San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language

Our five-year-old daughter is in a major “author” phase right now. Whenever she is really quiet, I am sure to find her sitting at the little table in her room with a big pile of paper and art supplies, making books. I know she is going to be thrilled to meet other authors at the San Antonio Book Festival, coming to the Central Library on April 5th!

San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language

For the past two weeks, I’ve been checking out the line-up of events on the library’s website and requesting as many of the featured children’s books as I can find. We’re currently reading Locomotive by Brian Floca (as well as his beautiful book Moonshot) and Lupita’s First Dance by Lupe Ruiz-Flores.

I also wanted to find a few books that are appealing for our 2.5 year old toddler! Like her older sister, Kate LOVES books, especially when she can show off her ASL signs while I read. (Read more about the educational benefits of signing with a hearing toddler.)

I was excited to find Senor Pancho Had a Rancho and The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred! Both books feature farm animals—one of Kate’s favorite themes!—in English and Spanish.

San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language

Senor Pancho Had a Rancho (Rene Colato Lainez) starts with the classic children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” and introduces a new character, Senor Pancho, who has a ranch of his own. Each page spread features Old MacDonald with his farm animal in English AND Senor Pancho with the same animal in Spanish.

This book is fun and fast! The illustrations are adorable, and the book introduces new vocabulary in a silly way.

San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred (Samantha R. Vamos) starts simply with “This is the pot that the farm maiden stirred.” Each page turns two English words into Spanish, so that by the middle of the book, the sentence reads “This is the farmer who planted the rice while tending the gallina that laid the huevos while grating the limon plucked by the burro that carried the pato that went to the mercado to buy the azucar to flavor the leche made fresh by the vaca while teaching the cabra that churned the crema to make the mantequilla that went into the cazuela that the farm maiden stirred.”

This book is rich with details. The illustrations are whimsical, and the book introduces new vocabulary in a melodic, repetitive way.

Living in San Antonio, it’s not unusual to bring home bilingual library books. Many of our friends (and signing students) speak both English and Spanish in their homes, and American Sign Language is a terrific bridge between the two languages for young children! (Use this sign for both MILK and LECHE, for example.)

In the case of these two children’s books, Kate and I can enhance the reading experience using our farm signs from the Leah’s Farm Signing Time DVD (also available from the library or digital download for just $1.00 with the All-Access Subscription trial). As I read the books, we can sign the animals together and in no time at all, Kate will know that VACA means COW and HORSE means CABALLO, just in time for the San Antonio Book Festival.

You and your children can meet Samantha R. Vamos at noon and Rene Colato Lainez at 2:00 p.m. along with many other terrific authors in the Children’s Reading Tent. Be sure to say hi–I’m confident you’ll spot us signing along with the stories!

San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language
Do you plan on taking your family to the Book Festival?

9 thoughts on “San Antonio Book Festival: Farm Animals & American Sign Language

  1. We probably won't go to the book festival BUT I just found out that my girl's school is having a sort of swap so many books and get a ticket for a free (used) book! I'm super excited about this because we have so many books and it will give the girls an opp to feel like they are shopping. Connecting from

  2. Until you mentioned it, it hadn't occurred to me that sign language could be a bridge for connecting the same word in two different languages.

    We are excited about the book festival, too. My daughter (age 4) loved “Cazuela”, and my son (age 6) is reading “Locomotive” to me.

  3. Melissa and Inga – I look forward to meeting you at the SA Book Festival on April 5. Very excited to share “The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred” (and maybe my newest book, “Alphabet Trucks”). Thank you for this lovely review. (There is an Activity Guide for “CAZUELA” on my website along with a download of illustrations for bingo.) All best, Samantha Vamos

  4. Awesome stuff … so proud of you all. My granddaughters are already smarter than me, thanks to their amazing Mom!! L, M

  5. Melissa, it was terrific to meet you and your girls. A special hello/hola to A.from me. Thank you so much for coming out and braving the weather! All best, Samantha (Long day, little sleep, and not enough caffeine for me – if I neglected to give you coloring pages, please email me.)

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