Inside this post: It is time for another libro lunes, telling you about a great addition to your Spanish classroom library. If you implement FVR, or Free Voluntary Reading, make sure you also check out the game changer for me in regards to reading in Spanish class.
The book today is another gem from the talented Craig Klein Dexemple of Spanish Cuentos. You can purchase La Piñata de Renata here or can get it using Amazon Prime below if that is easier.
To see many of my classroom library recommendations all in one place, you can visit My Amazon Store book list!
Some of my students and I got the chance to read an advanced copy, so we have been impatiently waiting for the final product. So even though Craig sent me these books, all opinions are my own.
La Piñata de Renata is a level 1 reader that is very similar in style to La familia de Federico Rico & El ratón Pablito, also from Craig. There are tons of pictures and it is much closer to the style of a graphic novel with many illustrations. Like all of my favorite novelas it has dictionary in the back, as well as footnotes. It also has some small cultural notes in English, which aid in the background knowledge to better understand the stories, especially for students using it for free reading.
How to use the book?
This book is a must for your FVR free reading library, but it would also be great for Kindergarten day, reading a mini story or two to class. I usually like to do all books straight through, but due to each chapter being its own mini story, this book would also work to use as a weekly routine (Like libro lunes), spending a day each week reading and doing activities with one story. This book would also work for a lower level Literature Circle using these lower level graphic novels. It is funny, goofy and would be perfect for upper elementary, middle school, and even high school. My high school students picked this book right away the first day it was out.
There are SO many cultural elements weaved into this book that could be expanded on to create a full unit. It is based around a girl living in San Antonio, but who magically travels all over the world. There are even a few pages at the end of the book with cultural topics to explore. Here are my rough notes for some cultural connections in each chapter.
1. Colombia – Desfile del Yipao, (connect with Peter va a Colombia), Chupacabra
2. España – matador
3. Argentina – Raton Perez, Ucumar
4. Venezuela – capibaras (connect with El Capibara con botas)
5. Mexico – luchadores
6. Guatemala – queztales, leyendas
7. NYC – restuarantes
9. Galicia, España – pulpo
11. Frida – cat lives
12. El Silbón – (connect with El silbón de Venezuela)
Bonus Piñata Mini-Unit
As you can see there are many cultural topics including legends, traditions, superstitions, and more from the diverse Spanish speaking world. This book is a way to take what some people say are “silly TPRS stories” and dig deeper with cultural connections.
Overall, La piñata de Renata is another home run book for novice Spanish class. At the rate Craig is cranking out books, we are going to need bigger shelves for all of our books!