We were intrigued when our three-year-old son’s favorite country was Mexico (and that was two years ago!). Then jalapeno became his favorite word for a while. And recently we noticed his more concrete desire to learn and speak the Spanish language. We realized that he is fascinated by Mexico—the culture, the country and the language—so “traveling” to Mexico with this set of books made both of us very happy!
Off We Go to Mexico by Laurie Krebs
There is something about the colors, the warmth and how they combine and contrast. They always lift us up and plant us in the midst of succulents, mariachi and adobes. This book is testimony to it. The rhythmic text makes it ideal for read-aloud. There are Spanish words with their English meanings as well. Glorious colors, lots of details and many different settings help us journey through Mexican villages, plazas and markets. But what makes it great is the information at the end that gives us a well-rounded picture beyond the engaging text and pictures—a map, historical and contemporary details and a list of Spanish words suitable for kids. And you are all set for an adventure in Mexico with your little one!
Dream Carver by Diana Cohn
Five hours from Mexico City, Oaxaca is well-known for its traditional wood carvings. This is the story of little Mateo who dreams big and later brings those dreams to life, breaking traditions and rules with courage and hope. Double spreads bursting with bold shapes and colors give us a taste of folk art characteristic of the region.
Saturday Market by Patricia Grossman
This book makes you feel like you’ve just arrived at a bustling market in Mexico. We are introduced to several vendors and their goods through a simple narration that evokes realistic details. We see Miguel selling sacks of chile peppers and Carmen with her rebozos. We also walk past Rosa and her handmade huaraches, Pedro’s intricately woven Mayan rugs and Estela with her flowers in the zócalo. Meanwhile children are amused by Paco’s rooster that doesn’t crow and are immediately intrigued by Lucía, the charm lady. The finale is Ana’s tortilla stand and the book ends with a glossary of Spanish words. I’m guessing your itinerary in Mexico, from now on, will definitely include the local markets!
ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish (English and Spanish Edition), Colores de la Vida: Mexican Folk Art Colors in English and Spanish (First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art) (English and Spanish Edition), Opuestos: First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art by Cynthia Weill
Soak up the colors and folk arts of Mexico, while picking up Spanish vocabulary that your family can use in Mexico City with this series of three books, written by an art historian. Animal figures handcrafted by local artisans illustrate the concepts of letters, colors and opposites in both English and Spanish. Generous in brightness and simplicity, the books have key elements that will keep little ones interested. Overall, this set of books is a wonderful resource to introduce the language and culture of Mexico to kids, before, during or after your trip.
Interested in more ways you can travel to Mexico?
Make some Mexican paletas—the best summer popsicle—with your child. Make a whole unit of learning out of it!
Music and Activities
Every kid learning Spanish should have some music from Jose Luis Orozco CD. Jose Luis Orozco is a talented children’s performer and educator, whom our staff at InCultureParent had the pleasure of seeing live!
Teach your kids “Bate Bate Chocolate,” a very easy song in Spanish while making hot chocolate!
How about learning a classic children’s song in Spanish? Like this favorite:
Crafts and Activities
Make some papel picado for a fun and colorful decoration!
Please see our language resources library for more resources on raising bilingual kids in Spanish!