Monday, January 13, 2020

Mo Willems Libros

The holidays are over and I wanted to kick off the year with some of our favorite books to read aloud,  which happens to be anything written by Mo Willems. His books are made for that read aloud experience, with audience interaction and the opportunity to do some fun voices for the characters. These books are great for emerging Spanish speakers because the text is simple and so engaging. My kids fall into that emerging category so books in Spanish with long text don’t hold their attention well, but they are happy to sit and listen to any book by Mo Willems in Spanish because the vocabulary is right at their level and they are entertained by my crazy voices. Here are some of the ones that we have been reading this month and are tried and true:

Elefante y Cerdita Series

1. Estamos en un libro: This was the first book we read by Mo Willems in Spanish and it was such a huge hit I had to go clear out the library of all the other Spanish books by the same author. In this book Elefante y Cerdita realize they are inside a book and can make the author say whatever they want. However, our characters are soon gripped with fear as they also realize that books end and their future is uncertain. 

2. Hoy volaré: Cerdita is determined to fly, and Elefante tries to keep his friend from being disappointed by that fact that pigs can’t fly, at least without a little help. Check out out how Cerdita beats the odds and shows Elefante what’s up.

3. ¿Debo compartir mi helado?: This one had me laughing and also tells a story that many young readers can relate to. Elefante has an intense internal struggle over whether he should share his ice cream with his best friend, Cerdita, until time makes the decision for him.

4. ¡Un tipo grande se llevó mi pelota!: This book is so adorable, and a great one for teaching about making assumptions. Cerdita finds a pelota and is upset when un tipo grande takes it away. Turns out the tipo grande, a whale, returns and says thank you for finding his ball. Then the whale explains that no one ever wants to play with him because he’s so big, and the friends invent a game that will include him.

5. ¿Puedo jugar yo también?: I love this one most of all I think because it feels like the perfect segue to teaching kids about how to include kids with a disability. A snake wants to play catch with Elefante y Cerdita, but doesn’t have any arms, shocker! The friends, after a lot of trial and error, find a way to play together and everyone has a blast. This one just touched my heart so much because my oldest son was born with mild-moderate hearing loss and uses hearing aids. He doesn’t have many limitations, but he hates unexpected, loud noise, because the hearing aids will amplify the sound. This one is a must-have for the classroom!

Paloma Series

1. ¡No dejes que la paloma conduzca el autobús!: The first time I heard this story was in college, when my roommate, a kindergarten teacher, read it to me in her crazy teacher voice and I just died laughing. It is equally hilarious in Spanish and is so engaging for the kids. Throughout the story the Paloma will use all manner of persuasion to try and convince the audience to let it drive the bus, to which the children always respond, “NO!”.

2. La paloma necesita un baño: This story is so perfect for when your kids go through that anti bath phase, which they all do. La Paloma reacts the same way most kids too, trying to convince us that they are clean, that baths are a waste of time, yet once they finally get in they are happy little fishies playing and splashing everywhere.

3. La paloma encuentra un perro caliente: La Paloma is about to chow down on a delicious perro caliente, until una patita launches an inquisition about what a hot dog tastes like. Throughout the exchange, la Paloma consistently reiterates the fact that this hot dog is theirs, until the very end when finally convinced to share half with la patita.

El Conejito Knuffle Series

1. El conejito Knuffle: This is a more traditional story compared to the previous two series, but is just as popular with the kids. The main character, Trixie, realizes that she left her precious conejito Knuffle at the lavandería but cannot communicate well enough to express her lament. Kids love this book because whoever is reading the story aloud is forced to speak frustrated baby talk. I also love the illustrations! They are mixed media illustrations with the characters drawn onto black and white photos of the scene.

There are two sequels to this book but unfortunately they are not available in Spanish, booooo. But, because we try to do about 50/50 of English and Spanish around here I will share the English sequels in case you’re interested.

2. Knuffle Bunny Too: Our main character has grown and now attends school, where she brings along her Knuffle bunny for show and tell. To her dismay, Sonja also has a Knuffle bunny and they get into an argument over how to correctly pronounce the bunnies’ names. At the end of the day both girls realize they went home with the wrong bunnies and meet in the middle of the night to make the exchange.

3. Knuffle Bunny Free: This third book so beautifully wraps up the series and gave me some major mommy feels about the idea of my kids growing up. Trixie embarks on a trip to Holland, with her parents, to visit her Oma and Opa. Once they arrive in Holland, Trixie realizes that she left Knuffle Bunny on the plane and goes through the motions of accepting that her life must go on without her friend. On the trip home she finds Knuffle Bunny once again tucked away in the seat back storage, but upon hearing the cries of a baby behind her, decides to give her precious bunny to the screaming child.

There are MANY more books by Mo Willems, so I will add to this post as we get our hands on more Spanish editions. Which Mo Willems’ books are family favorites in your home or classroom?

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