Inside: A review of another book you need for your classroom library, Los tres amigos by Jennifer Degenhardt.
Los tres amigos has been on my wish list for my Spanish classroom library for a while and I finally have it. You can get this novel from Jennifer Degenhardt on Amazon, and it is even Prime free shipping eligible! You can find out more about Jennifer and her books on her website. There is also an English version of the same novel for English learners, Three Friends.
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Why do you need this book for your classroom library?
It is the only novel I have read for Spanish learners that includes a relationship that is not just a boy likes a girl or a girl likes a boy. The complicated relationship between the three main characters is completely relatable to middle and high school students who are struggling to find someone that is similar to them. The characters are searching for their own identities and figuring out their place in the world, which is something pretty much every teen is facing. The plot is very PG is just includes hand holding between the characters.
How would I use this book?
As far as the level of the book, it includes less than 200 unique words and includes a variety of tenses, that logically sequence. I would personally teach it as a class with my level 2 or early level 3 students. It would also make for an excellent choice for FVR or a literature circle, so students could make the choice to read the book. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character. There is a lot of dialouge, which would be fun to act out if reading the book as a class. There is a complete glossary included, but not a lot of pictures, which is why I would hold off until at least level 2.
What cultural connections are included?
The book takes place somewhere on the East Coast of the US, as well as travels to New York City. Even though it takes place in the United States, there are a lot of ties to Puerto Rican culture. One of the main characters Julio’s family is from Puerto Rico and there are many reference to the island’s typical foods and traditions. Many specific Puerto Rican dishes are mentioned, family traditions, Museo del Barrio, a Puerto Rican restaurant in East Harlem, as well as the music of Son by Four. The theme of identity could be expanded to compare and contrast with the identity of Puerto Ricans in the US to their personal experience.
I think that Los tres amigos is the perfect way to end out Pride month, as it is a book everyone needs in their Spanish class to help all students feel a sense of representation in their class literature. As World Language educators, I know we feel a responsibility to help our students build intercultural and global competence. Our students may never end up leaving the country, but I can guarantee that they will meet someone in their life who identifies as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer, or some other sexual orientation. I think it is perfect that the author’s site is called Puentes, since this book builds a bridge to a more diverse Spanish classroom library.
Do you know of other diverse books I should add to my classroom library? Please let me know!
If you are looking for more readers for Spanish class, you can find all of my libro lunes posts here.
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