Interview with Mary Ellen Cardenas
What qualifies you to promote bilingualism for young children?
Three decades as a children’s librarian in South America and the US, coupled with the personal advantage of being multi-lingual myself is powerful. Tangible benefits of bilingualism have played out over time for each of my own children, so I continue to coach my grandchildren in the same way. Why? Because everyone can reap these advantages!
Have you always been a children’s writer?
No, but I have always loved a good story, and spent decades listening, telling and reading them with children. Some stories deserve to be remembered, so I write them.
Kids don’t buy books, adults do. Do you have a take-home message for parents?
Time is the best gift you can give your child, and reading together in any language strengthens your bond. It fosters the values of shared enjoyment, dialog and personal connections to characters. Story time is the ideal setting to practice beginning reading skills: decoding, rhyming, predicting, retelling, sequencing, and evaluating. Each moment is teachable and therefore, precious.
My real target audience, however, is the child. I want children to feel welcome within the pages of my books and if they have a good laugh or imagine themselves in the story, I am happy.
"Reading together with your child in any language is a powerful bond because it is the gift of your time."