Inside: Why you need the novel El gorila blanco de Guinea Española from Spanish Cuentos in your free reading library.
El gorila blanco de Guinea Española
If you have been reading here for a while, you should know that I LOVE all books from mi amigo Craig, aka Spanish Cuentos. I have used his novels Peter va a Colombia and El silbón de Venezuela as full class novels in level 1.
I have all of his books in my free reading library and have reviewed the following in past libro lunes posts: El Pombero – una leyenda paraguaya, El Ratón Pablito, La famila de Federico Rico, La Piñata de Renata & ¡Papacito!. This fellow Iowan’s books are always a hit during free reading, and if you are looking to implement FVR in your class, make sure to check out the game-changer for implementing FVR. I have also brought home his books home & read them to my own little boys.
His newest book, which is the focus of this post is El gorila blanco de Guinea Española. You can buy it here directly from Spanish Cuentos for the best deal & the most support of Craig. Or can get it from Amazon if that is easier with Prime. (aff link)
Here is the description of El gorila blanco de Guinea Española from Spanish Cuentos.
Who would enjoy the book?
If you and your students loved the graphic novel styles of ¡Papacito! and El Pombero, they will enjoy this novel. It is based on the true story of Snowflake. I personally love that it is both a full storyline, but with the pictures of a graphic novel in a bigger size! I was surprised to see that this book is much larger than his past books. It is almost the size of a magazine, as opposed to a standard book. This larger book would be great to read out loud to a class.
Each page has multiple full illustrations, which really helps to aid in the comprehensible input. There is also a full glossary and limited word count. I think it would be perfect for late Spanish 1 and beyond as a full-class reader. Middle school and up would enjoy it for free reading. While many of his other books are perfect for elementary, there is a chapter in this book where a man shoots gorillas. This might be too scary and mature for those below upper elementary. (In full disclosure I read this book to my own 1st grader at home, but as his mom, I knew he could handle it. I do not want to make that call for a class of early elementary).
What deeper themes are included?
I love culture-rich readers, and this one is centered on culture. It is the first I have read that is set in the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, Guinea Equatorial. It says Guinea Española as it was known before its independence in 1968. With that in mind, you could build a full upper-level cultural unit and discussions that center on history, independence, and Spanish colonization based on this reader. Other deep themes addressed include
This book would fit well with units on animals, family, social issues, travel (Barcelona, Spain & Bata, Guinea Equatorial), discrimination, social justice, animals vs. humans, food, and more. Along with all of the deeper themes, there is still some Spanish Cuentos lighthearted fun like “se tira un pedo.”
Chapter by Chapter notes
When I am planning a novel, I often take a chapter by chapter notes on themes to explore as you read. These are just my rough Spanglish notes while reading, but I thought they might be helpful as you plan to teach the reader. These are opportunities for cultural expansion that you could teach as you go, or front load before starting the book.
- Guinea Equatorial – geography, products and exports, conflict of humans vs. animals
- 1964 Guinea Española – history, capture of animals
- Es Diferente – gorilas, albino animals, colorism, familia
- Frutas – comida, *warning kills animals with gun
- Persigue – capture of animals
- Casa – the city of Bata, sale of animals
- Nuevo nombre – comida, daily routine
- Barcelona – vet, medicina, Zoológico Colón, Barcelona, Spain
- Apartamento – familia, baby items
- Vacaciones – la Sagrada Familia, Guadi, Barcelona, el campo, la playa
- A year later – jaula, feelings
- famoso – exploitation of animals, feelings
- Africa – travel, jungle, weather
- 10 years later – countries in Africa, exploitation of animals
- Nueva familia – family, animal breeding, relationships,
- Adiós – aging animals, death
I do not suggest going deep on every single possible theme, as it would be tiring for everyone. Personally, I like to focus on a few big overall themes for the unit. this could vary greatly based on if you need to fit a book into a set curriculum or if you have more freedom in your planning.
The book is action-packed and I think students would want to read it quickly in the style of 1 novel in 1 week or for free reading. The storyline moves quickly and the reader will want to know what happens next right away. Overall, I can not wait until it is my turn for curriculum funds so I can get a class set of this novel. El gorila blanco de Guinea Española is a must-have book for your free reading library in Spanish!
CLASS SET GIVEAWAY! *NOW CLOSED
*Closed – congrats @SraBochmann! I have partnered with Craig from Spanish Cuentos to give you the chance to win a class set (25) of this new reader, El gorila blanco de Guinea Española. This is a HUGE prize valued at $200. To enter, go to the Giveaway post on my Instagram. Make sure to follow the instructions, including following @SpanishCuentos & my account on Instagram, liking, saving, and commenting on the giveaway post, plus sharing it for extra entries. This giveaway ends Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 8pm CST.
While Craig sent me copies of this novel, all opinions are my own!
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To see many of my classroom library recommendations all in one place, you can visit My Amazon Store book list!