My local school system recently introduced a Chinese language program. This inspired one resident to write an editorial to the local newspaper, celebrating the fact that the schools were not teaching a language that encouraged illegal immigration (!!!??!). I'm pretty happy that my kids are learning Spanish at school (and I doubt that statistics on how much Spanish is being taught in the USA is really something that people consider when deciding to cross the border).
My Spanish, however, is pathetic, and I can't help my boys at all, other than by letting them teach me. So I was pleased as punch to find a great book at my library that not only taught us all some new Spanish words, but was fun to read out loud, and charmingly illustrated: Say Hola to Spanish, Otra Vez (Again)! by Susan Middleton Elya and Loretta Lopez (1999). Sadly, the library doesn't have their first collaboration--Say Hola to Spanish (1998), but I'm sure it's good too.
Other first words in Spanish books I've read (around 3) have little textual zest. But Elya manages to swing the words right along, tricky when there's no narrative and the punch words are in Spanish-- "Here is a rata, here's a raton. There in the water! A big tiburon!" (please imagine accents as appropriate). There's a pronunciation guide/translations of the words at the end, for us Spanish challenged In a nutshell, we had a great time reading this book repeatedly, and if the Holiday Mug fundraiser goes well (zero mugs sold to date), I'll be buying the first book for reasons that are not entirely self-less. And if we sell lots of mugs, I'll also buy Hola to Spanish at the Circus (2003), although I can't help but feel that the vocabulary might be less immediately useful.
Any other recommendations for Spanish instructional type books?