Spanish Is the Language of My Family (Hardcover)
An intergenerational story of family ties, cultural pride, and spelling bee victory following a young boy who bonds with his beloved abuela over a love of Spanish.
As a boy prepares for his school’s Spanish spelling bee, he asks his grandmother for help with some of the words he doesn’t know how to spell yet. When she studies with him, she tells him how different things were back when she was a girl, when she was only allowed to speak English in school. This only inspires him to study even harder and make his family proud.
Based on stories author Michael Genhart heard from his mother as a child, Spanish is the Language of My Family is about the joy of sharing cultural heritage with our families, inspired by the generations of Latino people were punished for speaking Spanish and the many ways new generations are rejuvenating the language.
Michael Genhart’s text is as touching as it is poignant, and it’s paired with the striking artwork of multiple Pura Belpre Award-Winning Illustrator John Parra. Extensive material at the back of the book includes essays from the author about the history of Spanish suppression in U.S. schools and information about the Spanish alphabet.
A Chicago Public Library 'Best of the Best' Book
A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
A Horn Book Fanfare Book
A Common Sense Media Best Book of the Year
A CSMCL Best Multicultural Children’s Book of the Year
A Booklist Editors’ Choice
About the Author
Michael Genhart’s text for Spanish is the Language of My Family is inspired by stories his mother told to him as a child. He is a clinical psychologist and the author of eight picture books including Love Is Love (a Notable Social Studies Trade Book) and Rainbow: A First Book of Pride, which Publishers Weekly called “A joyous tribute to LGBTQ families.” He lives with his husband in Marin County. They are the proud parents of a newly minted 5th grade teacher. When he’s not working or writing, you’ll find Michael gardening, on a hike, sitting around a dinner table with friends and family, traveling to different countries, enjoying live theatre and music, or sitting in a quiet space with a wonderful book.
John Parra is an award-winning illustrator, fine artist, designer, and educator best known for his children’s books about the experiences of Latino people. Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos (by Monica Brown) was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and won a Pura Belpre Honor for Illustration. He also won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Illustration for Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans (by Phil Binder), and a Pura Belpre Honor for Green is a Chile Pepper (by Roseanne G. Thong). He lives with his wife in Queens, New York.
★ "With a vivid color palette, Parra’s acrylic and digital illustrations bring warmth and brightness to Genhart’s story, which smoothly incorporates Spanish words and phrases within the text."—The Horn Book, Starred Review
★ "[An] emotionally tinged bilingual picture book. . . . Genhart’s musing first-person text seamlessly switches between the languages. . . . Parra’s layered acrylics employ letters and patterns in scenes of home and school, portraying figures of various skin tones throughout this significant glimpse into one child’s claiming of their heritage."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "Genhart's moving picture book tugs at heartstrings. . . . evokes deep feelings of joy and pride in cultural and linguistic heritage. Parra's visually striking artwork uses bold colors and lines to create a backdrop full of visual context clues and cultural representation."—Booklist, Starred Review
★ "A measured reckoning with an oft-overlooked period in U.S. history, Genhart and Parra’s poignant collaboration explores the echoes of generational trauma and the power of societal change and hope. . . . The splendid, textured acrylic-based artwork is rich and vibrant. . . . Tenderly tremendous."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "A powerful picture book. . . . Short, simple, and powerful sentences make the text perfect for reading aloud or independently. Parra’s distinctive style shines in the illustrations with many thoughtful details that will keep readers engaged."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
"The art’s childlike draftsmanship gives the story a tactile and cozy feeling. . . ."—The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books