Loving Language with Lulu Delacre

Author Lulu Delacre reads her illustrated book Jay and Ben to participants in the Teen Parent Book Club.  On Thursday, October 11th Lulu Delacre visited the Cardozo Senior High School teen parent book club to discuss Jay and Ben, as well as her bilingual book Arrorró, Mi Niño, a book of Latino lullabies and gentle games.

She discussed her inspiration for writing Arrorró, Mi Niño, remembering when her own daughters were born. Instead of reading to them in those early days, she used to sing to them, and many of the songs she sang were the very same ones that she remembered her mother singing to her as a baby. She found that sharing these songs and games with her children was a great way to give them an early glimpse into the traditions and folklore that were integral in her own upbringing.

“We often raise our children between two cultures,” Ms. Delacre said to the group. “It’s becoming even more important to give our children roots as they learn the language and culture of the United States.”

Ms. Delacre also discussed fostering a love of reading in young children using Jay and Ben, an interactive board book designed for special needs students, autistic children, and early education. The book tells the story of a boy who loves to do things on his own and encourages readers to read visually and associate each word with a corresponding image.

In discussing the book, Ms. Delacre noted the variety of ways it can be used. It is both an imaginative story about friendship and a practical, step-by-step guide explaining how to spread jam on toast, how to properly brush your teeth, and how to get dressed–all important, kinetic skills that parents can help their children learn. 

Ms. Delacre’s thirty-year experience in the children’s book industry, as well as her unique perspective made for an afternoon that was unlike any teen parent book club visit thus far.  As Marybeth Souza, Program Coordinator for the New Heights program at Cardozo High School, put it, “It is not every day that we have the opportunity to meet and work with a bilingual author.”

The Teen Parent Book Club is a partnership between the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, the New Heights Teen Parents Center and DC Public Schools. The group meets bi-weekly to discuss books by local, contemporary authors. Read about previous sessions here, here, here, and here. For more information about Lulu Delacre, visit her website.