Why Spanish? It's complicated (and that's a good thing) | Sol Book Box


Why Spanish? It's complicated (and that's a good thing)

Our own Karina Batchelor discusses her Latiné roots, living bilingually, and how passing that on to her child keeps her motivated.


Growing up in Miami, a glorious bubble of Latiné culture, being bilingual was just a part of everyday life for me. Spanish flowed as freely as English, and my childhood was filled with the sights, sounds, and flavors of diverse Latin American traditions. In school, I had the opportunity to befriend individuals from various Latin American countries. This experience exposed me to the richness of our Latiné identity – from the multitude of accents and expressions to the diverse histories and backgrounds that shape who we are. It was a profound lesson in understanding that being Latiné is not a monolithic experience; rather, it encompasses a spectrum of accents, histories, and people.

Then, life took me across the pond to the UK, where suddenly, the familiar rhythm of bilingualism felt like a distant memory - roughly 95% of the British population are monolingual English speakers. With Spanish resources scarce and opportunities for immersion few and far between, I realized the true value of the bilingual upbringing I had taken for granted.

Enter parenthood, and the desire to pass on this rich linguistic heritage to my own child became paramount. Armed with my experiences as a teacher and my deep connection to my Latiné roots, I embarked on a mission to ensure my child's bilingualism, despite the challenges. When we moved back to Miami, I realized that I needed to be intentional about why I wanted my kiddo to speak Spanish. As a lifelong reader, I wanted them to experience the beauty of language. The ability to see, hear, and feel how language can stretch and contain multitudes. I wanted them to be able to communicate with family and friends. I wanted them to feel proud of speaking Spanish and the history that comes with it. I realized that our why was multifaceted and complicated in a beautiful way. And while speaking Spanish is easier in Miami, I also realize that now the majority of our acquaintances, friends, and family members speak English (and some of the time even prefer it to Spanish).

And this is where my why empowers me. I remember that every day is a new opportunity to practice living bilingually. There are days with big wins like when my kiddo chooses to read a book in Spanish over the well thumbed usual English choices or when they proudly tell a friend that they can speak two languages. And there are also moments of frustration, moments of doubt, and moments where it felt like we were swimming against the current. But through it all, the importance of preserving my child's connection to our language remains strong. It's not just about speaking two languages; it's about embracing and celebrating our heritage, fostering connections, and enriching our lives in ways that transcend words alone. And for me, that's a journey worth every step.


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.

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