I am always on the lookout for high quality Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) books. As a parent, I've witnessed the transformative power of SEL books in my child's life. Well written SEL books help children to develop emotional intelligence and important life skills. They often feature relatable characters and situations that resonate with young readers, teaching valuable lessons about recognizing and managing feelings, understanding others, and navigating social interactions. These books are the springboard for deeper conversation and with multiple readings become like trusted companions, helping us navigate complex emotions, understand others better, and build resilience. Usually this is more than enough to hope for from a book, so imagine our delight when we found a book that is SEL focused, gorgeously and intelligently illustrated, and teaches the alphabet in Spanish!
Hoy me siento—from awesome Argentinian publisher Periplo and currently making the rounds in our book boxes—is written and illustrated by Madalena Moniz and helps children explore and understand a wide range of feelings. Using the Spanish alphabet as a guide, we go on a journey of emotions with an unnamed child. Throughout the pages there are multiple chances for practicing Spanish language words, reciting the alphabet, inferring meaning from illustrations, and so much more. Let’s take a learning adventure through some of the ABC’s of Hoy me siento.
In Hoy me siento, the alphabet isn't just a set of ordinary letters; it's your ticket to a fantastic journey through the realm of emotions and language! One simple yet effective approach involves reading the alphabet in both Spanish and English while unveiling feelings linked to each letter. This method not only introduces the bilingual potential of the book but also enhances language comprehension, making it an ideal resource for language learners.
But wait, there's more! We can supercharge the alphabet fun by turning it into an exciting game. Imagine you're a detective on a quest, wondering, "What feeling hides behind the letter 'B'?" It's like a thrilling, emotional treasure hunt! And the best part? You can then act out each feeling adding another layer to the learning! The excitement doesn't stop there. You can even create your own emotion dictionary. Just flip to the "Y tú cómo te sientes?" page at the end of Hoy me siento to add your new feelings words to the list.
Building meaning while reading is a dynamic process that transforms words on a page into a vivid, meaningful world. It's like constructing a mental puzzle where each piece you gather adds to the picture of the story, making it a richer and more fulfilling experience. In, Hoy me siento, each letter is its own mini-story making it a great choice for quick read-alouds or for dipping in and out of easily.
Take the letter "C," for instance - it's like a doorway to a world of curiosity. You start with the letter's name and sound (tip for extension: discuss the different sounds C makes), and then the fun begins! You can then think about what the word means by relating it to your kiddos own interests and curiosities. Using the illustration as a guide, you can ask them to think creatively with inquiry based questions and statements like:
I wonder what’s inside the hole?
How did it get there?
Why are there so many holes?
Who or what made them?
The goal here is to keep the questions open-ended and allow for the reader to come up with their own answers. There's no limit to their imagination, and there are no wrong answers!
Lastly, check out the "C" itself. It's made of rope! It's like a magical thread that ties everything together. Now, here's your grand finale: ask your child to dream up a short story about the holes, the rope, and the secrets hiding beneath the ground. Hoy me siento isn't just a book; it's your passport to a world of endless adventure and exploration!
We’ve had so many creative educational opportunities spring from our reading of Hoy me siento! The best part is that it's adaptable to however much time we have. One of our absolute favorite activities while reading this book is adding a tactile twist to the learning experience and it’s as easy as tracing the letters on the pages as we read along. We’ve also used the book for Spanish counting practice - the pages of letters made of balloons or bricks really lends itself to this.
And here's where you can get really creative: make your own words using art supplies. Choose colors and textures that match different feelings and explain why they represent the feeling. Recently, my kiddo was feeling really grumpy so we learned the word gruñon. Using art supplies, like red paint and bubble wrap we made the letter G. They then explained that the red was the color of hot lava and the popping of the bubble wrap felt like pressure waiting to blow.
With Hoy me siento, It's not just learning; it's an artistic journey through the world of feelings, language, and creativity!
Imagine if we all had a superpower that allowed us to not only identify but also understand our feelings? SEL books teach us about emotional intelligence, which helps us navigate the emotional rollercoaster of life with grace and ease. When kids and adults master their emotions, it's like having a magical shield against stress, anxiety, and those gloomy clouds of depression. No more feeling like you're stuck in a storm! Plus, the cool thing is, when we know what we're feeling and why, we're less likely to blast off into disruptive or harmful behaviors. Instead, we can steer the ship of our emotions with skill and confidence.
The illustrations creatively contextualize different feelings and because of the combination of minimal text and multilayered illustrations it’s a great fit for novice Spanish speakers and fluent Spanish speakers. You can also build on the learning by role-playing some of the scenarios from the book. Explore what the character felt and come up with words to describe their feelings while also thinking of ways to handle those tricky moments (extension tip: this is a great time to bring in mindfulness and breathing techniques).
And there you have it, our grand adventure through the enchanting world of Hoy me siento! Authored and illustrated by the talented Madalena Moniz, this book is like a magical ticket to the vast landscape of feelings. With the Spanish alphabet as our trusty guide, we've explored feelings, practiced our Spanish language skills, recited the alphabet, and delved into the art of deciphering meaning from illustrations. It's not just a book; it's a treasure chest of learning, fun, and endless curiosity. ¡Feliz aprendizaje!
Karina Batchelor is a proud Latinx mama from Miami, la ciudad magica. She's a longtime educator, writer, and creative who holds multiple degrees in varied areas of study. Her qualifications have seen her excel across the US and the UK in various sectors of the education and theatre industry. You can often find her with a cafecito in hand at the nearest library, her homeschooling cooperative, or at the theatre, where she works as a professional dramaturg.