When I went through Juana & Lucas on the treadmill I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I wasn’t sure how my 7-year-old would react. It’s a chapter book with lots of vivid illustrations, true, but Spanish words are sprinkled on at least 70% of the pages; the overall meaning is always understandable from the context, but still. How does a kid react to that?
In my girlie’s case, she read a chapter or two and then told me she wanted me to read it to her. We compromised by reading it together; I carefully assigned her the pages with either no Spanish words or very easily pronounceable ones. I read the other pages, looking expectantly at her after most of the harder Spanish words, and she almost always nailed the meaning from the context. Since she’s my most timid girlie–she wants to feel very confident before she attempts anything new–I suspect her issue was more discomfort over not being able to pronounce the words, since she clearly had the comprehension down anyway. A more intrepid personality would likely take off running with it, especially since Juana is a delightful character. A spunky soccer player from Bogota, she’s sure that there isn’t enough room between her pigtails to learn ‘the English’ that her teacher is trying to teach in school…until she looks for support from her family and friends and finds support for her teacher’s mission instead! With the proper carrot dangling in front of her, Juana attacks the English with gusto, gaining not only a trip to Spaceland but a love of travel as well. Packed with plenty of laughter along the way, Juana’s journey is a fun and worthwhile one for any reader with the context awareness to manage the book. Be sure to take a look at this one!