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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Grandpa's Stories

Whether they call them Grandpa, Pop Pop, or Abuelito, kids love their grandfathers. By whatever name, granddads are special to children, always ready with a hug. They often provide a link to a family's cultural heritage and native language, and they have lots of great stories to tell! These books about grandfathers from around the world celebrate all that they have to offer — and what their grandchildren offer them in return.

For more suggestions, take a look at the following:

A Perfect Season for Dreaming A Perfect Season for Dreaming By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz Illustrated by: Esau Andrade Valencia Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Summer arrived gently, carrying a blue and cloudless sky, making it a perfect season for dreaming." So begins the story of Octavio Rivera's strange dreams of falling guitars and turtles that he shares only with his granddaughter. The compelling paintings of Esau Andrade Valencia, said to follow in Diego Rivera's footsteps, capture the fantastic nature of the dreams. Bilingual text.

A Walk With Grandpa A Walk With Grandpa By: Sharon Solomon Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As Daniela walks in the woods with her grandfather, they play a game in which they express how much they love each other. Children may wish to continue the game on their own with their family members after finishing the story! Colorful illustrations bring Daniela and her grandpa — as well as the surrounding forest, wildlife, and nearby wetlands — to life. Bilingual text.

Butterflies on Carmen Street Butterflies on Carmen Street By: Monica Brown Illustrated by: April Ward Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Julianita is excited to receive her very own caterpillar to raise at school! Yet when her caterpillar, Tiger, finally emerges from his chrysalis, Julianita doesn't want to let him go. She worries that he will get lost on his way to Mexico. "Tiger knows the way to Mexico because it's in his heart," her Abuelito reassures her. She feels sad to see Tiger fly away, but Julianita knows that someday, she will follow him to back to her grandfather's beloved homeland.

Chachaji's Cup Chachaji's Cup By: Uma Krishnaswami Illustrated by: Soumya Sitaraman Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Neel loves listening to Chachaji's stories over steaming cups of tea. Chachaji's tales of great Hindu gods and demons, and of his adventures in the Indian Army, leave Neel openmouthed. But it is the tale of his great-uncle's favorite teacup that teaches Neel the most, for Chachaji's cup holds far more than sweet, spicy masala chai. It holds the story of a family and a country split in two during the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. When the precious cup and Chachaji's health both prove to be more fragile than they look, Neel knows what he must do.

Grandfather Counts Grandfather Counts By: Andrea Cheng Illustrated by: Ange Zhang Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Helen has trouble communicating with her grandfather who has just moved to the United States from China. She speaks no Chinese, Gong Gong speaks no English. Nonetheless, they begin to learn from the other as they watch and count trains together.

Grandfather's Journey Grandfather's Journey By: Allen Say Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A young man travels from his native Japan to the vast country called America before returning to visit his home with his bride. The exquisite watercolors give the appearance of a family photo album as it relates this autobiographical but universal story of immigration.
Country of origin: Japan

Grandfather's Story Cloth Grandfather's Story Cloth By: Linda Gerdner & Sarah Langford Illustrated by: Stuart Loughridge Age Level: 9-12 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Product Description: Chersheng's grandfather is beginning to forget things: little things like turning off the water faucet and big things like Chersheng's name. Then Chersheng's mother presents him with a story cloth stitched by Grandfather himself, embroidered in the Hmong tradition, and Grandfather's memories of his life in Laos come alive. This volume, presented bilingually in English and Hmong, allows children and their loved ones not only to gain a compassionate understanding of Alzheimer's Disease, but also to share in the simplest act of pleasure and love — that of reading together.

I Love Saturdays y domingos I Love Saturdays y domingos By: Alma Flor Ada Illustrated by: Elvia Savidier Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa and Grandma, while on Sundays, los domingos, she speaks Spanish with Abeulito and Abeulita. The format provides a glimpse at the subtle differences between cultures and highlights their similarities, one of which is each set of grandparents' love for their granddaughter. Spanish words are interspersed in the fluid text.

In America In America By: Marissa Moss Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Many years ago, Walter's grandfather left Lithuania and his brother Herschel to come to America. It was a difficult decision, he explains to Walter, but one that he felt he had to make as a Jew. Walter's questions allow his grandfather to share the story of that decision and his journey — as well as the wonderful ways he and Herschel keep in touch after so many years. Snapshots painted in watercolor lend a feeling of looking a family album, bridging the traditions of the old country with opportunities of the new. Out of print but used or library copies may be available.

Indian Shoes Indian Shoes By: Cynthia Leitich Smith Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ray is a Seminole-Cherokee who lives with his grandfather in contemporary Chicago. In each of six short stories, Ray meets universally recognizable challenges while remaining cognizant of his Indian heritage. Short stories are told with humor and compassion.

Kunu's Basket: A Story from Indian Island Kunu's Basket: A Story from Indian Island By: Lee DeCora Francis Illustrated by: Susan Drucker Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Product Description: Young Kunu wants to make a pack basket on his own. He's watched his dad and his grandfather make baskets on Indian Island, but now that he's trying to make one for himself, it's not as easy as he thought it would be. Kunu isn't a quitter, but he gets so frustrated that he has to go outside to cool off. When his grandfather asks Kunu to help him with some basket-making tasks, Kunu comes to understand that it is the tradition in his family for one generation to help the next. His grandfather shows him the way, and at last Kunu's first basket is something to celebrate.

My Tata's Guitar My Tata's Guitar By: Ethriam Cash Brammer Illustrated by: Daniel Lechón Age Level: 3-6 Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When a little boy explores his grandfather's garage, he finds a treasure — his grandfather's old guitar. He learns that the guitar has provided the music for Christmas posadas, love songs, and campfires. Nothing is more exciting for the boy, however, than the moment that his grandfather offers to teach him how to play his guitar. The story and illustrations offer a lovely tribute to Latino families and traditions. Bilingual text.

Remembering Grandpa Remembering Grandpa By: Uma Krishnaswami Illustrated by: Layne Johnson Age Level: 6-9 Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Product Description: Daysha's grandma has come down with a bad case of sadness. Grandpa has been gone for over a year. Sad isn't how Daysha remembers Grandpa, so she sets out to collect all the things that would bring happy memories, such as a button that fell off Grandpa's coat and his old guitar. As Daysha had hoped, they bring back happy memories, and Grandma agrees that this is the best way to remember Grandpa. Uma Krishnaswami's simple and heartfelt story is illustrated with loving care by Layne Johnson.