This bilingual book will help your kids face their nightmares – SheKnows

The nightmares finally had a massive match. Her name is Skeletina and she is on a mission to help the kids enjoy Their most terrifying and terrifying dreams. Created by author and illustrator Susie Jaramillo, co-founder of Encantos, an edutainment technology company, Skeletina is all about being brave, brave, and passionate. Bonus Points for Bilingual Families: Her story is available in both English and Spanish!

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Readers can follow Skeletina’s adventures in the new picture book The skeleton and the world among the worldShe, along with some of her living friends, teaches children to face their greatest fears. Is learning Chat with Jaramillo about the art of overcoming nightmares, writing lovable bilingual stories and the best ways to get kids to speak Spanish.

SheKnows: How was the idea for Skeletina born?

Susie Jaramillo: I was raised very catholic. I had bad nightmares because there is all this guilt about heaven and hell. I would go to my mom and my mom would just say, ‘Did I do something bad? Do you have something to be guilty of? Well then go back to bed.’

One day, I decided I would give up. I had a lot of flood dreams, and I thought, I’m going to let myself drown to see what happens. And then, I realized I could still breathe! I can breathe under water. I [thought]”Oh my God, this changed everything, the concept of surrendering to the forces in your dreams.”

My daughter has gone through the same things I have, she has struggled with her nightmares. Then it occurred to me: “I wish there was a friend in her dreams who could help her so that she wouldn’t be afraid of all these crazy things.”

Can you take me through the visual elements of Skeletina’s design?

SJ: I’ve always been fascinated by Pippi Longstocking and Raggedy Ann, and have always been a fan of Tim Burton. I haven’t even seen any Latino culture in that world Coco… And the Coco She didn’t have any strong female characters. I wanted the indie heroine who had the quality of a rag doll and was really irreverent, outspoken, funny and inadvertently broke all the rules.

It’s a tough topic, nightmares. I think this kind of story helps kids see that, [they’re not alone}. Shining a light on the fears and turning the fears into a monster that can be diffused is the magic.

You’ve described bilingual children’s books as a bit “cumbersome” in the past, and I’m curious how Encantos is reinventing that format?   

(Jaramillo held up one of her books for reference while she spoke. As opposed to the typical bilingual book, which features both languages on the same page, Encantos books are printed with the English story on the front and, when you flip the book around, the Spanish version on the back.)

SJ: It’s one language at a time.  I love this format, especially for early readers. The truth is, the human brain gets overwhelmed by clutter and lots and lots of extra words on the page is clutter.

Parents love it. Teachers love it. You’re throwing two languages at kids but throwing them in a way that is really easy to digest. And you’re capitalizing on their innate [desire] You want to read the book over and over again.

You have created many lovable songs through Canticusfor you Latin-inspired bilingual nursery rhymeS. What inspired you to write bilingual music?

SJ: We take great pride in our music and in the different genres of Latin music we put on. And we want to make sure that adults love to listen to it, [too]. We make speaking Spanish great, because the reality is that everything is great in English. So here’s the beautiful nursery rhyme Mother Goose’s world, where if you’re Argentinian, Cuban, Mexican or Colombian, everyone sings Los Elefantitus or Los Boletos

I would say we make glue. Because it glues society together. There are a lot of situations where grandma dominates Spanish, you barely speak English and the baby barely speaks Spanish, but one thing they can do together is sing songs. My kids don’t like to speak Spanish, but you should see my daughter, so proud of the microphone on my mother-in-law’s 50th anniversary, singing Los Boletos in Spanish to a room full of Colombians in their 60s and 70s. The room just lit up.

What advice would you give parents who want to get their bilingual children excited about speaking Spanish?

SJ: Make it fun! Don’t make it homework, and don’t make Spanish a source of conflict. [Listening] To music in Spanish helps a lot. Reading…playing. You have to start great, very early, don’t wait until they reach high school. Talk to them in Spanish all the time, crack jokes in Spanish and enjoy the way you speak Spanish.

Of course, if you can travel, go visit the people who have dominant homes in Spain. Have them see the culture closely so that they build and practice those skills.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Before you go, check out some of our favorite children’s books starring boys of color.

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