Sarah's Reviews > Iguanas in the Snow / Iguanas en la nieve: And Other Winter Poems / y otros poemas de invierno

Iguanas in the Snow / Iguanas en la nieve by Francisco X. Alarcón
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Feb 06, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: latino-a-rll-528, poetry, picture-books

I loved this bilingual book of poems about celebrating the winter season in San Francisco and northern California. Maya Christina Gonzalez’s colorful, lively pictures enhance the joyous, expressive poetry of Francisco X. Alarcón. For each poem there is the Spanish version and then the English version written in short phrases and generally three lines per stanza. It is quite obvious to me that the author is absolutely bilingual in both languages, as each version of a poem is written truly as its own poem. The same ideas are conveyed in each stanza, but the wording fits the poetic nuances of that language, without trying to translate word-for-word.

I would love to read this with K-3 graders, either as they study seasons in Science or during that season. This book is the final book in a series on seasons told in poetry by the same author and illustrator. Obviously the other three books in the series would make for great companion books. Especially wonderful for a bilingual or dual language classroom, this book could also be used with students who do not know Spanish, as a way to here the rhythm and flow of another language. In this case, I think that I would pick and choose which ones to read in the Spanish, while reading all of the English ones. The author’s use of poetic devises may be examined such, as the use personification and metaphor, including how these helped enrich the story of the poems. A look at his use of language would help the students to understand why he received the Pura Belpré Honor for narrative in 2002.
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message 1: by 529_Quincy (new)

529_Quincy Owens Wow, the book sounds wonderful. I notice you said you would keep it to K-3, but I was wondering if you felt it would be appropriate to place this book in a first year high school Spanish class. Sometimes I wonder whether reviewing children books in foreign languages would be beneficial for students learning a new language; easy text, themes, and illustrations.


Sarah Sure, you probably could. The pictures I think represented elementary school age kids, but the text would probably work for middle school and high school Spanish classes, too. The author has good poetry elements and, I think, (I do not have a copy of the text at here)has subjunctive, as well. Subjunctive is often used in poetry, which is what makes poetry challenging for Spanish learners to read and write. You know, I had not even thought about using this or other such children poetry books with older kids taking Spanish classes, but that would be a great idea!


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