Wednesday, March 2

Children's Books through Spain

We are home again and I have a few more pictures of Spain that I might share in a bit, but for now I'm enjoying the March sunshine (though certainly not as bright as in Spain), unpacking, and watching the boys rediscover their toys (it never ceases to amaze me how fresh things are after just one week).  But before we move on to other things (like Spring!) I wanted to share the books we found to read in Spain.

Before we travel I always do a bit of research and try to find some books to share with the boys that are stories from the places we visit or about the place we are going.  Jonah is much more engaged and lasts longer if he knows what he is looking at - this especially true with art work.  This was the best online resource I found for books about Spain, but I still wasn't able to lean much about traditional Spanish children's literature.  If anyone reading this knows of any classic Spanish children's literature (probably that has been translated) I would love to know about it!  The library is always where I check for books I find, but unfortunately our library had none of the storybooks I found for the trip.  But, luckily we had a couple already on our shelves and I found the others used and very inexpensive on Amazon.

Ferdinand by Murno Leaf is a classic children's tale about the bull who would not fight.  The story is set in Madrid and through the story the basic vocabulary of bull fights is discovered.  The line drawings are charming and this is a book we already owned and read often.

The other that we already had on the shelf was Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew.  We love the Katie books.  They are all based on the same formula: Katie and Grandma go to a museum - Katie walks into paintings and has adventures - Katie and Grandma enjoy a treat at the cafe and go home.  Katie and the Spanish Princess is one of my favorites.  I'm rather partial to princesses, but I also think this particular Katie book does a great job at exposing the reader to the Spanish School of Artists.  It uses paintings by Valazquez, Murillo and Goya and names the paintings in the text.  It is also fun because the portraits are of historical Spanish figures.

 We found Tales of the Alahambra for Children at the Alahambra gift shop, and I'm so glad we actually picked it up - they are wonderful tales adapted from the originals Washington Irving collected and retold while he was living in Alhambra palace.  The Prince of Birds is a retelling of one of Irving's stories in picture book form.  Both boys enjoyed this book and Jonah loved that it had a map inside with a couple of the places we were visiting.  The Prince of Birds is a much simpler and shorter telling of the tale, suitable for a younger child.

I love Anno's work and Anno's Spain is just the sort of book both my boys spend lots of time pouring over.  Little horses, carts, houses, palaces all to be found and exclaimed over.  Each page is another scene and can be a story in itself.  The book is wordless (even the location of each scene isn't noted, which I find rather annoying) and it is fun to make up stories to go with the scenes and we enjoy seeing what thing remind us of what we saw in spain.  

 We also got a stack of non-fiction books from the library, these were our two favorites.  Jonah really enjoyed the way Destination Detectives: Spain had you imagine all the way through that you were visiting the different places.


sarey said...

I stumbled upon your blog through Rhythm of the Home. It's really lovely, and I'm so thankful to have found it. My husband and I are also Regent grads, and followed that with a PhD as well.
I'm lurching along as a brand-new homeschooling mom and find a lot of beautiful inspiration through postings like yours. Thanks again.

Watkins said...

I'm glad you found my blog too - when were you at Regent? Thanks for the feedback and hopefully we'll get to know each other, at least in this odd little blog world :o) Let me know if you have a blog.

The Egan Family said...

We love Ferdinand! We also just got our first Anno book - a counting one. Great artwork.

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