Meet Piñata Books taking part at 2020’s Mexican Christmas Market.
Sandra: My favourite Mexican Christmas tradition it has to be “ el nacimiento” setting up the nativity scene was always very special for me. I remember also walking around the neighbourhood with my parents looking for all the nacimientos and admiring all the creativity so many people had setting git up.
I am from Jalisco and have always been very proud of my roots but specially living in a foreign country, you realise how lucky and unique makes you being Mexican. As I started to settle in this country, it was always important to share with friends my traditions, leading always to a nice dinner with exquisite Mexican cuisine! (The truth is that I am not a great cook and that’s why I prefer books!) but everything always ended up being great fun.
As an adult I always loved reading and I remember back home when I was little, always enjoying the comics we used to get every week from the “el puesto de periódicos de la esquina”.
Fast forward a few years…
When I was pregnant with my daughter, nearly 5 year ago (she is turning 4 next week), I read a lot about the development of my pregnancy and most specially about parenting and learned then about the importance of exposing children to the minority language and helping develop the language. For me this was key, I knew that I not only wanted her to “speak Spanish” but to know and identify herself with the Mexican culture as a whole.
Her reading journey began as soon as we walked through the door of our house. She was literally a few days old when she was being read to on a daily basis ( to be honest, when she was a baby we read to her A LOT but because we didn’t know what else to do with her! Never mind the theory you read about the first days as new parents) and the routine has continued ever since, she is a totally a bookworm now.
With that, we were getting through books faster that we could even think and the challenge of not accessing enough books in Spanish came. A natural process for someone to learn new vocabulary is to listen a word a several times before it can be learnt and retained, but that theory does no good to any parent reading a book a hundred times over and over again! So, we read the books we had in Spanish time and time again until we could read them with such perfection and with our eyes closed. There were some books that managed to get to our hands but they weren’t really good books, but because getting hold of Spanish books was so difficult, we continued reading them even if it was somewhat painful.
This is why Piñata Books was born… like me, I know there are many parents living in the UK that want to access good books in Spanish. Pinata Books offers exactly that, the access from the UK to good quality of books at accessible price via a service that can arrive to your door promptly instead of waiting weeks for an Amazon Spain book to arrive.
We have used literacy as our main support to develop our daughter’s Spanish but this also has come with the benefits and crossover of also being multicultural and therefore her understanding and love of the Mexican culture. She can talk to her grandparents in Mexico and know what they mean when they chat to her about: La independencia de Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos o el Ninito Dios for example. When she is as excited as I am for setting up the “altar” and gathers “ofrendas” for Grandad to see, makes me feel so proud.
Pinata Books has just started this journey but it has been a long time dream and has stating to materialise. We have a very good selection to offer, we have books for babies, educational books, picture books and newly added series that specialises in books for children that are learning to read in Spanish. We have books that cover an age range of newborns to 12 years old. As we continue our journey, we will be looking to make contact with Mexican editorials, so that we can provide more books that talk more about Mexican culture.
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