[Library Media] Books in Spanish
jtlee at utah.gov
Wed Mar 11 12:44:05 MDT 2015
You have discovered one of my biggest complaints with vendors of Spanish
books in the US: They seem to carry a lot of the "best seller" translations
from originals in English but hardly any literature originally created in
Spanish. Some of us believe that a balanced collection that includes both
translations and lots of originals (aka "culturally authentic and
linguistically relevant literature") would serve our students and families
To really get originals in Spanish (and Portuguese, Chinese, etc.) you will
have to work hard and you will have to deal with smaller vendors
(distributors, presses, bookstores, etc). If you rely strictly on your
"traditional" vendors (like Follet, Ingram, Scholastic, Baker & Taylor,
etc.) you will end up with a "plain vanilla" collection with lots of
translations of English originals.
One place to look for "culturally authentic" Latino/Hispanic children's
literature in the US is the State Library web page:
Look at the annotated list and download the Excel file with the database.
You can sort the table (or better yet use Filters) and look for Bilingual
and Spanish editions. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- These are titles recognized annually by the Americas Award, Pura Belpre
Award, and the Tomas Rivera Award.
- Most of these items are in English, so look for the bilingual titles.
- There are some middle school chapter books and some YA titles, but the
majority are picture books.
- Don't dismiss the picture books right away thinking "That's too young for
my students." The stories and the quality of the literature just might be
the right fit for your 7-8th graders.
A couple of other things to consider:
- Collection development cannot be an isolated activity and the librarian
must reach out to the teachers and faculty and understand the requirements
of the curriculum to get the most pressing items first (assuming you do not
have all the money you need to build a comprehensive collection all at
- Building the "foreign language" collection must be a multi-year
commitment and each year you fine tune your purchases and discards.
- Make the smaller vendors and local reps work for you. In Utah, we are
very lucky to have some dedicated and friendly local reps and vendors who
are willing to do searches for you in their own catalogs and make
suggestions from their stock. Ask them to compile lists for you and then
you can select and purchase from them the best of their holdings.
Now, if you are REALLY serious about building a truly original collection,
attending the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico in the Fall is
a must. ALA has a special program for US librarians and the trip is cheaper
than attending an ALA conference in the US. But this is the topic for
Please give me a call if you'd like to chat some more about this. But be
warned, I often get too excited about the topic and can't shut up! :-)
*Juan Tomás Lee*, Library Development Manager
Utah *State Library* Division
250 N 1950 W Suite A
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
801-715-6769 | 800-662-9150 | jtlee at utah.gov
On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 11:35 AM, Marney Zambrano <
mzambrano at tooeleschools.org> wrote:
> Lisa, I forwarded your message to one of our district ESL teachers
> because she may have better ideas than I do. Have you already asked Juan
> Lee at the State Library for suggestions? Just in case you haven’t, I’m
> forwarding this to him, too. If you think you’d like to read it, I can
> e-mail you a list of all the Spanish and bi-lingual titles we have in our
> collection here at Harris Elementary in Tooele. Let me know. Good luck! I’m
> in a similar boat. We have Dual Immersion Portuguese 1st graders at
> Harris this year, and so far I have not been very successful at finding
> many sources for Brazilian Portuguese books.
> Marney Zambrano aka MeZ
> Harris Elementary Library
> Tooele, UT
> *From:* library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] *On
> Behalf Of *Lisa Morey
> *Sent:* Monday, March 09, 2015 5:09 PM
> *To:* library-media at lists.uen.org
> *Subject:* [Library Media] Books in Spanish
> Hello Colleagues,
> Next year, my middle school will receive the first of our district's
> Spanish Immersion students. My Principal has allocated some funds for me
> to improve my Spanish language book collection in my library. (We also have
> a large population of Spanish ELL students) A cursory search through the
> Follett catalogue showed a lot of American classics that have been
> translated into Spanish, (Jacob Have I Loved, Tuck Everlasting) Orca
> Publishers offer a number of titles in Spanish, and the trendy books (Wimpy
> Kid, Twilight, Harry Potter) are there, but I need more direction in
> selecting appropriate, engaging texts.
> Anyone out there with advice? Title ideas are as welcome as resources to
> help me choose. I don't want to waste this precious grant money on books I
> like that might not fit well with these students.
> Lisa Morey
> Media Specialist
> West Jordan Middle School
> (internal extension 2180)
> Google can bring back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the
> right one.
> ~Neil Gaiman~
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