Billed as “the nation’s only bilingual children’s book publisher dedicated to Parent Involvement,” Lectura Books is actively working to change some startling statistics: One in four children under age 5 is Hispanic/Latino, but according to the Department of Education, whose who identify as Hispanic or Latino have the lowest educational attainment in the United States.
Literacy, of course, is paramount to easing the path to achievement, and the folks at Lectura Books are well aware that both parents and children need to be working together. To encourage generational involvement, Lectura presents five new titles in May (tomorrow, already!), that offer easy-to-read stories in both English and Spanish on the same page. “Reading bilingual books is one of the most effective ways to acquire transferable literacy skills,” explains Lectura publisher Katherine Del Monte on the company’s website. “Bilingual books are a win-win situation for parents, children and schools.”
Of the upcoming new titles, Birdie Flies Away, is a personal favorite for its adorable story of can-do independence, regardless of size, but even more so because of its enchanting illustrations by Andrea Yomtob. A little girl keeps a regular watch on a family of birds from her window – Mama, Papa, and their four babies. As each of the little birds grow, one by one, they set out to test their wings … but always come back to the nest. Only baby Birdie stays nest-bound, perfectly happy to remain warm and coddled. But even he eventually will make the great leap …
Yomtob distinguishes each of the birds with unique little details – from feather-bows to tiny little spectacles, to a ladybug buddy who never goes far. Mama and Papa are delightfully comical, perched on the branch together, ready with maps and binoculars literally searching high and low for their avian offspring. Kudos indeed to Yomtob for creating such birdie personalities that jump off the page, making the reading adventure that much more entertaining.
One tiny detail that needs correcting: page 22 has a typo in ‘binoculars,’ but hopefully many editions are in the publisher’s future, so an easy fix should be forthcoming.