Celia Has a Birthday/Es el cumpleaños de Celia is an English-Spanish bilingual story that takes readers through one little girl’s ideal day.
On the morning of her eighth birthday, Celia’s parents surprise her with a huge breakfast and the presence of her three best friends, who have come to celebrate. Celia opens her presents, which hold a variety of things that fit her interests, and then she and her friends watch a movie and play tag. The story ends with the group enjoying cake, and Celia admits that her birthday wish came true: This had been the happiest day of her life.
Full of wholesome fun and sentimental moments that bring the characters to life, Celia Has a Birthday presents the story in English on the left-hand page and the corresponding Spanish on the opposite page. This gives readers the chance to easily compare the text and pick up new vocabulary. An index at the back of the book lists scores of words (both in English and their Spanish translations) and where they are found in the text. Simple but engaging line drawings allow the book to be used as a coloring book, given that the paper is matte.
The third book in a series, Celia Has a Birthday is more successful in presenting a narrative than the first two. Although there isn’t a driving plot or obstacles to navigate, readers will enjoy meeting Celia and learning things unique to her: her love of the color blue, for example, and a memory of her and her friends making funny faces, which one friend turns into a part of her birthday present. She’s a compelling protagonist, and readers would likely enjoy learning more about her in subsequent books.
Celia Has a Birthday avoids the pitfalls of a textbook exercise, providing middle-grade readers with a fun way to practice both English and Spanish.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.