Community Collection 10: BEING BILINGUAL with Alma Flor Ada

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
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Today’s Guest…

is a poet, storyteller, and educator who has written over 200 books — including poetry, picture books, and novels — that draw on her rich multicultural background. Please welcome …






If you are bilingual, what are some of the things that knowing two languages allow you to do? 
 If you are not bilingual yet, why would you enjoy being able to speak two languages?



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Bilingual Benefits

Both languages

Interpreted as well

Learning improve

Intelligence develop

New friends come

Gain two cultures

Unique experience

Acquire open mind

Learn double the joy

What are you waiting for?
Acrostic Poem Bilingual


Seeing our world through different eyes–
our world through different seeing eyes!
© 2018 Michelle Kogan

Words Are My World

preschool story hour.
early, profusely, profoundly.
books read to me.
newspaper headlines over teacher’s shoulder.
At four, a nerdy klutz.
Strange garble of sounds.
Kids yell “mishugana”.
I learn fast.
Heidi, I love you.
My first book in new language.
Schoolyard fights and recess squabbles.
I am alone.
Another strange tongue.
Fifth grade teacher:
“Her vocabulary is low.”
In which language?
Polish, Hebrew, English…
Or combined?
New school, quiet girl.
My friends are in books:
Mowgli, Dr. Doolittle,
Oliver Twist, Robinson Crusoe,
Huckleberry Finn.
High school.
Eating alone is not loneliness.
No more torment is relief.
Favorite authors:
 James Michener, Taylor Caldwell and Leon Uris.
I learn late
they thought I was a foreign student
because I was new and had an accent.
Forty years, thirty jobs,
failure after failure.
I can’t mimic.
I can’t play ball.
I need words.
What’s wrong with me?
Nonverbal Learning Disability.
And now, I write:
Write to comprehend,
Understand to write …
Columns, articles,
books, poems, stories…
Words are my world.
©2018 Yvona Fast

My Three Reasons

I wish I were bilingual –
or make that even tri.
Through years of life experience
I’ve three good reasons why.
I must admit I’m envious,
for reason one to start.
To have a brain go back and forth
makes those who do seem smart.
Then secondly, when people talk
and I can’t comprehend
my nosiness and vanity
are bothered without end.
The last’s a curiosity.
Outside the conscious stream,
I’d like to know, by day or night,
in which does someone dream?
Colleen Murphy
© 2018


Different, yet the same
Two ears
Two languages
Two eyes
Two cultures
Two hands
Two friends
Different and together
Different, yet the same
©Kirstine Call 2018


The language of hate
Has its own vocabulary
Fuck          words
Pierce my face, punch, explode
The language of compassion
Has no words       space
For listening
(c) 2018  nancy bo flood


Alma Flor Ada (Camagüey, Cuba), Professor Emerita University of San Francisco, has devoted her life to advocacy for peace  promoting a pedagogy oriented to personal realization and social justice. A Radcliffe Scholar at Harvard University, her numerous children’s books have received prestigious awards, including, among many: Christopher Medal (The Gold Coin), Pura Belpré (Under the Royal Palms), Once Upon a World (Gathering the Sun), Parents’ Choice Honor (Dear Peter Rabbit), NCSS and CBC Notable Book (My Name is María Isabel), International Latino Book Award (Love, Amalia; Dancing Home; and Yes! We Are Latinos), and the Virginia Hamilton Award (2012) for her body of work. In 2014 the Mexican Government granted her the prestigious OHTLI Award for services to the Mexican communities abroad. In 2018 she received the Life-Long Achievement Award from the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE).

Her professional books include: A Magical Encounter: Latino Children’s Literature in the Classroom and, co-authored with F. Isabel Campoy: Authors in the Classroom: A Transformative Education Process and Está linda la mar. Para entender la poesía y usarla en el aula (To understand poetry and share it in the classroom) and the poetry program Alegría. Poesía cada día (Joy. Poetry every day) published by National Geographic/Cengage.

Discover more about the author and her books at  


Armed with her new blue book bag, Maria Isabel bravely faces her first day at a new school. But when she meets her new teacher, she is told there are already two other Marias in the class. “Why don’t we call you Mary instead?” her teacher suggests, unaware that Maria was named for both her grandmothers, a grandfather and her father. Maria’s inability to respond to “Mary” leads to more problems.

Simply told, this story combines the struggle of a Puerto Rican family’s efforts to improve their life with a shared sense of pride in their heritage. The author’s carefully drawn characterizations avoid stereotypes, thus increasing their appeal and believability. An essay involving a wish list gives Maria a chance to reclaim her name, and allows her teacher to make amends. Abetted by Thompson’s straightforward black-and-white drawings, this contemporary tale serves as a good reminder that no two names are really alike. Ages 7-10.  (from Publishers Weekly)

Amalia’s best friend, Martha, is moving away, and Amalia is feeling sad and angry. And yet, even when life seems unfair, the loving, wise words of Amalia’s abuelita have a way of making everything a little bit brighter. Amalia finds great comfort in times shared with her grandmother: cooking, listening to stories and music, learning, and looking through her treasured box of family cards.

But when another loss racks Amalia’s life, nothing makes sense anymore. In her sorrow, will Amalia realize just how special she is, even when the ones she loves are no longer near? (from author’s website)

Margie is proud to be an American, born in the United States. Her parents were born in Mexico and so was her cousin, Lupe, who has come to stay with Margie’s family in California. At first Margie is excited, but that enthusiasm dissipates when Lupe is placed in her classroom. She doesn’t speak English, and Margie’s teacher expects her to translate for her. A couple of classroom bullies seem bent on belittling the cousins’ heritage. Margie is relieved when Lupe is transferred to a bilingual class, leaving a desk near her for the newest classmate, Camille. The girls become great friends. When they’re given a journal assignment, Camille models what it’s like to have a passion as she thinks, researches, and writes about dolphins. Lupe stays after school to learn folkloric dances, and the book concludes with a performance that helps Margie understand how American she is and how her Mexican heritage fits into her identity. This story will assist readers in embracing their own heritage and developing an appreciation for their classmates’ backgrounds. It’s an enjoyable offering (and a great read-aloud) that will capture readers’ attention and have them rooting for the cousins and their friendships and family relationships.  (from School Library Journal)
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“Bilingual/Bilingue” and prompts copyright © by Alma Flor Ada
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
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