Author Andrea Caceres’ debut bilingual children’s book is a celebration of language and a discovery of a new home away from home.
My Dog Just Speaks Spanish Book Review (Mi perro solo habla espanol)
This is the story of a recent immigrant named Aurora who has learned English, but her dog Nena only understands Spanish. Many kids who only speak English may be surprised to think about a dog not understanding some of the simple dog commands like sit, come, or even treat! The illustrations show us how Aurora has been learning English by labeling objects in English and Spanish. Nena obviously can’t learn that way. When other dogs in her new community respond to the English commands, Nena just stares. Later, Nena meets a new friend who also speaks Spanish, showing Aurora that there are other bilingual people like her in her community.
For English-speaking kids, this is an engaging book that will teach them some Spanish words and also open their eyes to what bilingual kids experience as they and their families, pets included, try to assimilate and feel at home in their new communities. For bilingual and Spanish-speaking kids, they’ll see the message that they’re not alone and that having friends who speak your language can help you feel more comfortable and understood when in a new place.
It’s not very often that a book is published with an English version and a Spanish version when it is first published. Usually, it will be published in one language and then, based on popularity, it will get published in the other language. Other publishers will print the book bilingually so that the English story and Spanish story are on the same page. I really appreciate it when a publisher sees the value in publishing them separately, and Candlewick Press’ Spanish imprint is showing that they care about the multilingual readers and the market by publishing the 2 versions of this book.
Children’s books about bilingualism are not very common, and this book is a welcome addition. The story reminds me a bit of the story Pepita Talks Twice/Pepita habla dos veces with the idea of a bilingual girl and a dog that only speaks Spanish. What I appreciate about this book is how the publisher chose to publish the Spanish version and English version of the story separately. This book is a must-have addition for libraries that service multilingual populations like bilingual schools or dual language school and for any kid who enjoys learning about different languages! Kindergarten, with support, through 3rd grade will really enjoy this story the most.