¡Mira, Look!: ¡Canta! (Sing!)

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I certainly remember learning the songs “De Colores” and “Buenos Dias” set to the French Nursery Rhyme of Frere Jacques. I have very fond memories of singing these songs in my elementary school chorus classes (and I’m sure my mom has some embarrassing video to go along with it) and learning the Spanish word meanings and even the hand motions!

As a life-long musician and performance art participant I truly appreciate that many years later the songs that I learned in elementary and middle school taught me not only snippets of another language,  grammatical facts (“Conjunction Junction” anyone?), even the good old ABC’s, but also an appreciation of music and the link between truly having fun and learning something new! Students and teachers of all ages can get bogged down with the nuts and bolts of the 3Rs (seriously Conjunction Junction, what IS your function?!) and sometimes we all forget that there are great resources for teaching while clapping, swaying side to side or banging on a tambourine.

What inspired my first Vamos a Leer blog-post was this book: De Colores and Other Latin American Folk Songs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco, illustrated by Elisa Kleven. In this book, educators will find the lyrics, music and translations of 27 Latin American Folk Songs and chants accompanied by wonderfully colorful and vivid illustrations

“Selected, arranged, and translated by popular Mexican performer and songwriter Orozco, this bilingual collection of Latin American folk songs for children is truly a musical treasure. Each of the 27 songs is presented with background notes; lyrics in both Spanish and English; simple arrangements for the voice, piano, and guitar; and suggestions for group sing-alongs and musical games. Gathered from Spanish-speaking countries but including two of Orozco’s own songs, the compilation is a programming gold mine. Included are songs for special occasions (“La pinata”), counting songs (“El chocolate”), and animal songs (“La arana pequenita”–“The Eensy, Weensy Spider” in Spanish!). […] Kleven provides bountiful illustrations–the endpapers are sunshine bright with a crisp quilt of yellow flowers, and playful borders that ripple with colorful patterns and miniature pictures line the edge of every page. […] Multicultural collections have been clamoring for books such as this, which works both as a well-crafted resource and a rich and resonant children’s book” (Review by Annie Ayers from Booklist)

Appropriate for ages 2-8, De Colores is a great way to teach music, movement, language and the foundation that learning truly can be a FUN and rewarding experience for both student and teacher (and the family camcorder).

–Happy Singing and Learning!

-Ailesha

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