For immediate release | June 2, 2016

Share a cuento through storytimes in English and Spanish

CHICAGO— It is imperative that library programs reflect the rich diversity of the entire community. That includes Spanish-speaking children, who need opportunities to hear their home and school languages spoken, and to see their lives validated through engaging cuentos (stories) that reflect their cultural experiences. Additionally, when combined with other forms of targeted outreach, offering bilingual storytimes in English and Spanish is an effective strategy to attract Latino and Spanish-speaking families to your library. Written by Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Katie Scherrer, two experienced specialists who understand the nuances of library services, collections, and outreach to this population, “Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish” is a new all-in-one resource published by ALA Editions. Enhanced with interviews and advice from experts affiliated with REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking) and suitable for libraries just getting started as well as those with programs already in place, this guide

  • discusses the importance of bilingual programming in the lives of Latino and Spanish-speaking children, addressing the unique educational and informational needs of bilingual children;
  • provides 18 ready-to-use program plans for bilingual storytimes, suitable even for storytime leaders who don’t speak Spanish;
  • includes several templates for designing bilingual storytimes, arranged by specific age groups;
  • recommends numerous children’s books, songs, and professional resources to assist librarians as they plan their bilingual programs;
  • explores the opportunity for digital media usage in storytimes for Latino and Spanish-speaking families, with examples of apps that can help meet the multiple literacy needs of bilingual children; and
  • suggests ways to perform outreach to Spanish-speaking and Latino communities, emphasizing the importance of relationship-building and community collaboration.

Naidoo, PhD, is an endowed associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. A former elementary school librarian and children’s librarian, he has published numerous works on Latino children’s literature and librarianship, including the book “Celebrating Cuentos: Promoting Latino Children’s Literature and Literacy in Classrooms and Libraries.” Scherrer is a consultant who specializes in helping libraries and educational organizations adapt to changing community needs. She regularly provides in-person and online training workshops on the topics of library outreach to Latino communities and bilingual storytime programming.

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Related Links

"Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish"

"Engaging Babies in the Library: Putting Theory into Practice"

"Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors through Reading"


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American Library Association

ALA Publishing