Quinito's Neighborhood/ El Vecindario de Quinito

Written By: Ira Cumplano

Illustrated By: Jose Ramirez

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Take a moment to look over the cover and illustrations throughout the book while encouraging your child to make predictions about the story. Your child’s fluency in Spanish can influence how you approach reading and discussing this story. If s/he speaks and understands Spanish fluently, you can choose to ask questions and discuss the story in either Spanish or English. Ask questions like:

What do you notice on the front cover?

What do you think Quinito’s neighborhood will be like? What kinds of neighbors do you think he has?

Do you know any of the people in our neighborhood? Who are they and what are they like?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

As You Read

Multiple Readings

Children benefit greatly from reading stories several times, and sometimes you won’t have a choice in the matter as s/he may want you to read a certain story again and again! This is great for bilingual books like this one because it gives you the opportunity to approach the stories different ways each time you read them. The first time reading the story, read both the English and the Spanish text on each page. Next time, read just the Spanish text and the time after that, just the English text! This will let your child enjoy the story several different ways and hear the story in both languages, separately and together. Be sure to pause the story if your child comes across a word that s/he is unfamiliar with in either language.

Children Learning Spanish

For children who aren’t familiar with the Spanish language, it may helpful to read the Spanish text alongside the English text several times so that your child can begin learning some of the Spanish words and phrases. Be sure to point out certain vocabulary words and give their meaning in Spanish as well. For example, when reading “Mi tia es muralista” say, “‘Mi tia’ means ‘my aunt’” and ask your child to repeat the words after you as well. To continue the learning, incorporate these new words into daily conversation by saying, “Your ‘tia’ is coming to visit today. Do you remember what ‘tia’ means?”

Making Connections

Help your child connect to the story and relate to its characters by asking questions like, “Quinito’s mami is a carpenter and his papa is a nurse. Do you know what my job is? What kidds of things do I do at my job? ” You can also say, “Mr. Gomez is Quinito’s teacher at school. What is your teacher’s name? What does s/he teach you? Do you like him/her? Why or why not?”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask these questions to gauge your child’s understanding of the story that you have just read together:

Did you like the story? Why or why not?

Who were some of the people that Quinito’s introduced us to? How did he know them?

Why is Quinito a very busy person?

If you could meet anyone in Quinito’s neighborhood, who would it be? Why? What would you ask or do with him/her?

Activity: Your Neighborhood!

Supplies: A large sheet of paper, drawing utensils (markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc), and a computer or a Spanish-English dictionary

 Source: California Office of the Patient Advocate

Source: California Office of the Patient Advocate

Help your child think about and piece together your neighbors, friends, and family members with this fun art project inspired by Quinito’s Neighborhood/ El Vecindario de Quinito.

  1. Choose five or six family members or friends to focus on for your project. Then let your child begin by drawing a picture of each one of them. Go through each person’s occupation (student, dentist, mailman, etc) and have your child incorporate something from that profession into each drawing. Don’t forget to let your child draw him/herself in his/her dream occupation! 

  2. Then write that person’s occupation below the picture. Next, write the translation in Spanish or English below (depending on which language you are speaking in). If need be, look up the Spanish or English translation on the internet or in a dictionary.