s emerging reading and writing in Spanish. 


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Monika Aldarondo is a former arts educator, and current photographer and creative shape-shifter with Puerto Rican roots. She posts about her bilingual home/un-schooling journey on Instagram @librolovinmama. Her photography and creative projects can be found at laancla.com.

Monday, November 8, 2021

The Mega List of Spanish Comics for Kids



The following is a guest post by Vanessa Ruiz from Families Embracing Diversity. This post contains affiliate links.

You probably know by now that homeschooling isn’t for the faint of heart, especially if you are trying to do it bilingually. Reading comics and graphic novels in Spanish may be just what you need to keep the routine fun and your kids engaged. Here are some of our favorites:

Comics and Graphic Novels in Spanish (originally written in Spanish)


Domingo Teporingo by Marcos Almada Rivero
Ages 8-10

This is a four-part series (Verano, Otoño, Invierno, and Primavera) about a rabbit who lives in the forest near Popocatépetl, a volcano in Mexico. Readers follow the rabbit on his adventures, alongside his friends, throughout the changing seasons.


Mortadelo y Filemón by Francisco Ibáñez
Ages 7+

These comics were first published in 1958. There is even a 60-year anniversary edition that gives us a glimpse of the characters sixty years later.

The series tells of Mortadelo and Filemón, two awkward secret agents, and their work in the T.I.A. (a play off of the C.I.A). However, their crime fighting adventures rarely go as planned, leaving readers laughing and eager to read more.

This comic was originally written in Spanish but became so famous that it has been translated into twelve different languages.


13, Rue del Percebe by Francisco Ibáñez
Ages 7+

This comic is by the same author as the last but it isn’t quite as well known. 13, Rue del Percebe is based around a drawing of an apartment building. You get an inside look at all of people who live inside the apartment building going about their every-day lives... and sometimes doing not so everyday things.


La Matadragones by Jamie Hernandez
Ages 8+

This graphic novel was released in both English and Spanish but since it is based upon Latin American tales, I put it in the originally written in Spanish category. “La Matadragones” or the Dragon Killer, takes classic tales from Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada and gives them a modern-day spin.


Zipi y Zape by José Escobar
Ages 7+

This is a Spanish comic that was first released in 1948. It tells the story of two mischievous twins and the turmoil they create wherever they go. The series was so popular that there are several movies, a TV series, and even video games based on the characters.



Liniers (AKA Ricardo Siri)
Ages 4+ (depending on the title)

This is the name of the artist instead of the comic itself because he has many great titles to choose from but they aren’t presented in a series like many of the other authors listed. Liniers is an Argentine comic artist who has been publishing comics since 1997. Some of his famous works are:

Macanudo- a daily comic strip originally published in Argentine newspapers but quickly gained fame world wide.

Conejo de Viaje- the animated stories of Liniers, represented by a rabbit, traveling throughout France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Antarctica.

El Globo Grande y Mojado- The story of two children out exploring the fun side of a rainy day.

Buenas Noches, Planeta- An imaginative tale about the adventures of a child’s stuffed animal, Planeta, after the child goes to sleep.

Escrito y Dibujado por Enriqueta- A young girl’s experience writing her first book.



Pafman by Cera and Ramis
Ages 7+

This Spanish comic series is a great one for superhero fans. However, this superhero is not your typical muscular, bad guy beating, macho man. Instead, he is clumsy and looks nothing like a superhero. However, he and his side kick, a talking cat/inventor, do everything they can to save the world from evil.


Mafalda by Quino
Ages 7+

This comic was written by another Argentine creator, Quino. Malfalda is the story of a six year old girl with a big personality. The first Mafalda comic was published in 1964 in an Argentine magazine, revealing this six year old girl’s comic interpretation of the adult world. Mafalda quickly became well-known and loved throughout the world.




Translated Comics and Graphic Novels in Spanish


Hombre Perro (Dog Man) Series by Dav Pilkey
Ages 6-12

This series is the story of a literal Dog-Man who has the head of a dog and the body of a police man. The conjoined pair solve crimes and get into some funny situations. The pages are filled with child-friendly humor, puns and word play that will make both you and your child smile. At the moment, there are ten books in the Dog Man series and most have been translated into Spanish.


Capitan Calzoncillos by Dav Pilkey
Ages 7-10

This is another ten part series by Dav Pilkey that has been translated into Spanish. In this series, two kids hypnotize their school principal and turn him into a superhero- Captain Underpants. With corny jokes, potty humor and pranks galore, it may be just the series you need to get your reluctant reader hooked on a book.


Zita la Viajera Espacial by Ben Hatke
Ages 9-12

When Zita’s best friend is abducted by aliens, she heads into space to save the day. To her own surprise, she becomes a space super hero, fighting aliens of all kinds to save her friend. The space creatures will keep a smile on your face while the adventure keeps you wanting to read more.

This book is also part of a series. The next two are Zita, la Leyenda and Zita, el Retorno.


El Temerario Jack by Ben Hatke
Ages 8-12

This series is by the same author as Zita. In fact there is even a book with Jack and Zita together. The story tells of a young boy Jack, who trades his mom’s car for a box of seeds. When he plants the seeds, he gets a garden full of aliens and the crazy adventures begin.

As you may have guessed, this is a modern day spin off of Jack and the Beanstalk mixed with a little bit of science fiction.


Astérix by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
Ages 7-12

This series has also been around for more than 60 years with 39 different volumes. Although it was originally a French series, it is has since been translated into over 100 languages.

The series tells of Asterix, a small but strong warrior from Gaul, defending his village from the Roman Empire alongside his friends. They work together to beat the impossible odds and keep everyone safe.


El Club de las Baby-Sitters (The Baby-Sitters Club) by Raina Telgemeier/Ann M. Martin
Ages 7-11

These graphic novels are a modern day version of Ann Martin’s series the Baby-Sitters Club, which was wildly popular in the 90’s. At the moment, there are four graphic novels in this new series but more of the 130 original novels are set to be converted into graphic novels in the coming years.

The Baby-Sitters Club is about a group of friends who run a babysitting business in their community. The stories show the ups and downs of running their business and prove that with determination and perseverance, you can create something big.


Fantasmas by Raina Telgemeier
Ages 8-12

Really, any translated graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier is bound to be a great read. This one tells of a family who moved to northern California to give the youngest child a better life with her cystic fibrosis. Come to find out, Day of the Dead is a big deal in this new community and it ends up being just what both sisters need to come to terms with their new reality. Some of her other popular titles are DramaSisters, and Smile.



Cuando Brillan Las Estrellas: Una Novela Gráfica Necesaria by Victoria Jamieson
Ages 9-12

This book tells the tale of two brothers growing up together in a refugee camp. They face constant struggles- not enough food, not much to do, and no medical care. Yet, they are able to create a sense of family despite their difficult situation. This story has the perfect mix of heartbreak, hope and humor.


Perdidos en NYC by Nadja Spiegelman
Ages 8-12

Pablo, a young boy, gets separated from his classmates in New York City. At first he isn’t sure how he will ever find them again but thanks to some basic knowledge of the city and a new friend he meets along the way, his story has a happy ending.


El Cartero del Espacio by Guillaume Perreault
Ages 8-11

A postman gets a new route that takes him much further than he’s ever gone before- to space! However, he is dedicated to his job and will do whatever it takes to get his packages delivered, even if it means a crazy outer space adventure to unknown planets.


Super Sorda by Cece Bell
Ages 8-10

In this graphic novel, the author tells her story of losing her hearing and using a hearing aide. The device helps her hear everything she needs to, and some things she doesn’t, but it also makes her feel like an outcast. Eventually, she finds a way to use what made her feel different to find her place among her peers.


Where to Find Comics and Graphic Novels in Spanish


Your Local Library

Although we don’t all live in diverse areas with lots of Spanish options at the local library, most libraries have a program where you can check out books from any of the libraries within their network, often called inter-library loan.

Which means, even if you local library has a dismal Spanish section, you may be able to check out Spanish language books anyway. You can often find what is available through the library’s website or by asking a librarian.

TOON Graphics
Toon Graphics has a plethora of leveled readers in graphic novel form to help your new reader gain confidence in their reading abilities while having fun. They have an entire section dedicated to graphic novels that have been translated into Spanish.

Amazon.com
As you can see by the links above, all of these titles are available on Amazon.com.

Bookshop.com
This online bookstore supports local book stores with each purchase. So, you can still shop local online. You can also find the majority of the titles listed above on their website.


Hopefully, now that you have this giant list of comics and graphic novels in Spanish and know where to find them, you and your child can spend hours reading, and laughing, in Spanish together.


image source: © Can Stock Photo / studiostoks

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Vanessa Ruiz is a mother of two bilingual boys, former Spanish teacher and early childhood educator turned writer. She also runs the website, Families Embracing Diversity, a resource to help families learn to embrace our differences today in order to give our children a better tomorrow.

In her spare time she enjoys reading books on diversity and culture, traveling when possible with her family and friends, and spending time outdoors.

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