Carmen Learns English

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The frustrations of starting school as the only Spanish-speaking student come through clearly in Cox's tale of a girl who slowly gets a handle on English with the help of a compassionate teacher. In first-person narration, Carmen doesn't mince words about her tumultuous emotions when she can't understand her classmates or is teased about her accent ("For a moment I wished I was back in Mexico, where all the people speak Spanish and no one makes fun of me"). Dominguez's mixed-media paintings can feel wooden--she's at her best with closeup images of Carmen that convey her trepidation, anger, and growing confidence. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Carmen a new arrival in America, is nervous on her first day of school. She does not understand the English the other students speak, and no one speaks Spanish. But her teacher, Ms. Coski, smiles at her as she tries to greet Carmen in Spanish. Carmen feels that her teacher will not make fun of her English, because Ms. Coski's Spanish is "muy terrible." Carmen learns the names of the colors and teaches them to her little sister Lupita and her mother. As the days pass, Carmen makes a friend and learns more English to teach Lupita. And Ms. Coski has Carmen teach the other students some Spanish. Carmen becomes less shy, standing up to teasing and feeling more comfortable. She has also enjoyed teaching, getting Lupita ready to start school next year. Light-hearted humor prevails. Solidly built characters are illustrated in ink, watercolors, and acrylics across the double pages, in believable settings. This is an important book to help mutual understanding in any school where immigrants with little or no English arrive. There is a glossary of included Spanish words. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Older sister Carmen tells Lupita, who is about to enter kindergarten, about her first day of school, when she could speak only Spanish. She recalls other children teasing her about saying the wrong words or mocking her accent. Yet with a kind teacher's help, Carmen mastered English well enough to teach her new language to Lupita and then to begin to use it at school, where classmates learn Spanish from her. Dominguez's average-quality paintings convey a childlike energy and effectively express Carmen's moods. This charming celebration of bilingualism captures both the fears and delights of learning a new tongue.—Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823423828
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 964,276
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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