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The Angle, May 2019 – Book Review

Moms have an innate superpower to mold young minds and lives, and natural ability to step-up and deliver in the face of life’s many challenges. This month we give a shout-out to Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein (neé Sauceda), two LA moms who, courageously established their own publishing company—Lil’ Libros—to provide educational AND fun books for dual-language learners and bilingual families everywhere. Lil’ Libros now has more than a dozen titles for children under five, and their board books—which teach fundamentals like colors, shapes and anatomy in English and Spanish—are making a splash everywhere, from the shelves of Target to artist Cardi B’s viral baby shower.

For Infants and Toddlers

Counting With/Contado Con Frida

by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, art by Citlali Reyes (Lil’ Libros $9.99) Age 0-5

Boasting the same exuberant hues, festive flowers, and traditional Mexican peasant garb associated with iconic painter Frida Kahlo, this sturdy board book reinforces learning numbers 1-10 while subtly employing hallmarks of Frida’s art and image: una casa azul (one blue house), dos pinceles (two paint brushes), etc.

One of the first Lil’ Libros’ publications, the Frida book is perhaps most popular for the way it elevates simple learning exercises using warm, bold colors that hold a baby’s eye and slyly connect lessons in cultural heritage and art history.

For Preschool and Beyond

Loteria: First Words/Primeras Palabras

by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, art by Citlali Reyes (Lil’ Libros $9.99) Age 0-5

The colorful artwork of Loteria, Mexico’s traditional BINGO-style game of chance, provides a fun tool for young language learners to build vocabulary. There’s no actual storyline in this board book, whereas each page features a different Loteria card in both English and Spanish: el gallo = the rooster, la luna = the moon, el corazón = the heart, etc.

Just for fun: Families with children old enough to handle playing cards (3+) should check out Lil’ Loteria, the companion board game, which offers the same bilingual fun (minus more serious images images like la muerte and el diablo).

Where Is?/Dondé Esta? El Chavo

by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, art by Citlali Reyes (Lil’ Libros $9.99) Age 0-5

Lil’ Libros’s newest board book, inspired by the popular international sitcom “El Chavo del Ocho,” introduces little ones to their first English and Spanish words as they explore la vecindad in search of the mischievous lad nicknamed El Chavo.

The hide-and-seek format is enhanced by playful drawings of ruddy-cheeked El Chavo (spoiler alert: he really isn’t difficult to find, since learning words is the main objective here) and will especially appeal to adults who are fans of the television series and its spinoffs.

Note: Age recommendations are based upon publisher guidelines and parent feedback. Prices are publisher’s list; discounts are usually available.

Return to The Angle, May 2019