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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Culture > Books > Bilingual ABC Book Teaches Appreciation for Both Language and Art

Bilingual ABC Book Teaches Appreciation for Both Language and Art

LatinaLista — It used to be ABC books were just for pre-schoolers learning the letters of the alphabet and growing their vocabulary with very simple words.
A for apple. B for bus. C for cat — you get the idea. The ABC book was characterized for its colorful and eye-catching illustrations of the one word highlighted that began with that particular letter.
Children loved the books and they learned.

Since those early ABC books, the format has evolved to where today ABC books cover a spectrum of topics to introduce students of all ages to new information.
With book themes ranging from famous people and dinosaurs to citizenship and holidays around the world, the supply of topical ABC books is only limited by the imagination of the author.
Yet, there are still too few ABC books that focus on teaching two languages while showcasing the cultural handiwork of another country — until now.


ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABC’s in English & Spanish by Cynthia Weill and K.B. Basseches, and published by Cinco Puntos Press, provides readers with a bilingual and cultural introduction to Mexico.
The authors commissioned the Jiménez family of Oaxaca, Mexico to create the stunning wood carvings representing the featured animals from A to Z whose names begin with the same letter in both English and Spanish.
Each member of the Jiménez family took part in creating the animals: brothers Armando and Moises carved the creatures. Their children sanded each one and their wives painted all of them.
The results are enough to make the patriarch of the family, Manuel Jiménez, proud. Manuel is the founder of the Oaxacan woodcarving tradition.
From the “Lion” or “León” to the “Turtle” or “Tortuga,” each page illustrates in vibrant colors creatures that seem to spring from the pages.
It is an ABC book that goes beyond expanding simple vocabulary — it enriches the pride of those who share the culture and broadens the awareness of those who are strangers to it.

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