NAIDOO, Jamie Campbell & Katie Scherrer. Once upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish. 136p. further reading. index. ALA Editions. May 2016. pap. $48. ISBN 9780838914113.
This thorough introduction not only gives guidance on how to organize and conduct a bilingual storytime but also details how to do effective outreach to Latinx communities. The book is half manual and half ready-to-use bilingual programs for toddlers, preschoolers, and mixed-age and family groups. The thematic, language-rich plans include songs, finger plays, and extension activities and revolve around titles written by Spanish and Latin American authors and representative of Latino cultures. The how-to section on outreach is chock-full of practical advice on programming and book and app selections. The authors feature real-life examples of librarians visiting community organizations and meeting trusted members of Latinx communities in order to communicate the library’s mission. The authors emphasize the importance of “[embedding] the library as a valued and trusted community service.” Included are literacy maxims in both languages and myths surrounding second language learning. Practical information on how to find and select a bilingual partner and how librarians who are not bilingual can run such programs give this text a greater readership. Much of the advice can be applied to any language group, and an extensive resource list is included. VERDICT Essential for both public and school librarians who serve the many diverse ELL populations living in the United States.
This review was published in the School Library Journal November 2016 issue.