Carmen Learns English

Posted in Ages 05 and up, Mexican, Mexican American, Theme: Learning English

9780823423828_p0_v1_s260x420Carmen Learns English 
By Judy Cox
Illustrated by Angela Dominquez
Published by Holiday House

“This is an important book to help mutual understanding in any school where immigrants with little or no English arrive.” –Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz , Children’s Literature

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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.

Reviews & Accolades

This charming celebration of bilingualism captures both the fears and delights of learning a new tongue” –School Library Journal

“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.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“The colorful illustrations, in ink, watercolor, and acrylic paint, show Carmen both happy at home and then struggling with worries at school. Many kids, especially immigrants, will enjoy the nonpreachy turnarounds, in which Ms. Coska (whose Spanish is muy terrible) has Carmen teach the other students Spanish, and Carmen tells the class bullies that they are the ones with an accent.” –Booklist

Groups Represented
Mexican American

Learning a new Language

United States

Engagement Projects
here is a glossary of included Spanish words.
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