for Young Readers | Professional
(provided by the editorial staff of
EMME unless indicated otherwise)
for Young Readers
Argueta, Jorge &
Gomez, Elizabeth (illustrator). (2001). A Movie in My Pillow.
San Francisco, CA: Children's Book. 31 pp., ISBN: 0-89239-165-0
(hc), $15.95 (ages 6 & up).
This collection of poems
depicts the confusion and delight that a young boy
experienced while immigrating to the United States
during the Salvadoran Civil War. These colorful poems
are accompanied by equally colorful and beautiful
illustrations. Each poem is presented in both Spanish
and English. Among issues the author, Argueta, covered
regarding his immigration to the USA from El Salvador,
the topics of language and identity are specifically
nested in his poems, "Neighborhood of Sun," "A Voice
From Home," and "Language of the Birds." The
juxtaposition of two languages will benefit both English
speakers and Spanish speakers in understanding the poems
in their own language as well in exploring them with a
Cox, Brenda S.
(1995). Who Talks Funny? A Book About Languages for Kids.
North Haven, CT: Shoe String Press. 211 pp., ISBN:
0-208-02378-X (hc), $25.00 (ages 12 & up).
This non-fiction book for
middle and high school students is a perfect resource
for reports, speeches and projects. The author exposes
many fascinating facts about language, linguistic
variety, political implications of language, grammar
and more that will spark the interest of readers.
Additional features of this book add to its usability
such as appendices on "Words in Many Languages," a
glossary of over 80 important linguistic terms, and
further resources that point readers to other
language-related publications. This book will also be a
valuable resource for teachers of foreign languages,
social studies and language art. With a focus on both
language and culture this lends itself as a
multidisciplinary tool to inform and motivate students
about language and linguistic diversity.
Giff, Patricia R.
& DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne (Illustrator). (1995). Say Hola, Sarah.
New York: Yearling Books. 86 pp., ISBN: 0-836-82050-9 (hc),
$22.60 (ages 9-12).
Sarah Cole is finding it
hard to balance her time for the demands of the upcoming
Columbus Day celebrations are pulling her in all
directions. Should she spend time working on her school
report about Columbus with Benjamin Bean or find the
time to continue working on her Spanish notebook with
Anna Ortiz, her best friend? Soon, Sarah finds she has
no choice when Anna's cousin comes to visit and Anna
spends all her time with her cousin instead of Sarah.
Finally, Sarah understands why Anna's cousin needs so
much of Anna's time because she is having a hard time
learning to speak English. Just like Sarah is
struggling to speak Spanish! This delightful story will
help readers understand the intensity and efforts that
need to go into learning a new language.
Herrera, Juan F.
& DeLucio-Brock, Anita (illustrator). (2002). Grandma and Me
at the Flea. San Francisco, CA: Children's Book Press. 31
pp., ISBN: 0-89239-171-5 (hc), $15.95 (ages 6 & up).
Every Sunday Juanito helps
his grandma sell old clothes at the remate (the
flea market), where he and his friends take part in
helping and sharing grandma's vision of the flea market
as a community. Juanito and his friends run from booth
to booth giving grandma's healing herb to vendors, and
they receive a sack of chilies for their efforts. They
then stop at the jewelry booth and are given a copper
bracelet for grandma because she had helped the jewelry
vendor send money orders home to Mexico. With bright
beautiful illustrations and bilingual text (English &
Spanish) this book tells the wonderful story of what it
means to give and receive.
Herrera, Juan F.
& Gomez, Elizabeth (illustrator). (2000). The Upside Down Boy.
San Francisco, CA: Children's Book. 31 pp., ISBN: 0-89239-162-6
(hc), $15.95 (ages 6 & up).
Jaunito and his family move
to the big city when Juanito turns eight years old. It
is time for him to begin going to school, but Juanito is
confused by his new school and misses life in the fields
working as a campesino (farm laborers).
Everything he does feels upside down. He eats lunch at
recess and plays when it is time for lunch. The hardest
thing is that his tongue feels like a rock when he tries
to speak English and he wonders if "I see a row of
alphabet letters." "If I learn them," he asks, "will
they grow like seeds?" Through the sensitivity of a
caring teacher and the his loving family, he finds that
his ability to express himself does grow like a seed as
he begins to explore language through music, poetry and
art. Beautiful illustration and bilingual (English &
Spanish) text add to the value of this book.
Hunter, Sarah H. & Miner,
Julia (illustrator). (1996). The Unbreakable Code.
Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon Publications. 29 pp., ISBN:
0-87358-638-7 (hc), $15.95 (ages 6 & up).
Learn about the daring
Navajos, who during World War II devised an unbreakable
code from their language, in this story of love and
sharing between a grandfather and his grandson. John,
the grandson, is scared for he will be leaving the
reservation for the first time in his life. His
grandfather helps him to realize that this will be all
right and that he will have some very special things to
take with him on his journey. His grandfather then
shares his own story of developing the secret code for
the US military and acting as a "code talker" during
World War II. What will John take with him as he leaves
the reservation? The Navajo Language, faith and
ingenuity! The story provides valuable information on
Navajo's contribution to the US history.
Levine, Ellen &
Bjorkman, Steve (illustrator). (1999). I Hate English.
New York: Scholastic. 30 pp., ISBN: 0-785-76832-7 (hc), $13.85
Mei Mei does not want to
learn English. Having just moved to New York City from
Hong Kong, she misses home and is resentful of her new
surroundings. At school she does not speak at all and
in her after-school learning center she even refuses to
speak English. Mei Mei is paired up with Nancy, a
tutor, who is going to help her learn English. When Mei
Mei continues to refuse to speak, Nancy takes her for a
walk through Chinatown and talks to her without asking
her to speak. When Mei Mei gets tired of hearing Nancy
talk "twenty-two minutes" straight, she begins to talk
to Nancy, breaking her long silence. This story
identifies with those language learners who need to
listen to a new language before attempting to speak.
The wonderful watercolor illustrations are a great
addition to the book.
Luenn, Nancy & Chapman, Robert
(illustrator). (1998). A Gift for Abuelita: Celebrating the
Day of the Dead. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon Publications.
269 pp., ISBN: 0-87358-688-3 (hc), $15.95 (ages 5-8).
This beautifully illustrated
bilingual (English & Spanish) book is based on the
Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. After Rosita
loses her abuelita (grandmother), she is
devastated. Her family cannot find words to comfort her
until her grandfather explains that she can show her
abuelita how much she misses her by making her a
gift to give on the Day of the Dead. Rosita does not
know what to make for her abuelita. Then she
remembers making tortillas with abuelita, while
singing their song "What do my hands say? Pla-Pla-Pla...,."
Howerver, tortillas would not do and Rosita still
struggles with choosing a gift for her grandmother.
Finally she makes her abuelita a braid with a
"cord...too strong to be broken" representing their
love. This multicultural story could be easily
introduced in a language arts lesson focusing on family,
aging, and intergenerational interaction.
Mora, Pat &
Colon, Raul (illustrator). (1997). Tomas and the Library Lady.
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. 28 pp., ISBN: 0-679-80401-3 (hc),
$17.00 (ages 4-8).
Based on the life of writer
Tomas Rivera, this book tells the story of an uprooted
child who finds a home in the library. Tomas, the son
of migrant farm workers, spends every summer in Iowa and
every winter in Texas. During one of his summers in
Iowa, Thomas' grandfather encourages him to become the
family's storyteller because the family was getting
tired of all of grandfather's stories. So, Tomas goes
to the library, where he meets the library lady. She
encourages him throughout the summer to explore the
library and, when she has time, she teaches him English
and he teachers her Spanish. Sadly, the summer comes to
an end and it is time for Tomas to leave the town. When
he goes to say Adios to the library lady, they
exchange gifts, a book for Tomas and sweet bread for the
library lady. This moving story will touch the hearts
of any child who has found comfort and sanctuary at the
Nagda, Anne W. & Roth, Stephanie (illustrator). (2000).
Dear Whiskers. New York, NY: Holiday House. 64 pp., ISBN:
0-823-41495-7 (hc), $15.95 (ages 9-12).
When Jenny discovers that
her creative writing pen pal is not writing back to her
because she knows very little English, she becomes
discouraged with the whole project. With encouragement
from her teacher and her pen pal's teacher, Jenny spends
time helping Sameera, her pen pal, learn English, hoping
that this will lead to a return letter from her. Jenny
comes to understand that moving to a new country and
learning a new language are not easy tasks. Ultimately,
Jenny gets creative and finds a very appetizing way to
connect with Sameera, which gets her to finally begin
writing letters back to Jenny. This wonderful story
helps youngsters understand some of the challenges of
learning English as a second language.
(1996). Don't Call Me Slob-O. New York: Hyperion. 70 pp.,
ISBN: 0-786-81044-0 (pb), $3.95 (ages 8-12).
Being different is not fun!
Both Shrimp and Slobodan realize this through their
interactions with other boys at school. Shrimp (Filomeno)
must choose between doing the right thing or being
popular when Slob-O (Slobodan) is placed in his class.
Slobodan, a recent immigrant to America, must learn how
to survive being different, especially with regard to
language. Slobodan is placed in a classroom that is two
grade levels below where he should be, so he, as Mrs.
Ortiz explains, is to "learn English. And he can do
that more easily in this class." So not only does
Slobodan have to deal with the difficulties of learning
a new language but he must now learn how to deal with
the differences in age and maturity of his classmates.
This insightful story sheds light on how the placement
of ESL students can help and hinder their development in
(1998). Aekyung's Dream (revised edition). San Francisco,
CA: Children's Book. 22 pp., ISBN: 0-892-39042-5 (School &
Library Binding), $14.95 (ages 4-8).
This bilingual (English &
Korean) book beautifully portrays the struggle one girl
faces in coming to terms with her new cultural
surroundings, especially language. Aekyung, after six
months in America, can speak only a small amount of
English and her classmates' teasing persists. After a
vivid dream one night and a visit from her Aunt, Aekyung
begins to find a balance in her life between her new
language and native Korean Language. This wonderful
story illustrates hopefulness for a balance between the
old and the new. This rarer side-by-side display of
English and Korean is a valuable bilingual resource.
& Lowry, Judith (illustrator). (1998). Home to Medicine
Mountain. San Francisco, CA: Children's Book. 31 pp., ISBN:
0-89239-155-3 (hc), $15.95 (ages 6 & up).
Based on a true story, this
book shares an often untold piece of American history.
For generations many Native American families were
forced to send their children to government-run Indian
residential schools that made them unlearn their Indian
ways. At these schools, Native Americans were forbidden
to speak their native languages. This story follows the
events of Benny Len and Stanley during the year that
they attended a boarding school before returning home
for the summer. The illustrations add to the mood of
this book, with rich earthy colors and great detail paid
to many Native American symbols.
Baugh, John. (2000). Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic pride and
racial prejudice. New York: Oxford University. 149
pp., ISBN: 0-195-12046-9 (hc), $35.00.
"Why now a book on Ebonics?"
(p. vii), begins Dell Hymes, a distinguished linguist,
in the Foreword to Beyond Ebonics. Despite the
time gap between the Ebonics debate at the Oakland's
School District, which started in 1996, and the
publication of this book, the value of this
manageably-sized book is immense. The author,
African-American sociolinguist whose expertise lies in
the study of Ebonics, provides an informative account of
the genesis of the term, Ebonics, which was initially
coined by Robert Williams in 1973 to refer to "the
linguistic and paralinguistic consequence of the African
slave trade" in West Africa, Caribbean, and the U. S.
(p. 16). The original intent of the internationally
based linguistic nomenclature has been distorted and
misrepresented by media, politicians, educators, and the
general public during the national controversy. Ebonics
was readily referred to as "incorrect" and "broken"
street English and slang of "Blacks." While recognizing
Ebonics as "nonstandard English," the author takes a
painstaking effort to explain how Ebonics has developed
in slave communities linguistically isolated from the
mainstream speakers of Standard English and how it
represents a rule-governed linguistic system. The
author's belief in the value of learning and teaching
Standard English is well balanced with his sympathetic
understanding of Oakland's educators who want to use
Ebonics as a bridge to the instruction of Standard
English. Reminding the readers that the distinction
between standard and nonstandard dialects is
socio-politically motivated, this accomplished
sociologist takes us through the process of separating
the linguistic and educational issues from the
socio-political discourse of Ebonics, some sprung out of
benign ignorance and others grounded on linguistic
prejudice and racism. The author ultimately presses a
fundamental question of how to educate children who are
disadvantaged because of their cultural and linguistic
heritage. He pleads for enhanced linguistic tolerance
by which these children could learn Standard English
without feeling ashamed and demeaned. While the reading
may become dry at times due to legal details, this book
provides an excellent balanced perspective of Ebonics
Ofelia B. Nadeau, Adel, & Commins, Nancy L. (1997).
Restructuring Schools for Linguistic Diversity: Linking Decision
Making to Effective Programs. New York: Teachers College.
315 pp., ISBN: 0-80773-603-1 (pb), $23.95.
The distinctiveness of this
book lies in the true integration of theory and
practice. Grounded on the premise that the primary
language supports second language acquisition and
cognitive development of ESL students, the authors
provide a clear, and useful, conceptual framework of
language development to educational decision makers who
are in the position of restructuring schools to
accommodate linguistic diversity effectively. They
believe any school could make sound educational
decisions regardless of its resources and personnel. In
more practical chapters, four "program categories" are
offered as options: (1) "full primary language
foundation" that provides literacy and content area
instruction in students' primary language; (2) "primary
language support--literacy only" that is used to
"develop strong basic literacy and academic thinking
skills" (p. 73); (3) "primary language content
reinforcement--no literacy" that is used to "develop an
understanding of the significant ideas related to
content knowledge" (p. 73); and (4) "all-English" that
provides all instruction in English "with little or no
opportunity to use the primary language in school" (p.
74). Category I would be appropriate for schools that
have ample resources for primary language development
while Category 4 could be used by schools with limited
resources and personnel who speak students' primary
languages. In the decision making process the authors
suggest that factors of primary and second language
development, curriculum and content development,
assessment, and community outreach be carefully
considered. The last section of the book demonstrates
how their theoretical framework could be put into
practice in three case studies--two hypothetical and one
real. Readers are invited to participate in the
decision making process with the staff of the two
hypothetical cases. The actual case study illustrates
the possibility of methodical restructuring of a school
that successfully embraced linguistic diversity of
students. This book would be an excellent resource for
administrators who are serious about bringing successful
educational experiences to students of other languages.
(Ed.). (2000). Language Crossings: Negotiating the Self in a
Multicultural World. New York: Teachers College. 180
pp., ISBN: 0-80773-998-7 (pb), $22.95.
This collection of 25
"language autobiographies" provides accessible reading.
Grouped in five categories, the narratives regarding
language and identity speak of a wide range of topics:
from the negotiation of identities in the process of
learning a new language, to the discovery of new
cultural connectedness with parents or grandparents by
learning their native languages, to difficulties of
learning different languages, to polyglots' "obsession"
with learning different languages, to insightful
intercourse between language learning and cultural
identity. Although the authors are not all native
speakers/writers of English, the shared language is
English, which symbolizes the widespread phenomenon of
English as lingua franca. Albeit deficiency in
theoretical discourse, these narratives of language
learning, embedded in the profound question of identity
formation and negotiation, provide great insight to our
understanding of the process of learning a new language:
English for non-English speakers, other ("foreign")
languages for English speakers, and American Sign
Language for deaf persons. They provide excellent case
study materials to students of second language
acquisition and cross-cultural studies.
Alistair, (1996). The Cultural Politics of English as an
International Language. New York: Addison-Wesley. 376
pp., ISBN: 0-58223-472-7 (pb), $34.73.
This oldie but goodie work
represents solid scholarship transcending the widespread
linguistic discourse that "the spread of English is
natural, neutral, and beneficial" (p. 7). The author
critiques this "superficial" view of English dominance
that prevails in the scholarship of English instruction
and linguistics. While acknowledging the global spread
of English, his explanation of "the worldliness of
English" contains layers of complexity. He emphasizes
that understanding of the spread of English cannot be
divorced from the colonialism of the English-speaking
world. Anglicism during colonization, favoring
English-educated locals from the colonized world,
contributed to the elevated status of English in local
politics and sometimes linguistic genocide of local
languages. However, the author is not too naive in
recognizing variant responses of local people to English
during the post-colonization era. Juxtaposing Malaysia
and Singapore, he compares two different post-colonial
responses to English. The nationalist movement of
Malaysia rejects the dominance of English whereas
Singapore embraces English, the colonizer's language, to
advance their global economy. The author commends
sensitive observation of the local politics of language,
when teaching English to the world population,
regardless of the fact that English is indeed widespread
as a "worldly" language.
F. (1996). Linguistic Culture and Language Policy. New
York: Routledge. 368 pp., ISBN: 0-41518-406-1 (pb),
This thoroughly researched
book stands on a couple of important premises: first,
the language policy is grounded in the linguistic
culture of the society; second, the overt language
policy should be differentiated from the covert language
policy. The discussion of language culture, defined as
"the set of behaviours, assumptions, cultural forms,
prejudices, folk belief systems, attitudes, stereotypes,
ways of thinking about language, and religio-historical
circumstances associated with a particular language" (p.
5), is carefully and deliberately interwoven with three
case studies of language policies in France, India, and
United States. Three cases represent a continuum of
language policies from "autocratic centrist" policy of
France, which insists unilingualism of French, to
"multilingual accommodationist" policy of India, with
the US somewhere in between. The three cases of
langauge policies are thoroughly contextualized in the
historical root of the language and the language culture
of three countries. For students of the US language
policies, two chapters focusing on the United States
would be extremely useful. Myths, facts, and policies
regarding multilingual immigrants are carefully sorted
out and discussed. The author made a painstaking
efforts to explain peculiarities of bilingual issues
revolving around German-Americans in the nineteenth
century and California in the twentieth century.
Despite the confusing numbering structure of headings
and subheadings, the book provides comparative
perspectives on language policies, that are quite
insightful and scholarly sound.