Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!

Teachers who work with English as a Second Language learners will find ESL/ESOL/ELL/EFL reading/writing skill-building children's books, stories, activities, ideas, strategies to help PreK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 students learn to read.

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Books for Kids

Fiestas and Festivals

These books are all about special celebrations, from birthday parties and quinceañeras to traditional festivals and holidays. Grab a book and get ready for a party!

¡Fiesta! ¡Fiesta! By: Ginger Foglesong Guy Illustrated by: Rene King Moreno Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Join these friends as they prepare for a party and practice counting in English and Spanish.

A Birthday Basket for Tía A Birthday Basket for Tía By: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Cecily Lang Age Level: 0-3 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Cecilia and her cat, Chica, create a special birthday present for her great-aunt's 90th birthday — a basket filled with things Cecilia and her tía have shared. This affectionate autobiographical story is illustrated with warm colors, suggestive of Mexican American traditions.

Alicia's Happy Day Alicia's Happy Day By: Meg Starr Illustrated by: Ying-Hwa Hu Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Alicia's mother guides her through streets where she is greeted by neighbors, shopkeepers, street vendors, and even taxi drivers. Expanding on the fantasy quality of the day, airplanes write a salutation in the sky and pigeons bow to the birthday girl. Finally, this perfect interlude is rounded out by a huge ice-cream cone from the Icey man and a party with her loving extended family." — School Library Journal

Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta Amelia's Show-and-Tell Fiesta By: David J. Chard Illustrated by: Gail Ablow Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Amelia is excited for show and tell at her new American school, and she knows just the thing to bring — her special fiesta dress! When she gets to school wearing the dress, however, she realizes that she has misunderstood the assignment. Yet just as she is about to give up on show and tell, she feels her skirts begin to sway and she remembers the joy of twirling in Cuba's tropical breezes and dancing during Carnival. This gentle story is brought to life with appealing, colorful illustrations by Mexican artist Martha Avilés.

Carnaval Carnaval By: George Ancona Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Share the five days of Carnaval revelry — beginning with the lengthy preparations in Olinda, a northeastern Brazilian city. The book features stunning photographs and crisp text, handsomely formatted.

Chato and the Party Animals Chato and the Party Animals By: Gary Soto Illustrated by: Susan Guevara Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Chato, the coolest cat in el barrio, loves to party — but not his best buddy, Novio Boy. Birthday parties always make him blue. "I'm from the pound," he tells Chato. "I don't know when I was born." So Chato plans the coolest surprise party for Novio Boy, inviting all of el barrio, and cooking up a storm. But he forgets the most important thing — inviting Novio Boy! An entertaining sequel to Chato's Kitchen.

Delicious Hullabaloo Delicious Hullabaloo By: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Andy Mora Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On a starry night, a group of lizards and their friends gather for music, food, and fun — a delicious hullabaloo! Whether it's the mangos, cerezas dules (sweet cherries), or the sassy salsa, everyone is sure to find a treat that they enjoy in this delightful poem illustrated with colorful, whimsical depictions of a desert setting.

Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale By: Faith McNulty Illustrated by: Martha Aviles Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

On the day of her big sister Eva's quinceañera, everyone is too busy to notice Lolo. The upbeat acrylics and liquid watercolor capture the excitement and gaiety of the family gathering and this special occasion.

Fiestas/Celebration Songs Fiestas/Celebration Songs By: José-Luis Orozco Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A rich collection of magical songs that celebrate holidays and festivals that occur throughout the year, representing the diversity of Latin American cultures. Catchy rhythms and lyrics are selected to make learning easy.

Hooray, A Piñata! Hooray, A Piñata! By: Elisa Kleven Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

For her upcoming birthday party, Clara chooses a colorful dog piñata. But as the party nears, she adopts the dog as her special pet. Clara's friend, Sansón, finds a way to save the dog and still break a piñata full of candy.

La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration By: Nancy Van Laan Illustrated by: Andrea Arroyo Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Maria looks to her grandmother to explain the rituals and traditions she observes at her first wedding. Their conversation, sprinkled with Spanish words, is carried by the evocative illustrations that depict this Zapotec Indian wedding celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. A helpful Spanish glossary and an introduction to Zapotec culture and religion are included.

Let Me Help! Let Me Help! By: Alma Flor Ada Illustrated by: Angela Domínguez Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Product Description: "Let me help! Let me help!" Perico learns this phrase from little Martita, who's been saying it a lot lately. When the whole family scrambles to prepare for Cinco de Mayo, Perico knows there must be some way he can help — even if he is just a parrot. But at every turn Perico is shooed away, until he finally figures out how he can add to the Cinco de Mayo fun.

Magda's Piñata Magic Magda's Piñata Magic By: Becky Chavarría-Chairez Illustrated by: Anne Vega Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Magda's tío has purchased the perfect piñata for her little brother's birthday. In fact, Gabriel's piñata is so perfect that he insists that no one break it. But what fun is a birthday party withoout a piñata? And how can the neighborhood children break the piñata without breaking Gabriel's heart? Finally, with the help of her abuela's resourcefull little cat, Tita, Magda works some midnight magic and engineers an ingenious solution to save the party and the piñata.

My First Party Book My First Party Book By: Angela Wilkes Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

This large book has excellent color photographs and simple, easy-to-follow instructions to help you throw fun children's parties. Spanish version available.

Naty's Parade Naty's Parade By: Gina Freschet Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

This book is set in Oaxaca, Mexico, during the fun and excitement of a traditional music and dance festival. The main character, Naty, joins the celebration in a giant mouse costume, but later gets separated from her father.

Rafi and Rosi: Carnival! Rafi and Rosi: Carnival! By: Lulu Delacre Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

It's time for Carnival! Three short stories in this Easy Reader present the adventures shared by Rafi and Rosi, charming and mischievous young tree frogs who are brother and sister, and live in Puerto Rico. The stories include young Rosi dressing up in "Queen for a Day," as well as Rafi's "magical" periscope, used to watch the Carnival parade. Children and adults alike will enjoy the amusing experiences of these two siblings, as well as the cheerful and colorful illustrations. Spanish version also available.

Snapshots from the Wedding Snapshots from the Wedding By: Gary Soto Illustrated by: Stephanie Garcia Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"Soto takes readers to a Mexican American nuptial, and young Maya, the flower girl, is the lens through which the action is seen…Created with Sculpy clay, acrylic paints, wood, ribbons, and flowers, the art is displayed in large boxes set against pages covered with lace. The doll-like members of the wedding are exaggerated just enough to be amusing; at times, just a body part or two are highlighted, as when Maya's feet are shown on top of her father's while they dance." — Booklist

The Birthday Swap The Birthday Swap By: Loretta López Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Lori is a Mexican-American girl who lives in a town near the border. Every summer, all the relatives from both sides of the border gather at her aunt's house in Mexico to celebrate the birthday of Lori's older sister. This time, however, Lori gets a big surprise.

The Party for Papa Luis The Party for Papa Luis By: Diane Gonzales Bertrand Illustrated by: Alejandro Galindo Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," this story shows how a large family celebrates Papá Luis's very special birthday.

The Rainbow Tulip The Rainbow Tulip By: Pat Mora Illustrated by: Elizabeth Sayles Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stella and her brothers speak Spanish at home but English at school. Being different is both scary and exciting. Stella learns this when she prepares for the school's celebration of May Day. She finds a way to honor her Mexican background by wearing a special skirt that is both alike yet different from the other girls'. Stella, like many children, can take pride in being part of two cultures. (In English sprinkled with Spanish).

Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale Up and Down the Andes: A Peruvian Festival Tale By: Laurie Krebs Illustrated by: Aurelia Fronty Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

"The mountain landscape is at the center of this picture book about the Peruvian Inti Raymi Festival as children travel from all over southern Peru, by bus, train, boat, mule, and truck, to the city of Cusco to celebrate with feasting and fun in their traditional costumes. The simple rhyming text and the bright, clear, beautiful unframed acrylic paintings express a strong sense of the rich traditions that are still part of contemporary life, from the clothes and food at the party to the images of the Sun God." — Booklist

What a Party! What a Party! By: Ana Machado Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

If it is just a few days until your birthday, and your mother says you can invite anyone you like to come over to play, be careful! In a celebration of festive neighbors, an open-ended party invitation results in a raucous gathering of children, pets, and parents (plus salsa dancers and a reggae band!), all feasting on food from all over the world. This is a humorous and irresistibly joyful cautionary tale.

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