Judy Martialay has a passion for languages. Specifically, she has a passion to teach children from ages 6-10 that learning Spanish is fun and rewarding.
¡HOLA!, Martialay’s first book, includes a fun story written in English with key words in Spanish, a song, a skit, background information about the cultural context, an art activity, and a dictionary. The material is supplemented by an audio version which parents and educators can download online. Simple, colorful illustrations by the author amplify the content and engage readers in the story. The combination of these activities makes this an attractive classroom or homeschool book.
When I received my review copy, I first thought I’d pass the book along to my daughter, Lisa Edgar, who teaches middle and high school Spanish. I envisioned she would eventually use it to introduce Eleanor, my youngest granddaughter, to Spanish.
But when my seven-year-old granddaughter, Caitlin Kasten, announced she loved Spanish, I thought ¡HOLA! might supplement her introduction to the language.
Caitlin is reading above her second grade level so I let her try reading the book herself. Unfortunately, that was frustrating since she’s only just begun to learn Spanish. She enjoyed listening to me read (although Lisa later told me my accent was awful), was disappointed that there wasn’t a second story in the book, and wanted to make the mask. Her four-year-old sister was drawn in by the illustrations and listened attentively while we waited to be served at a favorite restaurant.
|Libbie and Caitlin enjoyed the story of Panchito, the Mexican jumping bean.|
After showing the book to Libbie and Caitlin, I next asked Lisa for her impressions. She said it would be a cool book for students at the elementary school level. She liked how the reader was introduced to the meanings of different vocabulary words and how Spanish words replaced the English in the text and was bolded to further capture the student's attention. “The repetition of Spanish helps a child remember the words. The multiple opportunities for kids to see words in context is also good,” Lisa said. As a teacher, she thought that using words found at home or in the supermarket was attractive.
Eleanor listening to ¡HOLA! for the first time.
I finally decided that the book is making it’s first home with Caitlin. I asked her to share it with her Spanish teacher and I'm sure she'll soon learn to read the story on her own. ¡HOLA! will get passed down to Libbie and since it is part of the Cousins Club collection, it’ll eventually be back in Eleanor’s hands.
And who knows? If her mommy starts talking Spanish to her soon, she’ll be reading it to her grandmother one day—with a better accent than I can ever manage!
Judy is working on a book to introduce children to French, BONJOUR! LET'S LEARN FRENCH, featuring Louis l'escargot, France's favorite snail. Like ¡HOLA! it will include a story, activities, culture, song, and craft: How to make an impressionist style painting/picture. She also hopes to publish similiar books in Chinese, Arabic, and Italian.
Sydney Kirsch, last week's blog guest, agreed to keep us posted on the progress of her NaNoWriMo book. Here is her conclusion from last week:
"Awful writing can be fixed... nonexistent writing can't."
Word count as of 12:08 AM November 13, 2016: 30,091.