The Bookshelf: Spanish Books from the Biblioteca! January 04 2011

I'm a big fan of the public library, always have been, but especially when I was a busted-broke single woman getting paid in peanuts, trying to pay back school debt. Actually, I'm still paying off those never-ending school loans, what am I talking about??

But I've become a lazy public library user since moving to DC two-and-a-half years ago. But a brand-spanking, beautiful new library just opened its doors down the street from us a few months ago and visiting it was reason enough to make the trip to get my library card and take the toddler K to a biblioteca for the first time.

So last week, I bundled up my almost 18-month-old and off we went. By the time we got there she was totally passed out in her carseat -- and doing what any sane mother who needs a little breather would do -- I let her sleep her way through the library in the stroller. It gave me a chance to check it out carefully.

Now this is a nice, modern **neighborhood** library. It's not big by any means, but I especially love that its made of glass and allows you to soak in the sunlight even in the middle of winter. The Wall Street Journal even noticed and named it in its Best Architecture 2010 list:

In Washington, D.C., the beacon-bright Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library designed by Davis Brody Bond Aedas is shaped into a dynamically jutting prow that is a far cry from the inward-turned, windowless brick models of yesteryear. The architecture—utilitarian but inventive, and with a green roof and 20-foot-tall central space—says much about the priorities and the programs going on inside libraries, where media-related services, community meeting spaces and teen rooms are becoming the norm as the former safe havens for books and bookworms turn themselves into interactive civic centers.

Looks are great and all, but I didn't have much hope of finding good children's books in Spanish. I am happy to say I was proven wrong. It's not rows of bookshelves, but I'd say it was at least a few hundred, including many that weren't just translation of say, Olivia or the Eric Carle books. So here are two books I got that we're reading for the next three weeks, until I have to return them:

Garbancito: Pachín, pachán, pachón a Garbancito no piséis? Érase una vez la historia de un niño muy pequeño muy pequeño y de un arco iris de fuegos de artificio que salían del culete de un buey, lo demás ¡debes leerlo!, no puedes perdértelo porque estás ante otro clásico de la literatura infantil con el que crecer leyendo. El amor y la protección que los padres dan a los pequeños, son la letra pequeña de esta adaptación del cuento popular. Así que a partir de ahora, cuidado dónde pisas y pachín?

I really like this book, especially how it ends and the fact that includes the word "pedo." Jaja! The author is Olalla Gonzalez, illustrated by Marc Taeger and published by Kalandraka.

ViejecitasAntea and Filipa are two little old ladies that do everything together, until one day when Antea discovers a magic bean that sprouts into a giant plant that stretches into the sky and leads them to a mill that grinds flour directly into delicacies.

This book is actually sold by Target and can be ordered online. That's a big score because many of the good books seem hard to find. That said, I do think this one is a little weird, but in a good way. It's definitely not a book for a one-year-old. Maybe a three to five year old. Who knows. I'm figuring out this age appropriate book thing as I go along.

Viejecitas is written by Charo Pita, illustrated by Fatima Afonso and published by Oqo editora.

I'm always looking for new reads so if you have any favorites let me know. More books to come.