Bruna, bailando por el mundo – Dancing Around the World by Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo
Bruna, Bailando Por El Mundo – Dancing Around the World is a lovely picture book about Bruna, a little girl who on a rainy day is sad and bored because she can’t go outside to play. In the best tradition of how grandparents can save the day, Bruna’s abuela (grandmother in Spanish), suggests they experience the traditional dances of different countries as they travel the world in their imaginations. At each stop on the journey, Bruna and her abuela appear dressed in the clothing of that country’s dance so the reader starts to associate a country with a dance, its instruments and a little bit of the rhythm of the music.
The pair travel to several countries, three of which are Spanish speaking. Initially, I had expected this picture book to take the reader to Latin America to showcase dances from various countries there. Although my expectation didn’t match how the story develops, I must admit I was a little disappointed that Latin American countries weren’t the backdrop for all the dances. Perhaps the author thought it best not to “stereotype” this book to only represent countries in Latin America, but simply to highlight the variety of dances all over the world. I would love to know how she decided on the countries she selected. Since she is a teacher, albeit retired, she may have wanted to represent the countries of students she has taught in the past.
I enjoyed the rhyming text in Spanish and appreciated that the Spanish appeared above the English to emphasize Bruna’s culture and language. I also noticed that the translation into English was not a word-for-word translation, which gave each language its own unique perspective rather than simply translating one for the other.
As a Spanish bilingual teacher, I am always on the lookout for books written in Spanish, or bilingually, that my monolingual English students who are learning Spanish as a second language can access and enjoy. This is one of those books. Furthermore, after reading this book aloud to my students as an introduction to dance and music from various countries around the world, I can envision posing the following question to them: “Which Latin American country’s dance and music might you want to investigate and write a short piece about?”
Although not every book lends itself to a class writing assignment, I think this one does. Students can write in Spanish, or in both Spanish and English, and can conduct their research in English. The research could be done online, via a book, and/or through interviewing adults from the country they’ve chosen. For example, there are many teachers at my school that represent a variety of Latin American countries. Once each child or pair has finished writing and illustrating their story, they could share it with their buddy class and, of course, with their parents.
Although the illustrations seem to fit the country they are intended to represent, student partnerships could research the dance, costumes and music of each country highlighted in this picture book before they start their own research. This would emphasize the importance of precision when doing research for a writing project. Next, they could share with the class what they discovered about the dance’s accuracy and detail as communicated in the words and drawings in the story. This could be an initial activity before each child or pair of students starts their own investigation and writing project. So, while I didn’t start this review to see how I could use this book in my grade 5 Spanish bilingual classroom, it certainly took me in that direction!
The pastel colors used in the illustrations gave the story a convincing feeling of the imaginary that rendered it believable. In other words, the illustrations fit with the text and aided in the reader’s journey through the dances represented here. I sincerely hope the author considers another similar Bruna story on other topics, such as “eating around the world” or “playing children’s games around the world”, and that it’s written in the same bilingual tradition as Bruna, bailando por el mundo – Dancing Around the World. Hmm…this might be an invitation I might offer my bilingual students. I am sure some of them might be interested in taking this on…
In summary, Bruna, bailando por el mundo – Dancing Around the World, would be a great addition to any Spanish bilingual classroom and has the added advantage of offering multiple entry points for writing projects. There are so many places this could go. It’s a great opportunity for an interdisciplinary project; my mind is exploding!
*This book was gifted to me by the author Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo. Many thanks!
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.
Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.
MCBD 2020 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board
Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,
Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,
Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,
Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,
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Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Lauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series Green Kids Club, Inc.
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