What It's About: Dora celebrates her cousin Daisy's 15th birthday and has fun at a carnival in these two party-themed episodes.
Why It's Important: The bilingual Dora always teaches Spanish vocabulary to her young fans, but in these two episodes she also introduces them to important traditions. "Daisy, La Quinceañera" is all about a 15-year-old girl's joyful coming-of-age milestone, and it will have children jumping out of their seats, dancing the Mambo along with the rest of the partygoers. They'll also love "The Big Piñata," and will realize that the Latin culture has much to celebrate!
What It's About: The Sesame Street gang prepares for a fiesta in this bilingual DVD.
Why It's Important: The characters from Sesame Street have lots of street cred with young viewers, so if they're speaking Spanish, their audience will think it's cool to do the same. Rosita, Maria, and Luis take starring roles in this DVD, providing strong role models. All the songs featured here are sung in both English and Spanish, and there are a couple of great performances by top artists Celia Cruz and Linda Ronstadt. By listening, singing along and repeating the words they hear, children will start to feel comfortable with Spanish faster than you can say, "uno, dos, tres!"
What It's About: This latest title in Whistlefritz' award-winning Spanish for Beginners series focuses on the different rooms of a house and the objects found on a playground.
Why It's Important: Spanish is the third most spoken language around the globe, and knowing the language will definitely give children an advantage as they grow up in our multicultured world. Learning a new language is easier at a young age, and these lessons are fun, using lively music and funny characters to keep children's attention. Because the DVD teaches by immersion, there is no English translation, and young viewers are immediately exposed to the repetition they need to mimic and master new words and phrases.
What It's About: Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos), a math teacher in a tough East Los Angeles high school, is determined to prove that his students--who have been written off as losers--can rise above their difficult lives in the barrio and learn calculus.
Why It's Important: This riveting story is so inspiring and moving, it will prove to skeptical young audiences that anything is possible. Because of his own background, Escalante relates with his mostly Hispanic students on a very personal level and is able to bond with them in a no-excuses-accepted way that motivates them to succeed despite all the odds against them. Never beating around the bush, he says, "There are some people in this world who assume you know less than you do because of your name and your complexion, but math is a great equalizer." This movie celebrates Escalante's unconventional teaching methods and his infectious enthusiasm for his subject. Struggling students will be encouraged that this seemingly miraculous movie is based on a true story.
What It's About: These three new DVDs in the award-winning "Families of the World" series offer a documentary-style look at how people live in Guatemala, Panama, and Mexico.
Why It's Important: Children love to see what their peers are doing, and these DVDs give them an intimate glimpse into the everyday lives of kids in different countries. Through the eyes of other children, they'll get a real sense of these cultures--shelling macadamia nuts and playing the marimba in Guatemala, being visited by monkeys and sloths in Panama, living on a hacienda surrounded by coffee trees in Mexico--and they'll gain an appreciation for the way families live around the world. What comes across clearly and perhaps most importantly is that, for all our fascinating diversity, we are in so many ways the same.