Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blogs to get ideas about books for Spanish Bilingual Programs

In a bilingual program we have to work with books, do novel studies and analyze poems and songs. We also need, and this is essential to offer a succesful bilingual program, to give students the opportunity to use Spanish for pleasure, to discover other cultures and about themselves. It comes to my mind what Jorge Luis Borges said about reading:

Reading should not be obligatory. Should we ever speak of  'obligatory pleasure'? [...] I have always advised my students: If a book bores you, leave it; don't read it because it is famous, don't read because it is modern, don't read a book because it is old. [...] If a book is tedious to you, don't read it; that book was not written for you."

From the beginning, I have introduced novels, short stories and comics for our IB or Bilingual Spanish classes. I would use some of these resources to work with students in the classroom to do novel studies, comment or to be used to do projects. We all have limited  time so many of the resources I have introduced would be available for students as independent reading. I am trying to accommodate different authors, approaches, styles and countries of origin so every student can find resources that interest them. If we achieve that students see Spanish as a way of approaching reading for pleasure, we have certainly won an important battle.

I have already singled out around 200 short stories, comics and novels. I'll be introducing these resources in this blog and I want to have them available in my classroom so students can have access to them. Naturally, I want to continue finding new resources and the three blogs I am going to introduce are a great source of information to continue completing our list of resources and be aware of novelties.

Letras y Escenas: sobre libros

Letras y escenas is a blog kept by Alba Úriz in which she gives reviews of books. We can find reviews of novels by some of the most famous authors for young adults in Spanish. The list is broad and includes some of the last published titles so the blog is a good way of keeping up with novels. Another interesting item is the fact that the blog has over 2000 followers and their additional suggestions and comments to the reviews make visiting the blog even more worthwhile. 
Revista Babar is a very interesting case. It started as the magazine of the literacy program of Federico Garcia Lorca school in Arganda del Rey, Spain in 1989. The project was led by Antonio Ventura, a teacher in the school at the time. The magazine was published in paper until the year 2000 and since then it is published only online by some of the old students and teachers in the  mentioned school. Fortunately for us, all the previous numbers have been digitalized and are also available online. The magazine offers several sections and includes reviews of children´s and young people´s books. New articles are regularly published and there are always references to new novels and classics. All teachers are invited to submit their a book review or to talk about a reading activity developed in their school. This is a great opportunity to showcase a resource we regularly use or talk about our school projects.


GRETEL is the Research Group on children's and young people´s literature and literature education directed by Dr Teresa Colomer from Universidad Aútonoma de Barcelona. The research group is formed by professors and doctoral students from the same university, secondary teachers as well as some external specialists. The website offers an incredible amount of information and resources about writers, didactic resources, references to PhD research etc. There also is a thorough list of recommended books organized by their target ages. The list includes titles both in Spanish and Catalan as well as the versions in these two languages of books and comics originally written  in a different language.

The three blogs I have just introduced are great sources of information about books and comics that have received a positive review by professors and teachers involved in literacy programs. We can take advantage of their expertise to build up our own resource centre and introduce books in our classes.