Written by Meg Medina and illustrated by Angela Domingue
This sweet story shows a snapshot of the life of a little girl named Mia whose purely Spanish-speaking abuela (grandmother) comes from far away to live with her family. We see them struggle to communicate and feel close because they can’t understand each other, but Mia’s mom helps her to find a solution and Mia and her grandmother teach each other their native languages. As a result, Mia’s abuela is able to connect with their neighbors, the grandmother-granddaughter bond develops, and they both are benefited by their hard work and practice. It’s full of beautiful imagery and spanish words (usually with the English one as well) and emotions that are helpful to talk about.
During the reading:
- We see brief descriptions of a lot of the emotions Mia feels, but it can be helpful to talk more about them to make sure your child is really understanding what they mean and is relating to Mia. For example, at the beginning, when Mia is shy because she doesn’t really know her abuela, you can ask your child about if they’ve felt shy with people they don’t know before and have them tell you the story.
- Ask your child how they think Mia feels, and how they think her abuela feels, when we see them not able to talk to each other. As they try to put themselves in Mia’s and her grandmother’s shoes, they will be practicing valuable perspective taking skills and developing emotional intelligence through identifying and naming emotions!
- Help your child develop empathy with english language learners by showing them in the specific, concrete examples of Mia having things to say but not know the words to say them! Children have a difficult time understanding abstract concepts, so having these specific examples and talking about them will be extremely useful in teaching this principle and developing empathy.
- When we see them start to teach each other spanish and english, talk about how both Mia and her grandmother are teaching each other! If your child has a positive relationship with their grandparents, ask them what they’ve learned from their grandparents, or what they’ve taught their grandparents.
- Point out how it takes lots of practice, but the practice is fun and helps them to enjoy spending time together! As you praise the process, not just the final result, it will help your child to develop grit and perseverance.
- Ask how they think the grandmother will feel to have a parrot again (practice perspective taking again like Mia). Praise how Mia is so nice to think about her abuela’s perspective and get the parrot for her! Tell the story of a time you’ve seen your child do something kind for somebody else because they were thinking of their feelings.
Want to see more content like this? Browse new reviews weekly from the comfort of your inbox!
Have you tried any of these ideas? Comment below to share how they worked for your family!