Lost in translation: The search for quality diverse books for kids
“¡Léales a sus niños!” “Read to your kids!” That’s the mantra parents hear more and more often. With educators and researchers urging us to read with our children, and then read some more, there is increasing demand in the United States for children’s books in languages other than English. Finding good translations of English-language classics and quality books in original non-English languages – like regional Spanish, Hindi or German, for example – is challenging. This matters to educators who say young children need to read and hear language-rich stories to expand their vocabulary and engage with characters in settings they recognize. And it matters to public schools expanding their dual-language programs and to parents working to raise bilingual children.
The picture is changing, however, because of the efforts of some very dedicated writers and performers, teachers, publishers and book sellers. Different cultural traditions are being recognized and celebrated, and the oral tradition of telling stories, which is prevalent in many countries, is finding a home in U.S. schools. In this program, KPCC’s Early Childhood Development Correspondent, Deepa Fernandes, welcomes to the Crawford Family Forum some of those in the forefront of this change. We’ll talk about what’s on the horizon, hear readings from some of the best of these children’s books, and be treated to some wonderful, infectious music! Bring your family! ¡Venga con toda la familia!
Deepa Fernandes: KPCC’s Early Childhood Development Correspondent
René Colato Lainez: Salvadoran teacher and writer of multicultural children’s books. He says, “My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children's literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future.”
Celene Navarrete: co-founder with Chiara Arroyo of LA Librería, a new Mid-City store specializing in Spanish-language books for children. They couldn’t believe the lack locally of good, Spanish-language literature for children and so they traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Spain to find these books and bring them back to their shop.
Luis Orozco: artist manager with Academia Cultural, representing many of the Spanish-language writers bringing these stories to our kids.
Jose Luis Orozco: bilingual educator and the “Pied Piper” who brings rich Latin American culture to kids in the United States through his children’s books and exciting music that will make your kids sing, dance, clap, and laugh while learning basic language and literacy skills.
Sara Quintanar: educator, singer, song writer who is the founder of Music With Sara, which provides bilingual music, classes, and performance in the Los Angeles area; her first bilingual children's book in Spanish, “Mamá te quiero mucho - Mami, I Love You So Much,” is available this month.
A selection of books will be available for sale courtesy of LA Librería.