0810997347.1.zoomReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

Are you multilingual? Are your children learning different languages? My husband speaks Serbian and I am functionally fluent in American Sign Language, but we have not been successful enough at passing those languages on to our children. We do, however, strongly believe that learning a language different from one’s “mother tongue” is important in the life of a child for the sake of relating to other cultures, as well as for exercising the intellect. One of the best ways to teach other languages is through stories!

A Mango in the Hand, by Antonio Sacre, is a great story for sharing just a piece of another culture with the children in your life. Most of it is written in English, however, South American Spanish helps to tell a good portion of the story, as well. Antonio Sacre is, apparently, a great and widely known story teller who weaves English and the Spanish of Latin America together in his written and oral story telling in such a way that the Spanish words do not seem randomly placed, nor does the reader become lost in the story line. Much of the Spanish used is either immediately interpreted, or can be found in a glossary at the end of the book.

Little Fransisco, the main character in A Mango in the Hand, is off to pick some mangoes for his family’s dessert. His encounters a few glitches along the way, including some not-so-friendly glares from a grumpy neighbor, Tia Clara. In the end he wins, not only the mangoes, but the fellowship of a much happier, much less lonely Tia Clara! What a great lesson in loving on others despite their original attitude towards you! This is not an easy thing to do, but Fransisco does well as he continually turns to his dad for encouragement and coaching.

I had not been introduced to Sacre’s work before A Mango in the Hand, but my children and I greatly enjoyed this one and we look forward to learning, hearing, and reading more about him and his stories! What a wonderful way to introduce Spanish, Latin American culture, and great life lessons in a cute, funny story with beautiful illustrations. This book can easily be used as a jumping off point for studying geography, social studies, and character with your children. Enjoy!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Alyssa Katanic is a wife and homeschooling mother of 6 children under 10 years old. She loves reading and collecting great books to share with others and knows that one can never have too many!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Abrams Books for Young Readers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.