Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Lisa Bullard
Illustrator: Paula Becker
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Romelie meets a new student in class, a girl named Camila who speaks Spanish. Romelie also speaks another language, American Sign Language, at home with her deaf brother. She likes learning about different languages, so she and her mom play a game where they try to look for and listen to as many different languages as they can find. They notice French on a shampoo label, street names from the American Indian languages, and hear even more languages at the park and in the market. After a fun and multilingual weekend, Romelie returns to school and excitedly shares with her new friend Camila the new words she learned.
The purpose of this series is clearly to educate and promote tolerance toward different groups of people, and this book accomplishes that goal very well. Many languages are represented, and the story is so upbeat that you can’t help but appreciate the diversity that is presented. Illustrations are cartoonish and bright, adding to the cheerful feel, and though the text is a little cartoonish too, it remains easy to read, always presented on a white background. Also, there are a few interactive questions presented throughout, encouraging the child to consider languages in his or her life. Finally, the last pages contain a fun American Sign Language alphabet chart, a helpful glossary and pronunciation guide, and resources to learn more. Overall, this is a fun, interesting book with a positive and educational message.