Magazines can be a wonderful way to motivate children to read — they are colorful and often feature interesting photographs, have a wide variety of fun and educational activities, and can stimulate learning for children of all ages.
Colorín Colorado has received a number of requests for recommendations of Spanish-language children's magazines from teachers and parents. While there aren't many available, we are pleased to report that we have found an excellent publication that we can enthusiastically recommend, and that parents and children alike are sure to enjoy.
Colorín Colorado Review
IGUANA Magazine, a Spanish-language magazine for children ages 7-12, was created by Christianne Meneses Jacobs, an elementary educator and reading specialist originally from Nicaragua. Mrs. Meneses Jacobs moved with her family to Los Angeles in 1988 while she was in high school. Years later, when she became a mother and tried to find Spanish-language children's reading material for her two daughters, she became increasingly frustrated with the lack of books and magazines available. She writes,
As the parent of two bilingual, bicultural, biracial children, I feel strongly that I must expose my daughters to the beauty of the Spanish language and the richness of Latin American culture. My daughters love books but it is difficult to find original literature in Spanish. Most of the books that I have found are simply translations of books such as Dr. Seuss, and the Arthur and Franklin series. I am dismayed by the small quantity of quality children's literature written in Spanish.
Therefore, with my daughters as an inspiration, I decided to start IGUANA, an educational magazine for Spanish-speaking children. The dream for my daughters, and for all Latino children, is that they will continue to read in Spanish, to feel proud of being bilingual, and to never forget their roots. I hope that other parents share this dream by supporting Iguana magazine and its mission: ¡Lee ~ aprende ~ disfruta! (Read, Learn, Enjoy!)
Mrs. Meneses Jacobs and her husband Marc, a graphic artist who serves as the magazine's art director, have taken her mission to heart, producing an outstanding publication for Spanish-speaking children. Some of the highlights include:
Educational Articles and Interviews
Each edition of IGUANA features articles and fun facts about diverse topics such as history, archaeology, science, and nature! Articles may include interviews or biographies of famous Latino personalities, an article about a foreign country or an important event in history, information on an archaeological dig, or an explanation of why a particular insect behaves the way it does. The magazine also includes important lessons for children presented in a compelling and attractive way — for example, one feature discusses the difference between "what we want and what we need." Children are sure to learn a lot from each issue!
Just for Fun
Some of the fun features of IGUANA include puzzles, brainteasers, folk tales, poetry, cartoons, and a series of stories about characters that children will get to know through each edition — all created with the magazine's young readers in mind! Children can also submit their poems and drawings to be published in the magazine.
Children will have the opportunity to try the different activities suggested, all of which have been carefully chosen and do not require expensive materials. These include recipes, science experiences, and crafts. All instructions are in Spanish as well so that parents can be sure to help where needed!
IGUANA makes a very conscious and successful effort to include information about different cultures — whether it's information about how different countries celebrate the New Year, an introduction to holiday traditions, or an interview with a child from another country, the magazine provides a unique window on the world for Spanish-speaking children.
For those of you looking for a great Spanish-language reading experience for your children or your students, look no further — IGUANA has something for everyone!