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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Say HELLO! Written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora. G.P Putnam's Sons, Penguin. 2010. $21.00 ages 2 and up

"They pass by a bakery.
Carmelita stops to look in
the window.
"Let's go in and get some
her mama says."

As our population grows with the arrival of immigrants from many countries of the world, we look for ways to make them feel welcome and 'at home' in our communities. One of the simplest ways to do that is to learn a smattering of their languages...and what better word to start with than hello! A warm hello and a happy smile can change the day for anyone. Imagine the delight a Spanish speaking child or parent would feel to be greeted with 'hola' upon entering a classroom, a school, a clinic, the hospital! We don't need to be conversant, just aware.

Carmelita and her mother are aware of the multicultural nature of their neighborhood and are proud to greet each of their friends and neighbors with a happy hello in their own language. On their way to visit Abuela Rose, they travel past Senor Enrico's bodega and offer up the warmth of a friendly 'Buenos Dias!' Smiles all around. 'Shalom!' to the Rosens, 'Konichiwa!' at the Japanese restaurant. All along the way mother and daughter offer cheerful greetings, while Manny barks 'WOOF!' It's a delightful trip.

I love Carmelita's meeting with her pals Max and Angel at the park:


Don't be deterred from closely observing every facet of the bold, colorful artwork. Rachel Isadora uses oil paints, printed paper and palette paper to cut, paste, entice and entertain her young audience. There is so much to see as we travel through the neighborhood with this amiable pair. From the 'speaks all languages' Manny to the 'jingle' of the ice cream truck, it's a visual feast for the eyes.

And you might learn a few new words along the way!

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