The Bookshelf: El Alfabeto Cubano March 20 2011

I picked up this Spanish children's book at the Libreria Universal in Miami during a trip to visit the family a few weeks ago. It's a terrific book that tells el alfabeto via cubanismos. Here's how it begins:

A Cristina y a Alejandro les gusta mucho ir a casa de sus abuelos. A su abuelo los ninos le dicen Abu y a la abuela Aba. Con los abuelos juegan y aprenden cosas nuevas, pero lo que mas les gusta a Cristina y a Alejandro son los cuentos que les hacen Abu y Aba; sobre todo cuando son cuentos de Cuba.

Un dia los abuelos decidieron ensenarles a Cristina y a Alejandro las letras del alfabeto en espanol. Y fue asi como les ensenaron el alfabeto cubano ...

So the book goes through the alphabet, from A to Z, beginning with Azucar, and telling "Aba le pone azucar al cafecito cubano cuando se lo prepara a mama y a papa." It goes through words like Frutas, and talking about how Cuba gives the best fruits in the world, like mango, mamey and guanabana. G is for Guantanamera -- so when I'm reading it to the toddler we always have to take a pause there to sing a little. H is for La Habana, and there's an explanation of how in Spanish, the letter H is silent. Others: K is for Kioskos, M for Mambises (including Jose Marti), R is for Rosa -- and there's a poem La Rosa Blanca by Marti.

Me encanta el orgullo que salta de este libro. And I am not Cuban, but I can appreciate one's love for your roots and cultura. It would be wonderful if there were children's books like this for other Latin American countries.

The book is written by Dr. Eduardo Otero and illustrated by Cristina Milian Ganz and is available for purchase online here.

Let's see, if I would write a book about Texican-isms, I would include: A is for Aguacate, F is for Fajitas, M is for Mesquite or Mariachi, N is for Nopales, T is for Tacos, R is for Rio Grande, C is for Coyotes, and on and on. This should totally be a series of books -- it would be a hit!