by Hilde Garcia
My Brother is My Best Friend
Mi hermano es mi major amigo
Mon frère est mon meilleur ami
Nicole Weaver’s trilingual picture book is a breathe of fresh air. It’s fun and light, not too long and just right for an emergent reader.
Being a person who speaks three languages: English, Spanish and French, the languages used in this book, I found it fun! You can choose which language to read because each language has its own color, but if you are like me who can read all three, you will find yourself changing the language depending on the page you are reading. Sometimes I started in English and then I finished in French.
The twins go on a rip roaring, imaginative adventure. The book chronicles their romp through the seasons. It has them playing leap frog, building snow forts, climbing up to their tree house and jumping in puddles. And at the end of it all, they come home hungry for lunch.
I am envious of their fun. (I loved building forts out of sheets when I was a kid- it didn’t snow in Miami- but it was just as fun.)
I particularly loved the fact that the two brothers are best friends. Twins are special to me, as I own a pair myself, although mine are boy/girl.
The fact that they are twins isn’t mentioned directly in the book until the end of the story, but the illustrations say otherwise. Of course, I was simply having fun reading all the languages, so I didn’t notice they were twins until the end. I am sure children are better at catching that fact because they are going to look at the pictures first!
The illustrations are warm and work well with the multiple languages. Clara Batton Smith juxtaposes soft and bright colors with crisp outlines giving a watercolor effect, which I personally like. For me, picture books should be like for favorite, cozy blanket, the one you like to take out over and over again.
My children attend a dual language immersion program in Glendale. Our school has four tracks- Spanish, French, Italian and German. This is a book that would fit in well with us. Many times during the course of the day, the staff will run into each other, and all of us being polyglots, will start speaking in one language and finish in another.
We particularly love books of this type because some of our students, with Spanish speaking backgrounds will opt to be in the Italian or French programs, so multiple language books are no problem for them to read. Other students simply love being challenged regardless of what languages are spoken at home.
This book is a great read and a good book to pass along to families that value the gift of languages.
A couple of really good sites to visit for more titles in multiple languages: www.colorincolorado.org
This site has lists of award winning books:
NPR also has a great list for books with side by side text in different languages.
Just search for Arts and Books/Author Interviews.
Also, Laura Lacámara wrote Flotando on Mama’s Song/ Flotando en la cnación de mamá, illustrated by Yuyi Morales who is also the author of Nochecita. In Lacámara’s book, she tells the story in English and Spanish, but without putting each language in a particular color. That format works well for her book because of the style of the illustrations, but I love how the colors in Nicole Weaver’s book blend and enhance the illustrations. The color scheme becomes part of the book voice.
I hope you’ll check it out in whichever language you choose!
Visit Nicole at http://nicole-weaver.com/
Check Out My Brother is My Best friend at Amazon
Or run, don't walk, to your nearest independent bookstore.